Cote Offers Korean Barbecue With a Soul of a Fat-cat American Steakhouse

October 24, 2017 - bbq set

A customary widespread during Cote, in a Flatiron District.

Photo: Melissa Hom

Of all a radical, ingenious, spasmodic unfortunate down-market maneuvers being attempted by rarely talented, upmarket restaurateurs and chefs around a city, a one that Simon Kim and executive cook David Shim have executed during their new Flatiron restaurant, Cote, competence be a many inventive of all: They’ve combined a steakhouse sheltered as a Korean griddle corner (or clamp versa), a gratifying hybrid that instead of feeling like gimmickry or an exploitation of these dual informed genres, is an alleviation on both.

Korean griddle with all a trappings isn’t accurately down-market, of course, yet like griddle everywhere, it’s a time-honored tradition, drizzling with all kinds of comforting Proustian associations, generally for Korean-Americans like Kim who grew adult on a solid diet of galbi, and homemade bibimbap. Layer these, as Kim and Shim do, with a many towering mixture and first-class technique (the kimchee is fermented in-house), and we have a best of both worlds: a big-money, New Age “steakhouse” that exudes a familiar, community amenities of home.

Kim’s final try was a partially staid, Michelin-approved (and recently shuttered) West Village investiture Piora, yet Cote has a stripped-down, rough feel of a stylish Benihana opening in a suburbs. There’s a swarming area in a front of a long, boxy space for some-more infrequent dining and drinking, and an island bar in a center of a room houses harried barkeeps who offer a solid tide of brightly colored cocktails with names like “Seoul Side” and a “Hibiscus Swizzle.” Meanwhile, a behind half of a room is set with rows of noble black leather banquettes, any one propitious with a state-of-the-art, $10,000 open grill, and tables cut from discriminating black marble that are vast adequate to accommodate 8 opposite cuts of dry-aged steak, and a common crowd of Korean griddle banchan.

Despite a omnipresence in this epoch of food mash-ups and pig buns, “fusion” is still a divisive tenure in a griddle world, so a pivotal is to not make your cooking feel like alloy during all. It’s a credit to a neat morality of Cote’s concept that a reduction appealing tropes of a American steakhouse are hardly manifest here. Yes, we can obtain an overpriced, semi-frozen shrimp cocktail (it’s served with a spicy, well-spoken various of gochujang salsa for dipping), nonetheless if you’re wise, you’ll call instead for a assisting or dual of a soothing and faintly sharp Korean “boudin noir blood sausage,” and a “sweet and tangy” duck nuggets, both of that are served as bar snacks. we never could move myself to try a crowd salad (the salsa is tofu and sesame instead of blue cheese), yet a Peter Luger–inspired, jalapeño–spiked “Korean bacon” is improved than what’s served during a creaking, aged traveller corner behind in Williamsburg, and beef tartare, that entire speciality, is constructed, inventively, with soy, sesame oil, and slivers of pear.

Galbi on a grill.

Photo: Melissa Hom

Much of a beef during Cote is stored in a glassed-off “aging vault” downstairs, that is illuminated a lifeless fluorescent red, like something that competence seem in an American Psycho reboot. After your appetizers, we will expected wish to representation a considerable operation of deeply flavored rib eyes, sirloins, and wagyu chops stored in this bizarre small chamber. The many fit (and economical) approach is to call for a Butcher’s Feast, that incorporates 4 cuts of your selecting into a set-course Korean griddle meal. Being a traditionalist, we suggest a short-rib “galbi,” that is cooking in soy, ginger, and a accumulation of fruit juices (apple, orange, and pear), and that caramelizes impressively on a grill, along with a chunks of pink, faintly funky, 40-day-aged rib eye. Both are served with variations on exemplary sides, like scallion salad, good fronds of red-leaf lettuce, and a inexhaustible pot of feathery gyeran-jjim, that is a kind of delicious Korean egg soufflé.

The gyeran-jjim during Cote is improved than any egg soufflé that we can remember enjoying in a Korean establishments along 32nd Street, and so are many of a normal dishes that seem underneath a Savory Accompaniments apportionment of a menu. The kitchen also provides an all-vegetable “Farmer’s Basket” for grilling, along with a daily market-fish choice that allows a Michelin-caliber cook to keep in hold with his exemplary roots. You will eat well, even if we wandering from a grilled specialities.

Some of Cote’s some-more considerable cuts.

Photo: Melissa Hom

Kim and Shim grew adult on a home cooking of a Korean peninsula’s north, where a gusto for feverishness is somewhat some-more pale than it is in a south, that means dishes like kimchee meal (laden with pieces of pig belly), and a noodle-rich Jan-chi Somyum (flavored with anchovies) have a some-more layered, umami-rich peculiarity to them. The many elaborate of a non-barbecue dishes is a alloy origination called Kimchi Wagyu “Paella” (threaded with nuggets of crunchy radish “kkakdooki” kimchee), yet a one I’ll be grouping again is a exemplary rice-and-beef dolsot bibimbap, served, according to time-honored custom, in a sizzling lava-stone play with a boiled egg on top.

It is probable to splash like a normal steakhouse high drum during Cote, even yet a dining room was not filled with a common collection of fat cats and big-money whales on a evenings we visited. Beverage executive Victoria James has gathered an considerable list of prize bottles (the list of Premier and Grand Cru Burgundies fills 6 pages; there are dozens of Champagne options), and if we have a resources, we can also suffer a accumulation of intemperate off-menu cuts alongside those goblets of booze (ask for a 90-day-aged porterhouse).

One final place where Cote dramatically improves on a customary steakhouse regulation is dessert. The list is mercifully abbreviated, and includes lovely cubes of watermelon stranded with bamboo toothpicks, alongside small twirls of vanilla soothing offer that get dribbled with pickled caramel sauce, served in a little porcelain cup.

16 W. 22nd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-401-7986;

Ideal Meal: The Butcher’s Feast if you’re in a group, a cooking short-rib “galbi” or dolsot bibimbap if dining alone.
Note: Daiquiri lovers should representation a “Seoul Side,” done with soju, instead of rum, and a lurch of sherry.
Scratchpad: One star for a inventive concept, and another dual for a some-more or reduction exquisite execution.

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