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Jungsik is now open!

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Jungsik, a contemporary Korean restaurant, is now open in TriBeCa.
Food was pretty good and creative, and chef Yim incorporated a lot of Korean ingredients in his cooking.

For some photos, please refer to:
http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/901234...

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Jung Sik
2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Great photos. Very pretty restaurant. High prices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: comiendosiempre

      Thanks comiendosiempre! :)

    2. Nice to see something like this in NYC finally, and looking forward to trying it. Would you know the names of his restaurants in Seoul? Are they still open?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Kurtis

        His first restaurant in Seoul, called Jung Sik Dang (정식당) has been open in Seoul since 2009. :)
        Please refer to this:
        http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900406...

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        Jung Sik
        2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: kosmose7

          Thank you for sharing the link kosmose7. Can't wait till trying JS NYC.

          1. re: Kurtis

            My pleasure Kurtis! :)

          2. re: kosmose7

            kosmose - I'm looking at the pictures from your truffle dinner at Elbon, and I gotta say all the dishes look absolutely amazing! What decadence! Elbon's totally on my must-visit list when I go to Korea next time.

        2. very much looking forward to trying it, been waiting for it to open for a while

          1. Thanks for the photos! Is that the chef? He looks so young!

            Any favorite dishes from the meal?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cheeryvisage

              Yes, he is the chef and he looks like he just got out of college, LOL.
              Most of the dishes I tried were quite good.
              I particularly liked the Sea Urchin with Quinoa. It tasted like Sea Urchin Bibimbap!
              And red snapper cooked with scales on. So crispy. Yum.

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              Jung Sik
              2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

            2. Thanks for the pics. Very excited about it!

              1. kosmose - Just wanted to say I love your blog! I've been reading it for a while now.

                I've been looking forward to this place opening for a while, and the menu and the food indeed look great. However - is there any a la carte option? I have to say the price strikes me as rather high as a chef who has no U.S. presence. For $125/person dinner, he's competing with NYT four-star restaurants. I wonder if it's a viable strategy.

                I see that the tasting menu at his Seoul location is around $80, which I think is much more reasonable - not to mention dishes look/sound more interesting, but that's just my personal observation.

                Either way we plan to pay a visit soon - I'd like to support a chef of my heritage :)

                17 Replies
                1. re: uwsister

                  We have reservations for 10/7 with some Korean friends. Will report back.

                  1. re: uwsister

                    Thanks uwsister!

                    I know, their price is a bit high, isn't it.

                    And they don't have a la carte...

                    The meal itself was quite satisfactory. I personally thought they were more refined than those I tried in Seoul long ago, :)

                    1. re: kosmose7

                      I do wish the restaurant had priced its menu at a more accessible level. Despite his success in Korea, the chef is still considered unproven in NYC. $125 for a 5 course dinner immediately places the restaurant around the spending levels of Corton, The Modern, EMP, Jean Georges, etc. It's a bold (or is it brash) move. I think it would have been better to say, initially introduce the cuisine at a sub-$100 price and then raise it gradually if the demand justifies the need further down the road.

                      1. re: Cheeryvisage

                        He is indeed unproven and virtually unknown in NYC, and his prices are indeed right up there with some of more expensive restaurants in the city. I also think he should have set his prices at a lower level, at least initially, or provide another lower-priced prix-fixe option if offering a la carte is not his style. Especially since high-end Korean cuisine is not something a lot of people here are familiar with - I think he has a lot of huddles to overcome. Even my husband, who absolutely adores Korean food as well as fine dining, expressed reservation after I showed him the menu.

                        strangemd - please do report back! Would love to hear feedbacks from more 'hounds, it would help with convincing my husband to take me there instead of our usual EMP (his fave) for my birthday next month :)

                        1. re: uwsister

                          Maybe he figured with the unproven and virtually unknown-in-NYC Romera opening at the same time at twice the price, his place would look like a relative bargain...

                          -----
                          Romera
                          355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                        2. re: Cheeryvisage

                          I totally agree. It would have been smarter to introduce it at more affordable prices at the beginning.

                          1. re: kosmose7

                            kosmose7,

                            My familiarity with Korean cuisine begins and ends with bbq, i.e., next to nothing. However, looking at your gorgeous photos and reading the descriptions of the dishes in English on the restaurant's website menu, Jung Sik's cuisine seems to be rather like contemporary American, albeit, I presume, with strong Korean influences. I find it very appealing. And thus far, all reports have been extremely positive. So, although there is only the one expensive tasting menu option, I'm willing to try it.

                            P.S. I've enjoyed looking around your website but wish your labels and comments were also in English as I don't know (is that?) Japanese.

                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                            1. re: RGR

                              It's Korean. The two languages look nothing alike...

                              You can use Google Translate to get rudimentary English translations.

                              1. re: RGR

                                I'm not too crazy about categorizing restaurants in one way or another, but I definitely do think Jung Sik is more modern, high-end Korean employing Western techniques and ingredients than it is contemporary American w/ Korean influences. Obviously there are dishes that are totally Western (e.g. foie gras amuse) but most mains are instantly recognizable as versions of Korean dishes. From what I can tell from purely looking at the menu and photos, he's done a good job making them accessible to diners who may not be familiar with Korean cuisine (or that beyond K-BBQ, hehe) without completely diluting it. Of course my opinion could totally change upon actually trying the place - which I hope to, soon! My husband wants more feedbacks, before we take the plunge. Lame, I know.

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  I wouldn't try too hard to categorize or label the style of cuisine -- the cooking here really defies it. Yes, the basic cuisine is what I would descibe as haute-contemporary-Asian-and-I-hate-to-use-this-word-Fusion, i.e., Momofuku Ko meets Per Se. David Chang's compositions are the only thing resembling this food I have had in NYC, but the atmosphere/service is the polar opposite of his restaurants. If you have been to Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, it is a bit like that, but maybe not as avant garde, and much more formal.

                                  Although the dishes are described with references to Korean dishes, they don't resemble them at all. They are very refined riffs -- the Bibim, for example, was little bits of mozzarella, tomato, arugula sorbet (like shaved ice), and some sort of crispy, which you were instructed to mix together (like bibimbap) and was absolutely divine. But you would never look at it and recognize it as bibimbap! Does that make sense?

                                  1. re: BTaylor

                                    why call it bibimbap then??? this is not a korean restaurant. it is a western restaurant that happens to be owned by a korean who uses korean words on the menu and adds a few korean ingredients on the menu.

                                    just like chang this guy does not represent korean food at all.

                                    1. re: halo

                                      I believe it's called "Bibim", not "Bibimbap". Does this make you feel less upset?

                                      1. re: halo

                                        It is neither a pure western, nor a pure Korean restaurant.

                                        Some dishes are very close to traditional Korean food, while others look more like a western dish.

                                        Their sea tangle pilaf tasted like Korean miyokguk bap, and their Galbi just like traditional Korean Galibijjim. The lobster dish, on the other hand, looked and tasted as if it were served at a new American restaurant in the city.

                                        Just relax a little, I think you can call it whatever you want to. Why don't we just enjoy the food?

                                        1. re: halo

                                          David Chang does not claim that his food is Korean. The guy was born in Virginia to Korean-American parents. Momofuko means "lucky peach" in Japanese. I think Chang's inspiration comes from street foods found all over Asia.

                                          1. re: scoopG

                                            David Chang makes it VERY clear that he doesn't consider his food Korean. This is from Momofuku Ssam's FAQ:

                                            q: what kind of cuisine is it?
                                            a: we try our best to serve delicious american food.

                                            Like I said, I don't care for categorizing cuisines one way or another - but I think many people are not familiar with high-end Korean cuisine, understandably so since it's next to impossible to come across a good example here, and have the notion that Korean food should be cheap, can't be fine dining, etc. It's evident even in this thread & I've also seen a similar attitude about Mexican food, Chinese food. Obviously Jung Sik is not "pure" Korean cuisine, far from it, but I do recognize a lot of it as Korean (as opposed to Momofuku Ssam) and I hope more people will see that Korean cuisine indeed can be served at a high level. I remember when my husband had a chance to eat at my mother's restaurant in Seoul, which was a high-end Korean restaurant with "tasting menu" up to $150 employing many rare and exotic ingredients, it was a revelation to him to learn there was much more to the cuisine than what 32nd St. has to offer.

                                            1. re: uwsister

                                              you've def got a good point about high end asian food, outside of japanese food i think almost all asian food in america suffers from that perception as most of the food that is available in america is generally lower end cuisine (nothing wrong with that as i love alot of that type of food). I've said before that i think alot of people would be completely shocked at some of the higher end chinese food in a city like hong kong b/c it would be so different than anything they've had here

                                              also i mean the categorization doesn't really matter as long as the food tastes good right?

                                              1. re: Lau

                                                The food at Jungsik, was overall excellent. The amuse bouche dishes were fantastic. As said there are only tasting menus here. But one tasting menu gives you many choices from each category , which is more than other taasting menus usually give you. The pork belly dish was excellenty prepared, although there were some flavors that didnt compliment it so well . The halibut was absolutley delicious and simple with a crisp outside and moist center and slightly salty. The lobster was good, and the dish very pretty to look at. But next time I would opt for the lobster salad and skip the lobster dish. The scallop dish which had the halibut with it was very good. The chicken dish was another nice looking dish and tasted good. The chef expertly prepares the food. I would not call it Korean food, although some Korean flavors are present. Think more French Laundry style, than Korean. Although French Laundry is a bit above this. I love the food at Jungsik, even the coffee is excellent. I will be back, and the price is quite worth it, when you compare its prices to Per Se, Brushstroke, EMP, Modern, Bouley, Brooklyn Fare. My only complaint is that the servers, the busboys etc who try to assist you with the food and the wine, are not very knowledgeable about the food or the wine. The higher level people there are very knowledgeable. I think they either have to educate their staff or find new ones.They were a bit confused. The manager ,Andrea, was great, knowledgeable, friendly, experienced, caring, and probably one of the reasons I would be back. Of course this place has great , creative dishes, and a welcome site in Tribeca, which needed a place like this.

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                                                Per Se
                                                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                          2. I went to Jungsik last week, and was very impressed. The food was delicious, refined, everything at a very, very high level. Yes the prices are too. I don't think a la carte would work though---the meal is conceived as a progression, with little surprises here and there---the restaurant it most reminds me of is actually Per Se. The chef has proven himself to me, certainly, but yes, with wine, it was a very expensive dinner.

                            -----
                            Jung Sik
                            2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BTaylor

                              I thought the food at Jungsik New York seemed even more refined than at his first Jungsik Seoul. I am glad that you enjoyed it as I did. :)

                            2. i don't believe it is accurate to call jungsik a contemporary korean restaurant. it is a FUSION restaurant at best. the menu has a few korean ingredients but 75% of ingredients and methods are western. a few korean ingredients here and there while giving it korean names does NOT a korean restaurant make. it is like calling Per Se a japanese restaurant because it has kobe, shiso, and mizuna on the menu.

                              korean food in ny is relatively bad in quality compared to la or korea. so why do we need an upscale korean restaurant when we do not have a really good moderately priced one? seems like jungsik is jumping the gun a bit. show us korean food with real authentic flavors with quality ingredients FIRST...

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                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. I will check it out, Sounds great. The only other Korean restaurant in Tribeca is Kori ( on Church St and Leonard) which is traditional dishes and made very well. The seafood pancake is better than any i've had in Ktown. But I look forward to trying Jungsik

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                                Kori
                                253 Church St, New York, NY 10013

                                1. I would NEVER spend this type of money on Korean food. I can go to a more authentic, less precious place in the 30's. Ambiance is not worth $125 and I imagine this restauranteur will discover this when winter comes.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: sing me a bar

                                    You don't seem to understand. It's NOT KOREAN FOOD. It's above and beyond, more like the food of Thomas Keller and maybe even molecular gastronomy. But the ingredients and chef are Korean. It's fun and delicious! Give it a chance!

                                    1. re: sing me a bar

                                      That's a bit like saying "I'd never pay that kind of money for French food because I can get a steak for $19 at Schiller's."

                                      I mean, if all food is the same to you, whatever...

                                      1. re: sgordon

                                        Or, put another way: "I'd never pay to eat at Eleven Madison Park because I can have American food for a fraction of the price at a 'more authentic, less precious place' like Old Homestead." Two restaurants, both American, with entirely different ambitions and goals (and prices).

                                        To echo Lau and uwsister, we're missing out if we arbitrarily decide that (non-Japanese) Asian restaurants cannot stray from the low- to midrange, authentic-as-most-Americans-understand-it ghetto. I keep hearing about exciting high-end cuisine emerging around Asia. It won't survive long here if tradition-bound New Yorkers don't broaden their palates and minds.

                                        1. re: squid kun

                                          "Or, put another way: "I'd never pay to eat at Eleven Madison Park because I can have American food for a fraction of the price at a 'more authentic, less precious place' like Old Homestead." Two restaurants, both American, with entirely different ambitions and goals (and prices)."

                                          I like the way you put this. To add, little or no resemblance between the new and traditional American dining doesn't necessarily negate their lineage either; it's just the nature of their evolution in a given time.

                                          I think the Korean restaurants in the states in general have evolved around serving inexpensive comfort food catered for Korean-Americans. While we see more specialized places with focus these days- more so in LA than here in NYC - this hasn't been the case for a very long time, and they still fall quite short of being representative of the cuisine. As Lau and uwsister mentioned, high-end restaurants in Asian countries continues to evolve and serve up some wonderful food which is quite lacking here in the states, and so my excitement for Jung Sik.

                                          Many Korean restaurants popular in the states - likes of Kum Gang San - are somewhat unique as well; going out to a Korean restaurant in Korea is nearly always with specific dish/region in mind, and place like above where Korean, Chinese, and Japanese food is served in one restaurant would be hard to find nor popular.

                                          1. re: squid kun

                                            My re-visit to Jungsik: The food is excellent. The best dish I had was the short rib. I did ask for a side order of kimchee, which greatly improved the dish, to my taste. They told me they originally were going to use kimchee, but wanted to keep the dish more "tolerable" to the general public. The halibut is really good too. In general the food was great on both visits. I mean really great. But, for a "fine dining" restaurant, they need a staff (waiters, captains, busboys ) with fine dining experience. Little things, like , clean the crumbs off the table, and not with your bare hand. Put the fork in its proper location as far as silverware goes, Bring the bread out, toward the beginning of the meal. I can go on and on, basically, a fine dining restaurant , which this is, should give you what you are about to ask for before you ask for it, service , service service. The food was better here than at Bouley, the service at Bouley was far superior to Jungsik. Just to compare two Tribeca spots. I hope they get more staff and more experienced than some of those they have. Again, the General Manager is terrific. But perhaps she should send someone she trusts to eat there, and let them report to her which staff members are deficient. If it were a casual place, I would not be so picky about the service.

                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                              At that price point, service should be spot-on. I hope they work on that - and hope they improve before we get there 'cause my husband's a stickler for service!

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                "...a fine dining restaurant , which this is, should give you what you are about to ask for before you ask for it, service..."

                                                , and when it is delivered above and beyond one's need/imagination the whole experience turns sublime. I hope the service as well as knowledge of the staff here improves with time, as it seems critical to their success, especially for a restaurant with bit of identity issue. Learning about their service issue is a real bummer...

                                                1. re: Kurtis

                                                  Just went last night with a party of 4, and tried to taste as many things as we could. I wouldn't really call this a "Korean restaurant," as much as one clearly inspired by Korean flavors and textures and attempting to turn those into high culinary art. They mostly succeed. They start you off with an assortment of 3 amuse bouche, and dot the 5-course tasting menu with extra surprises: from a delicious taste of clam/kimchee broth as a palate cleanser, to a luscious pre-dessert tasting of pastries and home-made chocolates. The main menu is essentially a do-it-yourself tasting menu, with choices from various columns to put together a progression. Rather nice to all be able to have a different tasting menu and try each other's dishes. Our votes on stand-outs: their version of Bibim, with arugula sorbet mixed with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of crunchy fried roots was delicious. The sea urchin served on a bed of black rice with kimchee, daikon, and micro-greens had me licking the bowl. High points also for the butter-poached lobster with mandarines and a strong undertone of Korean mustard. My personal favorite was the "5-senses pork" where a creamy log of sliced pork belly is served perfectly carmelized, and spicy, sweet, sour, and crunchy all at once. The scallop preparation with clam sauce and basil oil was also a big hit with the whole table. Desserts were excellent, though more influenced by WD-50 than Korea, to my palate.
                                                  I will agree with those who found the service a bit casual, but they're clearly trying to get better and were very friendly. Both the chef and his manager came to our table to answer specific questions about the preparations, and were quite gracious. The general tone of the restaurant was very welcoming, and warm. I understand those who feel it lacks the formality normally associated with this kind of price tag, but honestly, I go for food. And they made me very happy.

                                                  -----
                                                  Jung Sik
                                                  2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013