Finally, a Korean restaurant breaks into my top 10 restaurants list. I had a very impressive meal at Jua, the new fine dining Korean restaurant run by Chef Hoyoung Kim, who used to be the executive chef at Jungsik. The nine course Jua tasting menu consisted of Korean dishes that I grew up eating, only fancier and better. The cooking was on par with what we expect from a highly esteemed Western restaurant. It makes me proud of how far Korean food has come in extending its reach far beyond just the humble bbq restaurant (which is still awesome) and joining the ranks of elite institutions, a status that tends to be reserved for the fancy European place or the pricey sushi omakase.Read More
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
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
For me, Korean ramen “ramyun” noodles are so closely tied to the fiery bowls of cheap Shin ramyun that I ate growing up, so when I heard that an elevated Korean ramyun restaurant called Jeju Noodle Bar had opened in the West Village, I rolled my eyes. Great, I guess that means I get to pay $20 for a dainty and soulless bowl of expensive, artisanal ingredients that will never satisfy me the way those Shin noodles did. And no offense to Pete Wells, but when the white critics started raving about Jeju, I was even more suspicious. It was probably best to stay far away.Read More
Depending on how you see it, the name of the restaurant Cote can either reference the Korean word for flower or a particular cut of meat. If Cote had its way, it’d want you to reference both. It occupies a unique niche as a hybrid steakhouse and Korean bbq restaurant, never fully claiming one or the other, defined by fluidity rather than labels.
From the moment you walk in, Cote keeps you guessing. The entrance leads to a dark blue hallway with a neon sign of the restaurant’s name in Korean lit in Millennial pink, giving off a vibe that’s more sexy Meatpacking lounge than staid Midtown East. If you walk downstairs you can see Cote’s dry-aging room, where different pieces of meat hang stylistically in lighting that brings to mind the surreal and violent thriller Neon Demon. Once you get seated in one of the booths in the back, you will see familiar signs of a table-top grill, but even so, these grills are gold and silent, sucking the smoke and smells out of sight, out of mind.Read More