My last post was loooooong and wordy.
Today’s goal: short and clipped.
The FIRST high-end, modern Korean restaurant in NYC = Jung Sik.
Location: Tribeca, the old Chanterelle space.
Occasion: celebrating a new job and a promotion!
Reservation: quick and easy. Opentable for two, modified over the phone to three.
Service: prompt and friendly without attitude. Our server was attentive and always made sure we were properly cared for.
Kitchen: Overly cautious about making my dishes nut-free, which was greatly appreciated. Dishes were paced well and served at correct temperatures.
Vibe: Playful so the upscale ambiance was not stuffy.
Creative play on words:
The Chef: Yim Jung Sik.
Jung Sik (정식) can mean: 1. formal; 2. Prix-fixe; 3.feast
Menu descriptions had hints of Korean culture:
Miyeok (미역)-Birthday Meal
Miyeokgook is a seaweed soup you eat on your birthday. It has more significance than birthday cake because it connects you to your mother who ate the soup after giving birth to quicken recovery.
Mr. Kim Halibut (김가자미)- Halibut topped with a seaweed paste on top, clear fish broth, and kimchi puree.
a. The word for seaweed sounds the same as kim, a common Korean last time. Also, descriptors come in front of nouns in Korean grammar.
b. Last names are put in front of first names. So I would be Kim Chi-Hoon (김지훈) not Chi-Hoon Kim. This shows that an individual does not stand alone but only in relation to family roots.
O.M.G. Salmon (대박 연어)-House cured salmon with pickled root vegetables
The word for o.m.g. constantly changes in Korean popular culture but recently it has been dae bak.
In order to understand all these nuanced references, diners would need to be familiar with Korean cultural references. I’m usually not a fan of fusion cuisine but I thoroughly enjoyed each course and was blown away. How could modern Korean taste this good?!? The three of us strategically ordered so that we could taste 15 different dishes. Although dinner took 3 hours, I didn’t want the meal to end.
I asked our waiter how he describes elements on the dish that aren’t familiar to non-Korean diners. He said that rather than explaining the ingredients, he focuses on the textures.
Recap: Each dish achieved a perfect balance of flavors and textures. I’m still dreaming of eating another Mr. Kim Halibut.