Kori is a small, narrow, elegant Korean restaurant in TriBeCa. If you read their menu, they serve mainly traditional Korean fare but a few dishes does cater to the neighborhood.
They plating them a bit more polished and comparing to a couple of really old school Korean restaurants, toning down the spiciness so it can appeal to everyone. Even though there’s a few tweaks, the depth of flavors in the dishes we ate (I went to dinner there with my parents) were incredible and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
During the time I was there, the diners had a ranged from young families to older couples. There’s even a couple of Korean kids around my age who ate there as well.
My parents and I started with Yuza Addictive, Lychee Martini ($11 each) and an OB Golden Lager ($5). Each beverage were very good. The cocktails were generally fruity, balanced, and sweeter than my personal preference but my mother adored it so much that she drank my cocktail. I took a swig from my father’s lager and thought it’s pretty good. Smooth, dark and not too hoppy.
The Shrimp Bombs ($8.50) are Asian style soup spoons filled with marinated, shredded cucumber that looks like noodles wrapped in chilled cooked shrimp and topped with fish roe and Korean yellow wasabi. It’s cold, tangy-sweet and the shrimp was refreshing.
For something warm, we had fried baby octopus ($10.98) with a wonderful side of yuja (yuzu) chili sauce that’s sweet, tart and a touch of zingy spice to go with the tender octopus.
We did go a little out of hand ordering our main courses but hey, we’re hungry. The kalbi ssam ($28), marinated Black Angus beef short ribs that were grilled in the kitchen and brought out to our table with a basket of fresh romaine lettuce, a small stainless steel bowl of perfectly cooked medium grain white rice. This was pretty damn sublime to eat as the beef was tender, flavorful, and pleasantly sweet and savory.
The bulgogi stew ($18.50) with mushrooms, scallions, noodles, rice cake, and bean sprouts is one of my favorite Korean dishes. No contest. I’m always enamored with the soup-like stew of deep, beefy flavors that is sweet at the same time and the tender beef (that’s raw initially but tossed in a rolling, boiling hot stone bowl) and the fresh ingredients makes for a great stew.
The eel bap ($19.95) is the kitchen’s own spin of the bibimbap by taking grilled glazed eel (if you had the Japanese unadon you would be very familiar of it’s sweet with a tinge of savory flavors), a slightly crunchy, refreshing seaweed salad, creamy avocado, and dried seaweed to add a subtle touch of umami. There was a side of spicy mayonnaise sauce that we may add and mix to our discretion. Since I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise, I added a moderate amount to add some needed heat and sauce to the dish. When you have a spoon or chopstick full of the mixture, it’s pretty fantastic.
The most familiar of all Korean dishes is the bulgoki dolsot bibim pap ($18.98), a sizzling hot stone bowl filled with rice, topped with raw marinated thin sliced beef ribeye, shredded carrots, enoki mushrooms, sliced shiitake, blanched watercress and other vegetables. It’s served with a side of delicious gochujang, a spicy, fermented bean and chili paste. I don’t have to tell you how good it is (especially the crispy rice found on the bottom of the bowl); just order one.
We managed to make room for dessert and shared a duo of mochi ice cream ($5.99) of chocolate and black sesame and roasted rice cake sticks ($5.95). The mochi ice cream were two to three bite frozen sweets filled with really creamy, flavorful, not so sweet (it’s a great thing) ice cream.
The roasted rice cakes were unusual (to me) traditional Korean dessert that has a side of sweet, dark honey and a scoop of deliciously creamy green tea ice cream. What our server told us is to take that hot, crisp yet chewy rice noodle, dip it in the viscous honey and the ice cream. As simple as this dessert was, it blew my mind how great it was.
This entire meal was very solid all around. The food was excellent. The atmosphere is dark, not too boisterous, and kind of sexy when night envelopes and the service was attentive. Just make sure to get a table before 8 PM or expect a bit of a wait.
To view more photos of this dinner, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):
253 Church St
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 334-0908