Jungsik Seoul in Cheong-dam – 2 Michelin Star Lunch Tasting

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.

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Easy Kalbi Short Ribs Recipe

One of my go-to recipes during this pandemic has been Korean kalbi jjim short ribs, which are surprisingly super easy to make. I have my Korean mother to thank for sharing this simplified recipe with me. The hardest part is probably procuring all the ingredients. Many of them you can easily find in an Asian supermarket like H Mart or Sunrise Mart, but otherwise you can probably find them in the international aisle of a Whole Foods. As for the meat, try to get the bone-in short ribs. H Mart will usually have this in their meat aisle and it will be labeled kalbi meat. At Whole Foods, however, I find that it’s subject to availability–it is not part of the regular lineup like ground beef and sirloin. But when they do have it, I would highly recommend that you buy 2 lbs of it and make this recipe.

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Hip Korean American food at Nowon in East Village

Nowon, the new Korean restaurant in the East Village, specializes in a genre of food I like to call “Asian American” fusion food. It’s been popularized by the likes of Roy Choi of Kogi and Pot in LA, as well as Dale Talde, Chef Jae Lee’s old boss at Rice & Gold. Lately the trend in Asian food seems to be either elevating a cuisine (fine dining Korean at Atomix or Jungsik as an example), or to be super authentic and introduce a regional cuisine unfamiliar to American audiences (mixian noodles, Taiwanese noodle soup, etc). Asian American fusion food, though, truly mashes up the two different cuisines together. Normally the foundation of the dish is a familiar comfort food, like a hamburger, served with Asian embellishments like kimchi or gochujang. And of course it can go the other way around, like spicy korean tteokbokki rice cakes sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

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Modern Korean at Soogil

sweet potato beignets

Here’s another elevated Korean restaurant to add to your list–Soogil in East Village, opened by Soogil Kim, who used to be sous chef at some very fancy kitchens, including Daniel and Hanjan. If you’re a fan of the refined and modern Korean cooking at places like Oiji or Cote, then you’ll probably like Soogil’s food.Read More

Tofu Tofu, Korean Restaurant in Chinatown

banchan at tofu tofu

It’s unheard of to see a traditional Korean restaurant operating in Manhattan outside of 32nd St, so imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Tofu Tofu in Chinatown of all places. Not that taking the train up to Herald Square is all that inconvenient, but walking 10 minutes along Bowery to a Korean restaurant downtown has been the best thing ever. Of course, the meat here will not be on par with the bbq at a place like Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, but that’s ok. You come here because Tofu Tofu has a good selection of Korean favorites at very reasonable prices and it’s the only place downtown.Read More