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Almost three years after they captured the city's (and country's) attention with their quirky BYO Ruxbin, chef Edward Kim and crew (Vicki Kim, Jenny Kim and Nate Chung) are gearing up to open their second restaurant, Mott St, tomorrow.
As we've written about before, Mott St is Ruxbin's Night Market–inspired, more casual sibling. "It has the same spirit and soul as Ruxbin," says Vicki Kim, "but the food will be more simple, more rustic in preparation." Instead of Ruxbin's traditional appetizer-entrée-dessert format, Mott St's dishes are meant to be sharable and approachable: "It's more just: Have at it," says Kim. "It's very visceral; you can just go at it with your hands. The environment is meant to be a place where you can just nosh."
And some of the things you might be noshing on are: stuffed cabbage ("You can think of it like a kimchi lasagna") with pork butt and sticky rice; whiskey-marinated pork neck with nam jim jaew, a Thai–Vietnamese–influenced sauce with tiny shrimp, lime and cilantro; crispy "Everything" wings glazed with soy and tossed with sesame and poppy seeds; steamed dumplings stuffed with pork, ginger and green onions; udon noodles tossed with spicy marinated cod roe; and crab-brain fried rice with Chinese sausage.
In contrast to Ruxbin's hyper-designed space, Mott St is "definitely DIY," says Kim. With most of their resources caught up in infrastructure, the team got resourceful with the remaining budget, sourcing chairs and tables from everywhere from Salvage One to Craigslist. The resulting look is "utilitarian," says Kim, with 64 indoor seats—10 at the bar and the rest at big, long communal tables—and 40 outdoor ones.
The outdoor area will launch serving drinks only, with food following soon. Which brings us to one of the key differences between Mott St and Ruxbin: alcohol. The crew brought on Chad Hauge, formerly of Longman & Eagle, to oversee the beverage menu, which Kim explains is "meant to go with the food, but also with the seasons." As such, selections—wine, cocktails, sake, beer—are categorized with terms like "Daily," "Seasonal" and "Always." Cocktails range from the "Storm in Spring" (a cucumber-grapefruit-ginger ode to this year's "funky" weather) to the "Extra Mart," which plays on the briny flavor of a dirty martini by incorporating water kimchi. Cheers!
Mott St (1401 N Ashland Ave, 312-200-0000) opens to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, and will be open Tuesday–Saturday from 5:30–10pm.
RECOMMENDED: photo preview of Mott St