Korean Fusion Restaurant Zusik Opens in West Village
Zusik is a new restaurant in the West Village, showcasing an array of traditional and Korean fusion dishes. The restaurant is helmed by Executive Chef/Co-Owner Yurum Nam, whose menu is inspired by his homeland of South Korea. Chef Nam brings with him over a decade of restaurant experience, having explored the cuisines of the world throughout his career. He aims to inspire and intrigue diners with classic Korean dishes and new unique fusion spins with nods to France, Italy and the U.S.
Chef Nam grew up in Korea watching his mother cook in the kitchen and from a young age knew that the culinary world was where he belonged. In Korea, he worked at numerous restaurants and completed his degree in Hotel Cuisine at the Korea Tourism School, putting those skills to good use at the Riviera Hotel in Seoul and the Intercontinental Hotel in Dallas. Before moving to the states permanently, Chef Nam served as the chef and kitchen manager and opened the restaurant Naeng Go Mal Lee in South Korea. Once he arrived in the United States, he wanted to further his culinary education and earned his degrees in culinary arts and culinary arts management at The Culinary Institute of America. Throughout his career Nam has worked throughout Manhattan at notable locations including The Modern and Gramercy Tavern.
Chef Nam has been recognized with a number of accolades including receiving the Bronze Award at the Germany International Culinary Competition (IKA), crafting a menu with Korean dishes and ingredients while using French cooking methods and the Gold Award in hot dishes at the Seoul International Culinary Competition.
At Zusik guests will find homemade traditional dishes on the lunch menu, while the dinner menu highlights fusion preparations, influenced by France, Italy, America and beyond. The menu opens with Beef Rolls, expertly seared, stuffed with onion and mushrooms, and served with a house made lemon garlic soy sauce; Pork Buns, a recipe Chef Nam has been perfecting for over five years is made with soy glazed pork belly, pickled vegetables with a bean paste aioli; light and fluffy pan fried pancakes with options such as kimchi and seafood made with shrimp, calamari and vegetables, both served with homemade mayo and sweet soy sauce; Spicy Rice Cakes served with a secret spicy sauce made with ten different ingredients; Beef Tartar with an egg yolk jelly, lemon confit and pomegranate reduction; and an adventurous Korean meets Chinese Jelly Pork, which can’t be found anywhere else in the city and is made from pork belly and skin, paired with a flavorful cilantro salad. Chicken Wings are a masterful melding between Korean and American fried chicken, served with pickled radish.
The Mackerel dish is char broiled for a crispy finish and served with a wasabi pico de gayo; the Pork Belly is not to be missed with an in-depth over 24 hour preparation, where the belly is braised for three hours, then let to sit for a day then fried the next day and finished in the oven. The pork belly is served with a kimchi salad and soy bean paste sauce. A French influenced Seafood Stew is spotlighted with a light and spicy cream clam broth, little neck clams, shrimp, calamari and assorted vegetables topped with a house made chili oil. Beef Ramen Pasta is spotlighted with sautéed beef brisket, vegetables, beef chili tomato sauce and pecorino Romano cheese. Their signature salad features spring greens, tomato, onion, cucumber, walnut, queso fresco, all dressed in a tangy and subtly sweet house made pomegranate vinaigrette.
Chef Nam plates up more traditional staples for lunch with Gui, pan fried or grilled dishes, with selections such as Galbi, pan seared and marinated beef short rib, and Bulgogi, sautéed, marinated thinly slicked beef. A selection of Dolsot rice dishes are served with choices like Bibimbap, seasoned ground beef with assorted vegetables and Al bap with fish roe, kimchi, pickled radish and seaweed. Authentic Korean stews known as Jjigae are highlighted including Boodae, a traditional dish served in the army barracks featuring dashi broth, kimchi and assorted sausages including spam. Haemul Kal Gook Soo is their authentic Korean soup with a light seafood-based broth, thick cut noodles and vegetables. All the lunch items are served with ban sang sides that rotate daily with selections such as kimchi, stir fried fishcakes, soy glazed potatoes and more.
Brunch is also offered at Zusik with selections including the very traditional dish Juk, rice porridge with chicken breast, assorted vegetables and pine nuts; the Korean Breakfast Sandwich, a popular Korean street food that has been refined with fried egg, ham and cabbage on a toasted brioche bun with smoked ketchup and fruit dressing; the Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken thighs and kimchi coleslaw on a brioche bun; Eggs Benedict with poached eggs, salmon and spinach, topped with a white soy hollandaise sauce on a steam bun; and Korean rice wine flavored pancakes with strawberry compote.
The cocktail menu features Korean-influenced sips with their mixers made in-house. Highlights include the Summer Sky, a sparkling blue libation with soju and yuzu extract; Ginger Pom Mojito, gin and freshly muddled ginger and pomegranate; Fire Obsession tequila, mezcal, plum syrup and lime with a spiced rim; and Yuzu Bees Knees with gin, egg whites, yuzu extract served in a martini glass. They also have a selection of soju, draft and bottle beer as well as a curated international wine list.
Brunch cocktails come in the form of mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Rossini, made with house made strawberry syrup and champagne.
The dessert menu is seasonal and rotates frequently with selections including a decadent and creamy Matcha Cheesecake.
The space is open and inviting with wooden and black tables, chairs and banquettes, and a beautiful bar at the front of the dining room with French doors opening to the street. Throughout the restaurant guests will find different Korean accents such as fans and bowls, which are placed on shelves above. Traditional Korean plateware as well as wooden utensils are used with each dish to create a more authentic experience.