A hidden culinary treasure has opened right under the streets of Manhattan's Herald Square.
Subway surprise: Nōksu, a Korean fine dining restaurant, opened its doors on Friday.
Located inside the subway station at 49 West 32nd Street, the unassuming 13-seat eatery promises an exclusive 12-course tasting menu experience at $225 per patron served by Chef Dae Kim. For an extra $175, guests can add on a wine pairing featuring German, Austrian and California varietals.
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Behind the name: The newly opened restaurant is co-owned by Bobby Kwak and Joseph Ko, who are known for their successful ventures Baekjeong and Sundaes Best. According to a press release, the name "Nōksu" represents a "deep and clear valley in the mountains," a nod to its underground location.
Ambiance: Guests with reservations receive a pin code that grants them entry through a nondescript black door located down one flight of stairs within the 34th St. Herald Square Subway station.
This space, once a newsstand and a barbershop, has been transformed into an elegant dining room. Blending tradition with modernity, the establishment draws inspiration from Korean ink wash paintings known as sumuk-hwa. The contrast of black-and-white counters creates a contemporary ambiance while paying homage to Korean culture.
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Gastronomic adventure: Nōksu's menu offers a twist on Korean flavors with some fusion of Chinese, Japanese and French influences. The salmon roe is served with saffron and Granny Smith apple, while the broken rice dish features matsutake mushrooms, okra and other grilled vegetables. Dessert options include a winter melon dish and dragonfruit cream sorbet.
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