One of New York City’s biggest restaurant openings of 2016 was a place called Atoboy in the Nomad neighborhood. Founded by husband and wife team Junghyun and Ellia Park, the sleek, almost cavernous space has a Blade Runner feel to it, and in this episode of K-Town, host Matthew Kang tries to unpack what exactly a “modern Korean restaurant” looks, feels, and tastes like.
Korean cuisine can often be stuck in its ways. The traditional methods and techniques are so time-honored that it’s sometimes difficult to make any progression. This kind of thinking plagues the restaurant scene in Los Angeles: myriad traditional Korean restaurants abound, but it’s nearly impossible to find anywhere in LA trying to rethink the cuisine.
In New York City, modern Korean food is flourishing thanks to chefs who apply their culinary backgrounds — often in classical or non-Korean restaurants — to Korean dishes and ingredients. The result is a place like Atoboy, which offers a “banchan” tasting menu for just $40 a person, making it one of the most affordable forays into modern Korean cuisine.