My birthday a month ago closed out with a fabulous dinner at Jungsik. I was so enamored by Jungsik when I first dined there in 2011 that I returned to have my birthday celebration dinner there.
The meal was incredible.
Miro and I repeated some old favorites like the Bibim and the Crispy Snapper. And thanks to the generosity and hospitality of the restaurant, we got to try quite a number of new dishes. Here are some highlights of the new dishes that made a big impression on us.
A very nice glass of champagne, a gift from the house, started off the celebratory dinner.
Amuse Bouche – Bulgogi Pizza
A wonderful savory bite, with a light kick of heat towards the end. Delightful.
Amuse Bouche – Ankimo (Monkfish Liver)
This was actually a work-in-progress dish that we received as a gift from the restaurant. I loved the creamy butteriness of the ankimo, yet it was still very light and sparkled on the tongue. This was our favorite item of all of the amuses.
Apple – Light foie gras mousse
The raspberry foie gras mousse amuse I enjoyed so much last time was transformed into a first course dish. The apple flavor was sweeter and slightly less acidic than the raspberry version. It was so smooth and creamy and lovely, we made short work of this.
Sea Urchin – Korean seaweed rice, crispy quinoa
Oh my god. I’m usually not one for dramatic theatrics and silly exaggerations, but I think my eyes might have rolled toward the back of my head at the first bite. What a perfect harmony of sweet creamy sea urchin; crisp-crunchy quinoa, umami-licious kimchi, and comforting rice! This dish, in a way, epitomizes the homey-comforting characteristics of Korean cooking that I love so much. Every bite sent a little jolt of happiness into my heart. To say that I was moved was an understatement.
Miyeok – Birthday meal
Another gift from the restaurant. The sommelier graciously presented this to our table, wishing me happy birthday. It was another hit! This shared similar comforting characteristics as the Sea Urchin dish, but was lighter and more vegetal in flavor profile (or maybe the correct description is “more sea plant-y”). Oh my, I thought this dish almost rivaled the Sea Urchin as my favorite new dish of the night. The Sea Urchin still won because I love my uni, but the Miyeok was a serious contender.
Arctic Char – Kimchi sabayon
I couldn’t resist ordering this because I love arctic char and love kimchi. I was not disappointed. Bread crumbs, sprinkled on top of the filet, provided a wonderful texture contrast. The kimchi sabayon, gentle and lovely, coated the fish in a light buttery sheen. Love love love.
Green Tea Creameux – Sweet red bean, roasted soy ice cream
A deconstructed version of… a number of various dessert items actually. The chief flavors, green tea and red bean, are classic in Asian desserts. The flavor profile may be traditional, but the technique and presentation definitely aren’t. I particularly liked the green tea ice cream. Miro said, “I don’t like green tea flavor normally, but I actually enjoyed this.” This just goes to show you how successful this dessert dish was for us.
It took us hours to finish this meal and what a spectacular dinner it was! Miro and I were dazzled, astounded, and awed throughout. Jungsik gifted us with a number of dishes and we were very grateful for the restaurant’s kindness and generosity. I want to thank the restaurant and its staff for giving me one of the most memorable birthday meals of my life.
Thank you, Jungsik, may you “live long and prosper”!
Full set of large resolution photos: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjy8zZ5M
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New York, NY 10013