Our restaurant reviewer, Jeff Harris, flipped out a couple weeks ago over Persimmon, the new--and Korean--answer to Momofuku (that's partially because the chef, Youngsun Lee, used to work there). Jeff gave it five stars, called it a "revelatory" "Korean odyssey," and encouraged everyone to visit while the prices are still so low (5-course prix fixe for $37!) and the drinks BYOB (this review might get fuzzy by the end because I was drunk).
So last night I went, and it was unbelievable. Thank you, Jeff. It's so good it feels like a trick. The space is small--an unprissy little room with one long communal table, set with multicolor autumnal tablecloths, laid with silver chopsticks and spoons. We brought a ridiculous, ridiculous amount of beer and wine. For the first three courses, you choose among a handful of options. For instance, my dinner was:
Fluke sashimi salada (a mountain of spicy and extraordinarily fresh fluke, adorned with dabs of sauces)I probably ate enough sodium for the next several weeks. Grand total for all of this: $48 (including tip), plus the cost of your own wine. I recommend Jeff's review (link above), because my restaurant reviews invariably tend toward the "you guys, it was so good," but you guys, it was so good.
Baby Octopus with Baby Bok Choy (so good)
Kimchi Stew with Pork Shoulder (or mushrooms--I got mushrooms)
Rice porridge with oyster and fish sauces (hard to explain, but you get a bowl of lukewarm, um, gruel, which you flavor with dollops of fish-intestine sauce)
Rice milk (pale, sweet, unlike anything I've ever had)
Korean cookies (gorgeous little bricks of sesame seed cookies)
All complimented by an assortment of tiny, free dishes, the most delicious of which was the pickled garlic--just individual garlic cloves, pickled, but the process changed the garlic's flavor utterly. Almost nutty. So incredibly good.