Do you remember when the Iron Man movie first came out? It was followed by Hulk, Thor, and Captain America movies… and then BAM! They all got together and formed The Avengers, a superhero supergroup. Well, “Avengers” is what comes to mind when I think about Chef Ho Young Kim's incredible popup at Atomix.
Some background first: Chef Ho Young Kim is the executive chef at New York's Jungsik, a modern Korean restaurant that, as of 2018, has 2 Michelin stars. He's been going around on occasion, cooking at popups where the food is inspired a certain region or area. His first popup was a Japanese-inspired tasting menu served at 29b Teahouse.
For his second popup, Chef Kim cooked foods that were inspired by Southeast Asian foods and flavors. His talented Pastry Chef, Eunji Lee, provided the desserts for the meal. They were joined by Chef Junghyun Park (JP) and his wife, Ellia, both of Atomix, the newly opened Korean fine dining restaurant that opened to rave reviews.
Anyways, having the Jungsik and Atomix teams work together created a very special dinner, as seen in the video above and in the pictures below.
The dinner in pictures and words:
Course 1: osetra caviar paired with smoked tofu puree and coconut sorbet.
These are ingredients you don't typically picture together but they work so well together!
Course 2: lettuce wraps with grilled wagyu and chili jam
How can you go wrong with wagyu lettuce wraps? It was so good, it left you wanting more!
Course 3: fried Carabinero shrimp with spicy sriracha sauce
This special shrimp was perfectly fried and paired quite nicely with the sriracha sauce. One of my favorites of the night.
Course 4: papaya salad with charred tuna belly
This papaya salad had less spice than what I typically prefer but it was still great…and the charred tuna belly literally melted in your mouth.
Course 5: capellini noodle, smoked eel, cilantro
You can never go wrong with a good noodle dish!
Course 6: steamed black cod, lime broth
Probably my favorite dish of the night. Perfectly steamed black cod and that lime broth was divine. People were asking for more broth because it was that good.
Course 7: roasted dry aged squab, fennel cumin puree, hoisin jus
Squab is one of my favorite proteins and this take was absolutely delicious.
Course 8: chilled mango soup with coconut and passion fruit sorbet
Chef Eunji is an incredibly talented pastry chef (you have to try her dessert tasting menu at Jungsik) and she did not disappoint with her two contributions to the dinner. This dish, finished tableside with a pour of the mango soup, signaled the shift to the dessert portion of the meal.
Course 9: calamansi cream, pineapple, thai basil
This cute little tart was bursting with flavor! Loved it and wish I had more!
Overall, it was an intimate meal that not only highlighted the flavors of Southeast Asia but also showed the technical and creative talents of all those involved. I don’t know if the “Avengers” of NY Korean fine dining will assemble again, but if they do, it’s a must go!