If you’re standing at the intersection of 32nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan, New York, there are a variety of directions that you can follow to find a good meal to eat.
Go east and choose from numerous Korean eating options, including barbecue, dumplings, and champagne. Stroll through the downtown area, and you’ll be served Mediterranean appetizers at chef Jose Andres’ newest New York restaurant, Zaytinya. Uptown, just a few blocks, is one of Manhattan’s most iconic eating establishments for those who love meat, Keens Steakhouse.
Soon, guests can take an unassuming path leading them to the top dining experiences and walk up the subway steps to Noksu, the newest, refined restaurant with a Korean influence.
New Yorkers and tourists are familiar with this busy 34th Street-Herald Plaza station entrance. Before the pandemic, the station was ranked as the third most crowded on the subway network of New York City, carrying over 39 million passengers each year.
Noksu, scheduled to begin operations on 21 Sept 2023, will be located on the mezzanine floor at the entrance to Noksu Station.
The counter with black granite at Noksu.
The room has been converted into a spacious dining area with a minimalist kitchen, which can also be used as a laboratory with walls decorated in gray, white, and black. Korean monochrome ink-and-wash paintings influenced Claire Kim Soojin’s concept of the room.
A 12-seat long granite counter is the centerpiece of the space. The chef behind the counter is Dae Kim, who looks like a BTS band member and has an impressive resume, including stints at three Michelin-starred Per Se and the contemporary Chinese hidden gem Silver Apricot in New York.
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At Naro, which opened in the fall as a part of the Rockefeller Centre rock star restaurant lineup, Junghyun and Ellia Park serve an eight-course US$165 menu based on the cuisine from their home country.
The couple has received worldwide interest for their townhouse restaurant Atomix, for $395. The menu is full of Korean food, currently ranked as No. Eight on the world’s 50 Greatest list. At the 2-year-old Mari, the tasting of kimbap, with most consisting of premium seafood – costs just US$145.
A Noksu dish called Grits.
We were able to see a sneak preview of Kim’s restaurant and the chance to taste the menu of 15 courses, which will begin for US$225, which does not include the tax or tip.
I had imagined arriving at Noksu through the subway’s entrance; however, the black iron gate was closed when I decided to look it up. Therefore, I chose to go in a different approach: the restaurant on the lower level of Martinique New York. Martinique New York Hotel on Broadway is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.
Going across the lobby and up the staircase can lead one to the eatery.
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From my seat on my stool, I watched Kim use tweezers to assist in placing fried potato slices into thin petals that were then topped with the delicate egg custard, also known as Gyeran-Jjim in Korea as well as a stew of clams with chewy shells in an herb-based sauce. It was like a golden Chrysanthemum.
The chef’s love affair with flowers also leads to an appetizer he serves close to the meal’s start. It’s Japanese horsehair crabs in a tartlet that appear like the petals of a flower.
Kim was born outside of Seoul and began his culinary journey in the US and began his education through cookbooks. His cuisine is truly impressive, even at an age when it’s challenging to locate a cook not focusing on the way their food looks.
A Noksu dish called Oyster.
He buys every little edible flower he can lay his hands on. He and his three kitchen staff prepare ingredients to create a fun presentation: A dish consisting of Ramadan (tilefish) fillets to make it look like a fish is diving into the sea, for example.
The preparation work is a denial that Kim cooks on gas because of the position; the kitchen cooks with induction burners and combi-oven and various raw ingredients.
In a subsequent course, Kim spotlights slices of mackerel, a popular fish in Korea, and served warm, with nutty celtuce and a sweet spiked with sake, carrot soup. He also has a venison roll as a nod to the meat-rich Korean diet, stuffed with herbs and accompanied by honey gochujang, the smoky general-purpose Korean sauce.
For dessert, he serves an exquisite frozen flan delicately flavored with dill and honey and served with a sorbet crafted from the chamoe, the Korean melons.
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The wine program features wines that hail from cooler climates, such as Germany, Austria, and California’s North Coast, to balance the subtle flavors of the menu. A pair will cost US$175.
There are a variety of non-alcoholic pairings, which range from alcohol-free cocktails – some created with Korean ingredients such as the woojeong green tea, to bottles such as those of German Kolonne Null sparkling non-alcoholic wine and the non-alcoholic wine will cost around USD 95.
The diners will require an access code for their keypad to enter the restaurant through the subway entrance, according to Joseph Ko, a co-owner of Noksu alongside Bobby Kwak, who owns the renowned two-level Baekjeong Korean BBQ spot nearby.
The entrance to the subway station Noksu.
They know the station’s access will be open to commuters who want to avoid eating or spending money on gourmet food. They are preparing the gate with security cameras and the Ring doorbell system that can be used to identify the people at the door and are contemplating the possibility of a security guard.
Even with the keypad interruption, it’s an entrance that will surely delight those looking for entertainment to complement their meal after the black gates finally get rolled up.