Fine dining Korean restaurants are very much en vogue these days (pre-covid of course), but that wasn’t the case roughly a decade ago. Jungsik in Tribeca deserves a lot of credit for being one of the pioneers of this style of Korean cooking in New York, and it’s been very successful doing so, earning 2 Michelin stars in the process. Jungsik’s original location is in the Cheongdam neighborhood in Seoul, and when I booked my tickets to Korea I wanted to make a meal here a priority. I was absolutely blown away by the 5 course lunch tasting that I had here recently and could see how they deserve their 2 stars. If you have to splurge on one fancy meal in Korea, I would recommend the tasting menu at Jungsik. The lunch tasting is very reasonable at an all-inclusive 78,000 KRW (~$65) per person for four courses, 98,000 KRW (~$80) for the five course option.
The portions in the Jungsik tasting are not huge, but four courses plus small bites in the beginning and sweets at the end will make you feel full enough. The five courses will make you feel comfortably full. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose four courses and opt for the Land as opposed to the Sea option. And I would without question upgrade to the uni add-on for the bibimbap course. What’s also awesome about the Seoul location is that they have private rooms, so you could bring your children with you if you wanted. You lose the ambiance of being with other diners, but the trade off of being able to eat with your whole family is worth it. The 5 course tasting is about 1.5 hours, so if your child can keep it together for that long, then I say go for it. Just give the restaurant a heads up beforehand.
Amuse Bouche – raw beef slice, chawanmushi with truffle oil, fried shrimp and yuzu aioli, truffle tart and melon sorbet.
Course 1 – Asparagus – I was scared that Jungsik was going to pull an Arpege and hand me a plain asparagus steak, but that wasn’t the case, thankfully. This one was dressed attractively in some caviar, crab and cheese.
Course 2 – Rice – Bibimbap with Uni add-on (+10,000 KRW extra) – This was one of the highlights in the tasting. Each morsel of rice was covered in seaweed and egg for maximum umami effect, while kimchee and roasted grains added some layers of texture and spice. And the uni on top was the icing on the cake.
Course 3 – Sea – Grilled Ok Dom (red snapper) – The grilled fish was a solid one, cooked with a nice char on the skin. It came paired with some bean and zucchini veggies that tasted like they were marinaded in a slightly spicy black bean sauce. Hints of Chinese influences could be tasted here.
Course 4 – Land – Iberico pork – This was my absolute favorite. The pork was just cooked perfectly and put other meat steaks I’ve eaten to shame.
Course 5 – Sweet – Dolhareubang and Summer at Gujwa – My mom and I got one of each dessert. I was amazed by the creativity and dexterity involved in the dolhareubang dessert. It involved molding black sesame cake, peanut ganache and green tea mousse into the shape of an ancient fertility statue. The resulting likeness was so impressive. The summer at Gujwa was a refreshing one, consisting of orange and carrot flavored ice creams and cheesecakes. A win on both sides.
Coffee + Petit Fours – I love coffee service, and Jungsik’s came with an espresso chocolate and a macaron. Ending dinner on a sweet note, literally.
11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Make reservation here.