Magazine article The New Yorker

Kori

Magazine article The New Yorker

Kori

Article excerpt

253 Church St. (212-334-0908)--Somewhere between the spa seriousness of Korean restaurants like Clay, on Mott Street, and the steamy family-style informality of the brazier joints in the garment district lies Kori (the name means "link"), a serene and playful Tribeca restaurant where Martinis are made with slippery soju (sweet-potato vodka) and the traditional bulgogi beef barbecue arrives pre-grilled and crunchy with toasted pine nuts. The decor slyly taps into both Asian and Western ironies. The bar is a glass-topped rock garden and underneath its surface--beneath the ginger kamikazes and sojutinis--moss grows among smooth black stones and collages that look like Dadaist beer mats. One reads: "The gods get bored with people who have no stories."

Kori's chef and owner, Hyanghwa Kim, a former stage actress in Seoul, resists the fusion label, although her cuisine does strive for a truce between North and South Korea. "My family-in-law is very conservative, and I married the oldest son, so as his wife, I had to cook for all the family members, sometimes thirty people," she says. …

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