It's that time of the year - when families get together and exchange gifts and have a real good time!
My girlfriend of over 5 years and her mother came and visited New York this past weekend...and my mother and her mother got to meet for the first time - I guess it's about time - a small, yet big, step forward for me and my girl.
A couple of my former colleagues as well as Joe Bruno from Pasta Nostra (another great Italian restaurant located in South Norwalk, CT) recommended Jungsik...I thought I should give it a try! Jungsik is definitely one of the hottest restaurants right now. What's better than inviting a couple of special folks in my life for this special occasion to Jungsik?
Jungsik is...well, a Korean restaurant - but it doesn't really justify to label it as such. Surely, you will see many familiar names on the menu...but what's really incredible was that Jungsik really brought out all these very familiar Korean-cuisine ingredients and expressed them in a very contemporary / well balanced way...this made our dinner much more exciting. I would definitely recommend Jungsik to anyone looking for that special occasion dinner. (By the way, the food was phenomenal, excellent...lived up to all this hype...but their service level was a bit disappointing - they forgot a couple of our requests, mixed up on our water between still and sparkling, forgot to bring us a couple of plates, rushed us a bit to order wine in the beginning before everyone got to the table and I wished our Sommelier would explain a bit more about their wine pairing selection...)
Jungsik's interior design is eloquent, yet cozy.
My mom, posing.
My girl, smiling.
All four of us went with the ten-course tasting menu and wine pairing.
You can see some of the more familiar Korean dishes on their A La Carte menu.
Saint-Chamant Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Let's start the dinner with some champagne!
Toy-like, very cute amuse-bouches!
More amuse-bouches - the waiter called it Korean Fried Chicken (KFC)
More amuse-bouches...Wagyu beef burger! That was really good.
A potato foam with a piece of clam and chopped chives.
Clam chowder soup - when this dish first came out, my reaction was....where is the other 99% of the dish?!
Declicious clam chowder soup...!
Salt and butter for some bread action...
Their home-made breads were awesome - so good, that the waiter warned us not too eat too much! or we will regret...
2004 Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese
Riesling is my mom's favorite...and you can tell...
It looks more liquid than it actually was - this was probably one of the best foie gras paste I've had in my life - a bit sweet, but still had that gamey foie gras taste to it. Look how intricately garnished.
Toasted biscuits for the foie gras paste.
It was so good, and I was eating so fast, I almost forgot to take this photo!...already half gone.
My second favorite dish of the night - Wagyu beef tartare - this is an interesting way to express the Korean beef tartare dish called "Yukhoe" - the yellow balls are quail eggs, which went VERY well with the beef tartare and its sweet, spicy Korean sauce called "Gochujang" - it was superb
They turned this very traditional Korean dish into an avante garde fusion dish...incredibly well balanced between all these ingredients. The Wagyu beef was definitely top-notch.
Let's get some Greek wine...you can imagine the kind of dishes they are pairing with this...
Reminds you of the clear, blue Mediterranean Ocean?
Hidden inside fried, what I think is black seaweed, is the fried oyster.
Again, Jungsik turned some of the most widely used, traditional Korean-cuisine ingredients, such as oysters, into a cutting-edge fusion dish that walks a fine line between tradition and revolution.
This was my mom's favorite dish - Sea Urchin!
They prepared sea urchin in a Bibimbab-style dish.
You can see that it comes with crispy brown rice to emulate the texture and taste of...well, crispy rice stuck at the bottom of a Dolsot Bibimbab dish!
Sea urchin is Korea's ultimate delicacy...and my mom fell in love with this dish, obviously.
Korean rice wine, the brand name reads "Hwarang" My mom insisted that I explain to my girlfriend and her mom what "Hwarang" means...
Of course, Korean rice wine goes very well with grilled octopus...yummmm
Perfectly crispy outside, and perfectly cooked inside
More white wine!
Red snapper - no oil was used, instead, they used drops of very hot water to create that crispy scale effect!
This perfectly cooked red snapper went very well with their parsley sauce.
Truffle Risotto! Truffle risotto with white kimchi and melted cheese atop - again, familiar Korean-cuisine ingredients put together in a very interesting way. It was phenomenal!
Look how pretty this truffle risotto is...very intricate...
Yum.....it's my first time ever eating melted cheese and white kimchi at the same time.
Paella - my mom's second favorite dish! She especially liked how they used brown rice...more healthy/lean than white rice...
Another phenomenal dish.
Now comes our first and only red wine of that night! 2008 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas.
Top-quality, Wagyu beef steak...this was my favorite dish.
So tender, so succulent, so juicy and terrifyingly beautiful!
Let's bring in some Korean-kick in to this dish - pour me some Kimchi sauce! This dish was 12 out of 10 for me.
Some ice cream to cool down...
Gift exchange - my mom's gift to my girl!
and her gift to my gf's mom!
A gift and a letter from my mom, to me. That's my first name written in Korean.
What a wonderful night, and what a wonderful dinner. Jungsik definitely lived up to its hype and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for that special occasion dinner option. The only downside is that their wait staff was a bit amateurish...