We move out of Park Slope and a Korean restaurant finally moves in
When I lived in Park Slope, I dreamed about the day that a nice bakery or Korean restaurant would finally open in our neighborhood. It was just my luck that both moved in when Dan and I were on our way to Clinton Hill!
The Korean place I refer to is Moim, a very modernly designed restaurant housed on the ground floor of a Garfield Place brownstone. Moim, which means gathering in Korean, is owned by a Park Slope family who in 1991 made the real estate decision we all wish we had. They purchased a full brownstone for less than the price of what a 500-600 square foot 1-BR apartment in the same area goes for these days.
Dan and I got to Moim a little early so we sat at the bar and had a drink. I was delighted to see they had Hite on tap. Hite is a Korean lager that's not really great, but I love it nonetheless. It's pretty similar to OB, which is like the Bud of Korea. Anyway, Hite reminds me of being in Korea last summer with my best guy. Christy and Carl arrived and we were seated at a table towards the back of the restaurant. We noticed a lovely, renovated outdoor space that was empty and pondered its function.
I had read that banchan was not really served here (a big pet peeve of mine with newer, more Westernized Korean restaurant) so I suggested we order the namul (seasoned vegetable) trio to start. But we did get served a trio of house banchan, so more to eat for everyone. There were little black beans (콩) in a sweet, sticky soy glaze, a favorite from my childhood, some kimchi, marinated beansprouts and tangy shreds of snow-white radish.
The rest of our meal was highlighted by how many dishes with kimchi we could order. To start we shared the stir-fried kimchi with pork and tofu, and the kimchi dumplings stuffed with our favorite fermented spicy cabbage and even more ground pork and tofu. The dumplings came five to an order and we let Carl have the extra one - he was psyched!
Our entire table opted for the dolsot bibimbop, but then we decided to order a fifth entree of kimchi fried rice for everyone to share. I love fifth entrees!
The bibimbop is served very regally here, with the stone bowl sitting atop a pedestal.
I was a little wary because I had also read the bibimbop came pre-sauced and that the bowl wasn't hot enough to create the much desired rice crust at the bottom. The former turned out to be true - the kitchen places a dollop of red pepper paste atop your rice. I think this is really ill-advised. There's nothing wrong with offering it up in a side dish, where the diner can add and adjust to their desired level of spiciness. My rice was a little spicier than I normally like it to be. The latter turned out to be a false alarm - it couldn't have been further from the truth. My dolsot bibimbop created one of the best crusts I've ever had for this dish and I've had plenty in my life. There was a period when I was in my pre-teens where I probably ate this practically every Saturday or Sunday, as I accompanied my parents to dinner, or at lunch after church.
The portions are smaller than what you'd find in Koreatown so the fifth entree was a wise choice. I think the fried rice came with shrimp, but I don't remember eating any.
For desert we shared some green tea ice cream and a tangerine (or was it orange?) chocolate cake, which Christy astutely pointed out smelled just like Froot Loops!
I'm hoping this place will succeed. It's got charm, the food is good and I don't think the prices are out of line with what the rest of Park Slope charges. Moim doesn't offer a take-out option yet but they should consider it for the items on the menu that could travel ok. If I still lived in the neighborhood, I'd probably be calling in for a pick up once a week.