After seven years in the kitchen of Daniel Boulud’s flagship institution, Daniel, it’s no surprise that chef Soogil Lim named his first solo project after himself. Tucked away in the East Village, this petite gem is packed with downtown dwellers sipping soju cocktails at a long, wooden communal table while awaiting the culinary creations of NYC’s latest in a trending class of contemporary Korean restaurants.
Lim’s refined French technique infuses with his Korean heritage for exceptional dishes that stay true to both. Delicate glass noodles laced with tender shredded vegetables are artfully twirled under a heap of beef bulgogi (you should probably order two of these). Expertly seared foie gras crowns a bed of crispy rice before getting hit with a tableside pour of soy sauce that sizzles and steams as it drips onto the red-hot cast-iron plate.
The dining spectacles trickle into dessert, with a tower made of addictively chewy fried-dough sticks arranged à la Lincoln Logs and topped cautiously with a scoop of honey-chestnut ice cream. The best thing on the menu? The price tag: Almost nothing exceeds $20.