(From Food & Wine)
Koreatown is the place to be now that upstart chefs are bringing fresh creativity to K-town classics.
A little more than a decade ago, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in New York City. Soon its signature dish, Korean-style steamed buns with pork belly, was everywhere, and kimchi was ubiquitous enough to inspire a Lay’s potato chip flavor. Now, a diverse brigade of chef-driven Korean restaurants is opening across the country.
At Baroo in L.A., Korean-born Kwang Uh, who staged at Noma in Copenhagen, makes vegetarian-focused dishes like kimchi fried rice with fermented pineapple. On the other end of the spectrum is Manhattan’s Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, where rising star Deuki Hong is a meat specialist.
He “marinates his marinade” for his short ribs (i.e., lets it sit so the flavors meld) and cooks them on custom table grills, each with a cone-shaped vent that can be raised or lowered. “When I went to cooking school seven years ago, everyone wanted to work in big, famous kitchens like Jean-Georges,” says Hong. “But since then Asian food has been on the rise, and chefs want to cook the food they like to eat. They all go out for Korean food at 2 a.m. after their shifts.”