Onjium at Genesis House in Meatpacking

There’s something about car dealerships I just don’t like. Seeing a sexy sportscar in the middle of the room is not very exciting to me, and who really wants to test drive something in the annoying streets of New York City? But Genesis House, the name of the new showroom for the luxury car brand in Meatpacking, is one that I would willingly return to. Similar to Lexus’s Intersect showroom not too far away, Genesis House is more of an experiential studio in which visitors can immerse themselves in all sorts of activities. On the ground floor is the car showroom, and on the second floor is Onjium, a high-end Korean restaurant, as well as a lovely reading area and a small home furnishings display. Korean culture is the thing that ties everything together, as Genesis is a luxury offshoot of Hyundai, and Onjium is a Michelin-star restaurant based in Seoul. While the ground floor is impressive, and I do have my eye on the G80 SUV, Onjium on the second floor is more my cup of tea.

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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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