Saturday, January 27, 2024

Bōm (New York, NY)

Bom Restaurant
17 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011
Sat 01/27/2024, 05:30p-08:35p

Bōm Exterior

If you've read my last post, you'll know that I just visited Brian Kim and Max Soh's Oiji Mi in NYC's Flatiron District. Given the strength of that meal, I was curious to check out Bōm (봄, or "spring," but also an acronym for "Back of Oiji Mi"), their even higher-end dining experience located inside a room at the back of the restaurant. The place grand-opened on January 31st last year as a tasting menu-only modern Korean spot with a distinct focus on gogigui, one that achieved a Michelin star in November. Leading the charge day-to-day is Chef de Cuisine Justin Choung, an alum of Willows Inn, Frantzen, Marea, Gunter Seeger, and Morimoto who's been here for about nine months. From what I understand, he replaced former CdC Teddy Kim (A Voce, Oiji, Le Bernardin), who's now Culinary Director (responsible for dish conceptualization) and was offered equity in the business.

Bōm Interior
Bōm continues the hanok-meets-Art Deco style we saw earlier at Oiji Mi. The space consists of an 18-seater dining counter surrounding an open kitchen, and shown above is the view from my seat, smack dab in the middle.

Bōm Menu
Pictured above is tonight's menu, which was priced at a pre-paid $275 a head (down from the initial $325 when the place first opened), plus $55 service, $24.41 tax, and a $5 Tock order fee. The wine pairing is an additional $245, while the non-alcoholic pairing costs $95, and unsurprisingly, you also can choose from Oiji Mi's full wine list (see here), which is what I did. Click for a larger version.

Bōm Place Setting
My place setting included a mulsugeon (warm towel), which was much appreciated.

Bōm Meat Presentation
Bōm Nuruk-Aged Meat
After I'd settled in, I was presented with a selection of the evening's meats. This included two types of tenderloin: 20-day wet-aged and Bōm's signature steak that's wet-aged, then dry-aged 7-10 days under a protective layer of koji and nuruk (a duet of Japanese and Korean fermentation starters), the goal of which is to intensify flavors without drying out the beef. We also see a roll of American wagyu marinated galbi from Black Hawk Farms in Kentucky, as well as a wagyu-Black Angus hybrid rib eye that'd been dry-aged in-house for 21 days using a similar method as the fillet. Optional supplements included Japanese A5 wagyu strip steak and Périgord black truffles.

Bōm Canapés
My evening commenced with a selection of canapés...

bluefin tuna
1: bluefin tuna | hudson valley foie gras, gamtae
...And this first one married fatty dices of tuna with delicate touches of foie and what I believe was bae, the seaweed "taco shell" contributing an intense, grassy savoriness to the bite.

2: baesuk | ossetra caviar, jujube, tofu
Up next was arguably my favorite of the amuse-bouches. I loved the tartlet's balance between the tofu and the juicy, fruity character of the daechu-Asian pear combo, all while the Ossetra offered up a saltiness on the back end. And curiously enough, I somehow tasted flashes of sour cream-onion dip in there.

Jerome LeFevre, Cuvée X Rated, Extra Sec, Essômes sur Marne NV
To pair with dinner, I went with the Jerome LeFevre, Cuvée X Rated, Extra Sec, Essômes sur Marne NV [$275] (bottled July 2018, disgorged January 2021), a 100% Pinot Meunier blanc de noirs made with extra initial sugar in lieu of dosage. The result of this was something quite special, and rather unlike other Champagnes I've tasted thanks to all the residual sugar. The wine smelled of sweet, aromatic, woodsy spices and honey, with a hint of oxidation. On the palate, the bubbly offered dried, candied fruits along with more honey and more oxidative elements, as well as traces of citrus and brioche. As the liquid warmed, it became even richer, even more luscious, with even more pronounced honey notes and further hints of caramel. There was just so much depth and complexity behind the sparkler's sweetness, making it one of the most memorable Champs I've had. It's a bit of a shame that a lot of people don't appreciate sweeter styles such as this.

3: gyeran | trout roe, apple
This egg salad-inspired tart showcased a delightful sweetness from the apple, accented by pops of finger lime, while the finish had this lingering, nearly foie-like earthiness that surprised me.

Finger Towel
I was provided a lemon-ginger-scented towel given the finger food nature of the items above.

spot prawn
4: spot prawn | finger lime, dotorimuk
Imbued with a wonderful smokiness, the spot prawn crudo was another highlight. I loved the brightness and acidity from the tomato vinaigrette, while the acorn jelly served as a great textural element.

Bōm Grill
Bōm Grill (Uncovered)
Despite what I thought initially, the grills here do not utilize sutbul, but are in fact electric, and come from Japan. They also feature a very effective built-in ventilation system, so I never had to worry about my clothing smelling of KBBQ.

baek kimchi ssam
5: baek kimchi ssam | tiger prawn, wagyu, octopus
This Korean royal court cuisine-inspired course was certainly another highlight. I reveled in the amalgam of savory, sweet, and saline flavors in the bite, brightened up by a mintiness from what I assume must be perilla. The zippiness of the white kimchi broth, meanwhile, served as the perfect finishing touch. A triumph.

norwegian king crab
6: norwegian king crab | gyeran jjim, anchovy
I knew upon my first slurp that this was the best gyeranjjim I'd ever had. The saline-sweetness of the poached crab was robustly conveyed, augmented by the potency of anchovy broth while being moderated by those silky steamed eggs. The seafood was also perfectly textured, while another thing that stood out to me was the dish's wonderfully prickly, peppery undercurrent.

Filet Mignon on the Grill
Grilling Beef Tenderloin
At this point, my server proceeded to start the grilling process for a couple cuts of tenderloin. Can you tell which is the dry-aged?

7: sablefish | moo jorim, meyer lemon
Gently steamed eundaegu (a.k.a. black cod) showcased a properly buttery, flaky consistency, along with a fantastic depth, savor, and brine that was further boosted by those anchovy-braised radishes. However, the crux here was that zesty Meyer lemon-scallion-myoga condiment, which complemented the fish flawlessly.

Grilled Cuts of Beef
Here we see the filet mignons nearing completion. I'll also note that guests at Bōm do not have their own personal grill, but rather, share grills with a number of other diners. This is evinced in the photo above, as all that meat would obviously be way too much for just me.

Caviar & Uni
A peek at the accoutrements for the following course: the posh duo of Kaviari Kristal caviar and Hokkaido bafun sea urchin from producer Ogawa (浜中 小川のうに).

8: tenderloin | ossetra caviar, hokkaido sea urchin, perilla
It was now time for the evening's parade of beef to begin. Up first was a twosome of Australian filet mignon, one wet-aged, and one wet-aged then dry-aged under a layer of koji-nuruk. I started with the standard wet-aged, and found it relatively restrained taste-wise, as tenderloin tends to be. The sweet, creamy seongge was actually more potent, as was the dollop of chimichurri, which melded surprisingly well with the sea urchin roe. The other steak was an altogether different story. It was noticeably firmer to the bite, and demonstrated a greater depth and this almost funky-nutty character that really stood up to the saltiness of the caviar.

Baek Kimchi
A small serving of white kimchi functioned as a welcomed palate cleanser.

wagyu galbi
9: wagyu galbi | périgord truffle, smoked trout roe, mukeunji
Here we have what's probably the best kalbi dish I've tasted. I was impressed by how perfectly the short rib's sweetness was balanced out by components of smoke and savor. At the same time, the wasabi (or perhaps more fittingly, gochunaeng-i) and radish proffered further contrast, and I loved how that perfectly-textured seasoned rice functioned as this homey base to the dish. I could've easily eaten a bigger bowl of the stuff.

A bowl of dongchimi served as a refreshing respite from the meat.

Grilled Rib Eye
The ribeye was nearly done grilling.

Gondre Rice
A preview of the gondeure-bap (Korean thistle rice) that we'd be enjoying later.

dry-aged ribeye
10: dry-aged ribeye | celeriac, chicory muchim + black truffle [+45.00]
A duet of 21-day dry-aged rib eye and rib cap was up next. The eye ate as rich and concentrated and buttery and fatty as I was hoping for, while the cap had a milder taste, but a lusher consistency. As good as the beef was though, the gastrique-glazed sweet potato was even better thanks to how well its sugariness melded with the muskiness of those Périgord truffle shavings--it was a match made in heaven. We also had a celery root purée in the middle of it all, which lightened things up.

Geotjeori (young kimchi) incorporating radicchio, Belgian endive, persimmon, and gooseberry certainly helped even out the heft of all the beef we were having.

A5 Wagyu NY Strip (Raw, with Wasabi)
A5 Wagyu NY Strip (On the Grill)
A5 Wagyu NY Strip
Supplement: A5 Wagyu NY Strip [$85.00]
I ended up tacking on a strip steak supplement to my meal, and it did not disappoint. The beef was wonderfully fatty and tender and just as decadent as you'd want and expect, and was well accented by the restrained salinity of abalone salt (sprinkled from an actual abalone shell).

hansang charim
gondrea namul rice
moo guk
Baechu Kimchi
Crab-Cucumber Salad with Mustard Dressing
Soy-Pickled Daikon
Yangnyeom Sauce
11: hansang charim | gondrea namul rice, moo guk, banchan
The final savory course at Bōm is meant as a nod to tradition, and comprises a set of classic, comforting dishes. I began with the mildly-flavored, gondeure-enhanced rice, which had just the right "stick" to it and worked hand-in-hand with that piquant, savory condiment on the side. The bap was joined by some extra-sour six-month-aged kimchi, sweet-mustardy crab, crunchy shreds of pickled radish, and sheets of crispy, toasty seaweed. My favorite item, though, was that muguk, a super cozy radish soup enhanced by tender cuts of wagyu short rib.

12: hallabong | soju, lemon, shiso
Pre-dessert consisted of citrus sorbet and mikan jelly, set in a soju broth and what I believe was a lemon granita. Think utterly refreshing and palate-cleansing, with a minty edge.

FRANK LLOYD MIGHT [$50.00] | louis roque la vieille prune, vep yellow chartreuse, roger groult calvados pays d'auge 12 year
During my dinner at Oiji Mi the previous night, one of the bartenders recommended that I try this cocktail, so I figured it'd be something nice to end with. He knew what he was talking about, because this was pretty fantastic thanks to how harmoniously its orchard fruit, honeyed, lemon, minty, and astringent flavors all came together. Powerful, but yet oh-so elegant at the same time.

tarte tatin
13: tarte tatin | sujeonggwa, ginger
Dessert proper was this smart riff on the iconic apple tarte Tatin. I got all the rich, buttery, caramelized flavors I was looking for, but perked up by elements of sweet, pungent spice. Lovely consistency on that ginger ice cream, too.

Bōm Bag Bōm Mignardises
As a parting gift, I was given a nifty branded bag containing a box of petits fours, which I ate the following day. I started with the pâte de fruit, which showed off some deep, jammy flavors (bokbunja perhaps?). Next was the bonbon, which was thin-shelled and possessed this peanut-like character. The macaron was well-textured, with a fruity-floral, slightly vanilla-y taste. Last up was the chocolate, which ate rich and sticky, with a flowery, berry-esque sweetness.

X(O)PRESSO MARTINI [$45.00] | park xo cognac, navarre rose pineau des charentes, mr. black, espresso, truffle marshmallow
After stepping out of Bōm, I headed over to Oiji Mi's bar for one final drink. What we had was an elevated espresso martini of sorts, one that just might be the strongest rendition of the cocktail I've tried. The key was really how seamlessly forces of dark fruit, roast, smoke, and bitterness coalesced. A fitting nightcap to be sure.

The team at Bōm delivered an outstanding dinner this evening, one that was definitely a step up from what I enjoyed at Oiji Mi the previous night. The food here was more stripped down, more focused, yet simultaneously more luxurious and more opulent, and I liked how both BBQ and non-barbeque courses were mingled. But more importantly, there was this sense of honesty and sincerity to the cooking that really spoke to me. Service was also impeccable. This is my best meal of 2024 thus far, and though the year is admittedly still young, I suspect that it'll remain among my top as the months wear on.


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