Restaurants serving molecular Korean food might not be plentiful, but chef Jung Sik Yim is on a mission to ensure that they are memorable. His eponymous ‘new Korean cuisine’ restaurant opened in Seoul in February 2009, heralded as the first restaurant in which molecular gastronomy was applied to Korean ingredients, and it has captured the imagination of Korean and international diners ever since.[…] Following on from the success of Jungsik, chef Yim has since opened a more informal bistrot in the South Korean capital, as well as an outpost in New York…
Jungsik Yim, the Korean chef who has lent his name (which also happens to mean “formal dinner” in his native tongue) to this New York restaurant, calls his style of cooking “New Korean.” That means filtering local and international ingredients and styles through the vernacular of Korean cuisine, to create dishes such as rack of lamb ginger soy salsa, or foie gras barley risotto, fresh black truffle. This kind of creative cooking requires real skill from the wine team to find suitable matches—and our judges felt Jungsik succeeded in this task with distinction.
[…] At Jungsik, chef Yim is preoccupied with bringing Korean food to the top table of gastronomy by taking traditional ingredients and serving them in an ultra-modern way. An alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and former apprentice at the city’s Aquavit and Bouley restaurants who has also gained experience in the kitchens of Spain, he combines Western techniques with an Eastern sensibility for an eating experience that is still all too rare.
Jungsik is a restaurant with impact. The stylish room is a brilliant combination of contemporary and comfortable, with lighting that is bright enough to see your food yet soft enough to hide any flaws from across the table. Cream-colored velvet banquettes and flower arrangements reflecting the seasons surround each table. The hip, sophisticated ambience reflects its TriBeCa home. The service could not be more gracious. Here, luxury is more than eye-candy, extending to the plate and palate with the kitchen’s formidable talents. Chef Jung Sik Yim is not merely preparing excellent food, but presenting his own, very unique reflection of modern Korean cuisine. Sweet and creamy sea urchin may be served resting on cool shreds of lettuce over warm sticky rice cooked with dark, inky seaweed. Move on to the beautiful presentation of Seoul duck, the breast served pink beneath crisped skin, tender confit of leg spiced with gojuchang, and the elusive flavor of sesame leaf. Lobster is coated in a lush and complex curry-like sauce that perfectly blankets the sweet meat. A very contemporary and impressive strawberry dessert combines intensely foamy purée with green pistachio sponge and stewed berries.
Jungsik dwells on the ground floor of a ground building set upon an elegant TriBeCa corner. Its grey façade blends with the landscape, but an arresting wall of windows is an instant eye-catcher. From entry to exit, warm, hospitable and never-scripted service is the norm. They even have a sense of humor—yet another boon to this tasteful and modern space.
Elusive cream and black shades paint the bar and dining room, which in turn evokes serenity with lush high-backed banquettes, large line-topped tables, and central service tables gently illuminated by sleek pendant lights.
While playful canapés like Korean fried chicken paired with a pleasing vintage wine might distract, the arrival of bibimbap mingling yellow tomatoes and basil sorbet will return your senses to the table. Presentation is key at this haute Korean haven. This is especially evident when white porcelain bowls are filled with roasted mushrooms swimming in a delectably flavorful dash broth topped with a soft-poached egg. Seaweed rice, toasted quinoa, and briny sea urchin display a delicious interplay of taste and texture when mixed together, as does the moist, beautifully crisped red snapper bathed in a spicy cilantro sauce.
“Haute Korean” dining lands in TriBeca via this “sublime” newcomer offering “innovative”, meticulously rendered dishes for an expensive” price tag; further assets include “flawless service” and the “calming” mien offered by the former Chanterelle space.
For many adults, a lobe of sea urchin has the same power to magically improve almost any plate that a squirt of ketchup has for children. The effect is far more luxurious, though. So I was not exactly stunned to find myself dipping my spoon over and over, slowly but determinedly, into a bowl of sea urchin over rice at Jungsik. And telling a friend, “Wow, you’ve got to try this.” And never quite getting around to sliding it over to his side of the table. The other tastes in that bowl did surprise me, though, and made it one…
By Pete Wells, The New York Times, February 28, 2012
Many factors had to flow together to produce Jung Sik, which will be the first high-end, thoroughly modern Korean restaurant in New York when it opens in TriBeCa later this month. […] It served dishes that referred to Korean tradition but also reflected global polish, like Five Senses Satisfaction pork belly, cooked sous-vide and then tweaked to hit five taste elements: spicy, crispy, sour, sweet and soft. The kitchen’s signature is a reconstituted Caprese salad served bibim style, with the elements mixed at the table: tomato, mozzarella, tomato jelly and…
By Julia Moskin, The New York Times, Sep 6, 2011
Spicy, crispy, sour, sweet and soft – these textures and flavors are the five senses that inspired chef Yim Jung-sik to create his restaurant’s signature dish. Mr. Yim studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, followed by apprenticeships at the city’s Aquavit and Bouley restaurants and a short stint in Spain. He opened his own shop in Seoul in February 2009, Jung Sik Dang, serving what he calls “New Korean” cuisine. Next year, Mr. Yim will open…
By Amy Ma, The Wall Street Journal, Dec 24, 2010
Jung Sik Yim, the Korean-born chef of Jung Sik Dang, wants you to think of his “New Korean Cuisine” as a kinder, gentler molecular gastronomy. Before he opened two hit restaurants in Seoul, he did time not only at Bouley, Aquavit, and Zuberoa and Akelare in Spain but also in the South Korean Army, where his commandant liked his cooking so much he promoted him to be his personal chef. Next month, he’s bringing his $125 create-your-own five-course menu and signature…
By Robin Raisfeld & Rob Patronite , New York Magazine, Aug 21, 2011