We haven’t had many new experiences in quarantine (unless you count the time we stared out of my window for two hours straight), which is why our meal from Naemo felt like such a breath of fresh air. Korean American restaurant vets Ki Kim and Arnold Byun (who’ve worked at high-profile NYC restaurants such as Blanca and Eleven Madison Park have returned to their California roots to launch a new pop-up pairing Korean flavors, farmer’s market produce, and fine-dining techniques. In a recent collaboration with Hanchic, a new Ktown restaurant featuring “Korean food like no other,” we received beautiful boxes wrapped in a sort of gauze-y cloak, which contained everything from seasonal mussel bibimbap to grilled mackerel resting on smokey confit mushrooms, and a raw flounder dish dressed in a bright and tangy gochujang vinaigrette. It’s Korean food, clearly - the tastes and the flavors are nostalgically familiar - but made with a unique twist. It’s an experience that’s new, exciting, and completely novel. Like the time we dissociated for hours in front of my window, but in a good way.
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