Eunji Lee, the pastry chef at Jungsik, has taken an approach that is at once delectable and intelligent to her dessert tasting menu at the Korean restaurant in TriBeCa. The courses progress from light to rich, starting with a tart granita of omija (magnolia berry) with lemon-basil sorbet. A bright, cream-filled strawberry tart is followed by a lifelike “banana” made of white chocolate and ice cream. The brown-rice cream puff with ice cream and pecan praline is sheer indulgence. A black truffle ice cream cone is an optional extra ($25). The menu is served at the bar only; dessert libations are available to sip alongside: Dessert tasting menu, $55 ($35 extra for wine pairings), Jungsik, 2 Harrison Street (Hudson Street), 212-219-0900, jungsik.com.
By Florence Fabricant, The New York Times, August 14, 2017
What makes it stand out: Jungsik is New Hansik with flair. The restaurant combines Korean culinary techniques with those from all over the world, adding in local, seasonal ingredients and flavours.
About the chef: Jungsik Yim trained at Aquavit and Bouley in New York and at Zuberoa and Akelarre in Spain, before returning to Seoul in 2009 to open his eponymous restaurant in Cheongdam-dong, the heart of Korean luxury and style. He is credited for introducing New Korean cuisine to his home country.
Typical dishes: The amuse bouche here is quite unique. It reinterprets Korean banchan (side dishes served with plain rice) with five to six finger foods. While expressing Korea’s rice or bap culture, it enhances the diner’s expectations of the coming meal. Main dishes include hoedeopbap or rice topped with fresh raw fish, and sea urchin bibimbap made with rice mixed with popped millet and dried laver, topped with a generous serving of sea urchin. The Bossamdeopbap is made with pork belly and grilled to ‘crispy on the outside, tender on the inside’ perfection.
What else? At Jungsik, the wine pairing stands out as much as the food, led by head sommelier Eunsik Choi, winner of Korea’s sommelier competition. On the first floor, guests of Jungsik Bar can enjoy an excellent selection of wine alongside the restaurant’s best-selling dishes à la carte.
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Cool, chic, and completely urbane, Jungsik is the epitome of contemporary elegance. Inside the large, neatly partitioned space, find rich browns and ivory furnishings with flattering lighting that is just bright enough to see your food clearly. The chairs are deep and tables are well spaced, but request a plush corner banquette for maximum comfort. Even the place settings show sculptural beauty through dark pottery and white porcelain. The ambience is fairly quiet and somewhat reflective. The modern cuisine is confident, complex, and happens to be leaning much more toward Europe than Korea of late. No matter—the cooking remains profoundly enjoyable. At the same time, the most inspired dishes are the ones that retain their heritage, as in the dome of seaweed-seasoned rice with cubes of smoked and torched yellowtail, finished with slivered lettuce. Before the red snapper arrives at the table, hot oil is poured overtop to cook the fish but also to yield incredibly crisped skin; then it is served with a brunoise of hearty greens and potatoes and rich perilla vinaigrette. Artful desserts include black raspberry and coconut sorbet with crumbles of spinach cake, yuzu meringue, and perfect berry slices.
The Michelin Guide New York City 2018