Kochi NYC is a lovely gem of Korean gastronomy that opened in Hell’s Kitchen, right before the pandemic. Since then, Kochi has received a Michelin star and has become one of the most prominent fine dining restaurants in Manhattan. The chef Sungchul Shim, who previously worked at Neta and Per Se, offers a menu that honors the traditional flavors of Korean royal court food while enhancing his tribute with modern gastronomic techniques using the freshest local ingredients.
The restaurant offers a tasting menu only and the menu consists of nine courses. Throughout the menu, five courses feature skewers since Kochi (꼬치) in Korean means skewer and the word is the restaurant’s name and identity.
Conveniently located in my neighborhood, Kochi NYC was a restaurant that I’ve been looking forward to trying for a long time. On a lovely Saturday evening, my husband and I, along with a couple of friends, were delightfully surprised by how much we enjoyed the unique dining experience. Every plate was painstakingly prepared and so beautiful that I had a hard time taking the first bite, since it felt like I was destroying works of art. The waitstaff was attentive to our needs and overall the service was superb. Here is a review of each of the nine courses at Kochi NYC.
1. Sunchoke, 돼지감자
sunchoke soup, burdock fritter, soy braised leek, caviar
As our waiter brought out the first course, I was awed by the presentation. The layers were perfectly stacked, with caviar topping the burdock fritter along with gold flakes next to a tiny flower, and so beautiful that I could barely wield the spoon to break it. The thick, nutty and sweet sunchoke soup came on a separate sauce dish and when I poured the soup into the plate, the sweet and soothing aroma overwhelmed me as well. My first bite galvanized all five senses and I could not imagine a better start to my dinner!
2. Scallop 관자회
seared scallop, leche de tigre, gochujang vinaigrette, radicchio, pickled onion
The second dish was the first skewer course of the dinner. The skewer was a piece of art. It’s like the scallop was the tiny canvas that the chef meticulously put his design on. Each bite gave me the soft and buttery sweetness of scallop with a little kick from the gochujang vinaigrette sauce.
3. Shrimp Twigim 새우튀김
crispy shrimp, charred eggplant sauce, tomato gochujang
The third course was also came on a skewer. This was a luxury interpretation of a Korean corn dog. The outside was so crispy and the perfectly cooked shrimp inside presented a firm, yet soft, almost al dente texture. It just melts in your mouth. The gochujang sauce marvelously complemented with its simultaneously tangy, sweet and spicy taste. It was a fantasy of everything you want but never imagined could be contained in a corn dog.
4. Turbot 어선
steamed turbot, korean mustard cream, gamtae, turbot mousse, daikon
Three times a charm and the fourth course was the third consecutive skewer dish. The turbot wrapped by cabbage was steamed to perfection. With gamtae (ecklonia, seaweed) and salmon roe on the top, the skewer’s optics makes you salivate. The sour, pungent, yet delicate mustard cream sauce goes flawlessly with a mild and sweet-tasting of the white steamed fish.
5. Bossam 보쌈
slow cooked pork tenderloin, cashew nut ssamjang, perilla leaf kimchi
The fifth course cleared the field as an early favorite, which was no easy feat. This skewer of pork is a magnificent miniature of Korean bossam, a slow-cooked pork. The tender pork was excellently balanced with salty, spicy and nutty ssamjang sauce. Priceless. Also, the perilla kimchi and the roasted vegetables are marvelous complements to the pork skewer.
6. Short Rib 갈비찜
braised short rib, soy mushroom broth, barley, korean pumpkin purée
(périgord black truffle supplement $25)
The sixth course hailed the mighty beef. Galbijjim, the Korean braised beef short rib is one of Korea’s most well-known dishes, and Kochi’s version is the wonderfully modernized one. I didn’t add périgord black truffle but I believe there is no need to since the dish is full of flavors. The short rib is so soft and juicy I barely had to chew. The salty soy sauce and the sweet Korean pumpkin puree go thoroughly well with the short rib, it’s heaven with every bite.
7. Urchin Trout Bibimbap 성게송어장비빔밥
soymarinated steelhead trout, urchin, crispy forbidden rice, seaweed rice
The seventh course was my absolute favorite on Kochi’s tasting menu. The dish is just full of delights. It was so colorful and exquisite. The overflowing textures of the dish are the finest thing about the dish, the softness of sea urchin, the crispiness of the raw vegetables, and the substantial way steelhead trout presented as both dense and flakey. I was actually heartbroken to see my bowl empty.
8. Froyo 무화과
fig frozen yogurt, fig marmalade, cranberry
The eighth course was the first dessert course. This fig frozen yogurt with the fig marmalade arrived with the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness. It melts in your mouth so softly that it will satisfy your sweet craving after so much savory bounty.
9. Ice Cream Sandwich 흑임자
black sesame seed ice cream, chocolate sponge cake, nurungji cream
The ninth and last Kochi course is, of course, on a skewer. This dessert is very Korean with a fun American twist since the black sesame seed flavor is one of the most popular flavors in Korea and the ice cream sandwich is one of the most popular forms of ice cream in the US. The earthy and nutty black sesame ice cream goes surprisingly well with the sweet chocolate sponge sandwich. The soft green tea whipping cream with the matcha powder and the little crunchy marbles are just lovely additions to the last course.
652 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Mon – Sun : 5:00pm to 12:00am
Nine Course Tasting Menu ($125)
Hanyoo Park is a content creator for Best of Korea. She was born in Seoul, Korea, and currently lives and works in Manhattan. She is mom to a 4th grader and a proud maximalist who loves everything about life.