Restaurant Review: New York, New York

Jungsik


You’ll find everything in halves, from the cool to the coveted—three pages of wines priced to incentivize your freedom to choose—at this elegant, Korean-inspired restaurant in the old Chanterelle space in Tribeca. Nervous about how chenin will play with a bite of kimchi and smoked squash? Instead of a full bottle, test the waters with a $36 split of Huet’s Vouvray Sec Le Haut Lieu. It cools the kimchi and magnifies the flavor of a squiggle of fried chicken in spicy aioli. Chenin will also take you diving into a spherical bowl of sea urchin over Korean seaweed rice, kimchi and crispy quinoa. The bowl is as white as the plates, the tablecloths, the sweeping banquettes and walls. The chef, Jungsik Yim, put in time at Bouley and Aquavit and had a brush with molecular gastronomy in Spain before opening Jungsik in Seoul; the sommelier, Kyongmoon Kim, worked there before helping to open this New York branch. He’s assembled one of the most balanced lists we’ve seen for Asian-inspired food, focused on elegant wines to match. The Bibim, a salad of tiny cubes of mozzarella, grape tomatoes, julienned romaine and tomato basil sorbet, may be the clearest nod to deconstructionism—sort of an Italian bibim without the bap (rice). But the food places health and comfort above intellectual nitrogen and gastronomic jokes, delivering its share of surprise along with gustatory bliss. Try the silky black cod over a red pepper-soy reduction with Boillot’s 2009 Gevrey Chambertin; or the Five Senses Pork Belly, soft and sweet against a side of spicy, crunchy, sour cabbage, with La Rioja Alta’s 2001 Viña Ardanza. Since either is available in half bottles, a couple can explore both.