The Good Fork's Sohui Kim on her Best Meal of the Year, the Contents of her Refrigerator, and Favorite Restaurants
Yesterday, we caught up with chef/owner Sohui Kim about the state of The Good Fork on its fourth anniversary, and the challenges of juggling her jobs as restaurateur and executive chef with a family.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times Sohui Kim tells us her picks for pizza, sushi
Today, we talked to Kim about the contents of her refrigerator, the misbegotten origins of her famous steak and eggs Korean-style, her picks for sushi, pizza, Korean food, and ramen, and the best meal she ate all year.
What do you think of the newer restaurants in Red Hook?
This year we've had Fort Defiance, which is a fabulous addition. The owners are actually our downstairs neighbors--we love them to death.
There are a couple of boutiques across the street from Fort Defiance that have just opened: Red Lipstick, Metal and Thread, and Erie Basin, which has really awesome antique jewelry, it's a charming little place. Foxy and Winston opened this year. And the Red Hook Lobster Pound is awesome, there's Kevin's for brunch, and Tini has become Home/Made.
It's a real retail and restaurant scene that's developed, and we're all tight and support each other's businesses. We're a close community, and it's been great to see that develop.
So it's changed a lot but you know it hasn't exploded the way people said it was going to five years ago. Which is nice, because it keeps the community vibe alive.
What's an under-appreciated ingredient that you like to use?
If you talk about flavor profiles, it's acid, or a squeeze of lemon. I finish a lot of my dishes with a squeeze of lemon or lemon zest to brighten it. I feel like people get the salt, or even the sweet, but acid is always what I miss, what I'm critical of when I'm eating out, or even in my own dishes. Things need a little acid.
What's the biggest mistake you ever made?
Opening up a restaurant! [Laughs] No, that was both the greatest and the worst thing I've ever done. Well, you know, as a cook you're always learning and you make a lot of mistakes along the way. The trick is to catch the mistake and not serve it because if people eat your mistakes they won't come back.
For instance, in the beginning, with the steak and eggs dish, the concept was not a fried egg on top of the rice, it was steamed bean custard egg, kind of like chawanmushi. That was my original concept, but it didn't work. The steak and savory kimchi rice needed the extra sauce. And the custard, the steamed eggs, didn't work. So I thought: What about a fried egg? Because when you do it sunny-side up, presto, immediate extra sauce. But for the first week and a half I did it with steamed eggs.