I was fortunate to recently dine at Jungsik in New York. It serves a “new Korean” cuisine and is located in Tribeca at 2 Harrison Street. Jungsik was very impressive and a feast for the senses. From the moment I entered the main dining room, I noticed the modern, elegant, peaceful, and hushed chic atmosphere. Well-spaced tables, white table cloths, beautiful stemware with staff gliding effortlessly throughout the room to an eclectic mix of background music. I knew right away I was in for a special evening.
Jungsik is a two-star Michelin restaurant at both its locations, one being in Seoul, Korea, and now its second location in New York. It has cooking that is original, impeccably executed, and enormously satisfying. And the service is keen, sharp and organized. They asked me more than once, very nicely, to not use my light so as not to disturb the other patrons. Then they brought me a cocktail on the house to apologize for this inconvenience. Jungsik was a multi-course tasting menu place and was an exceptional experience, a well-oiled machine, with perfect harmony and rehearsed choreography of its staff.
The executive chef is Jungsik Yim, who had some pretty impressive apprenticeships with Aquavit and Bouley in New York and a stint at the 3-star Akelarre in Spain. Later he returned to Seoul and opened his near-eponymous restaurant. You see, Junksik is a play on words. In Korean, Jung Sik means a formal dinner, and it also happens to be the name of the Chef. New York followed and his executive chef, Daeik Kim. His executive sous chef Wonsuk and his pastry chef Yoonjung Oh, are all brilliantly showcasing some of the most refined and creative cooking in New York. This Korean cuisine with French techniques has already won numerous awards and accolades. Jungik is not a new restaurant has been in New York since 2011 and is a real pioneer. It has helped to shift how Americans look at Korean food by pairing lavish tasting menus and wine pairings with spotless service. Since then, we’ve seen other Korean restaurants pop up like Cote, Atoboy, Jua, Kochi, 63 Clinton, Little Mad, Atomix, Mari, and so on.
Chef uses bold flavours and playful offerings, but most importantly his mostly fish and seafood menu was brilliant and cooked to perfection. We started our meal with a splendid amuse-bouche which were five different offerings, all of which were sensational and whetted my appetite for what was to come. I marveled at his delicate langoustine topped with Osetra caviar and his tender octopus and Abalone soup was glorious too. It was my first time trying Thornyhead fish, and it was masterfully prepared. His yellowtail kimbap took this dish to another level and the wagyu steak was excellent.
For dessert we started with a persimmon palate cleanser, followed by a presentation reminiscent of Single Thread farms in Napa. It’s called the carrot, growing in a box of earth, which turns out to be a white chocolate shell encasing a cream cheese mousse and a carrot cake praline served alongside a black tea ice cream with a carrot cake crumble on the bottom. Another dessert, replicated a walnut in a bowl of actual walnuts where you had to be careful choosing the right one. This was followed by a trio of tiny sweet petit fours.
I was enamored by the entire meal, and I guarantee it will shift your perception of Korean food. Jungsik is one of the most refined and creative restaurants in New York.
It is elevated Korean food using modern techniques, meticulously prepared and presented, with flawless service.