Simon Kim, owner of Michelin-starred Piora in the West Village, has used that team to focus on beverages and points of service at the newly opened Cote in the Flatiron. But this restaurant — a Korean steakhouse serving chophouse classics, dry-aged beef, and dishes like bibimbap — is his baby.
“I’ve always wanted to do a Korean thing. As a Korean with a Korean chef, I don’t need to look elsewhere at what other people are doing. I just need to look at what my grandparents used to do and take it from within,” Kim says.
Cote isn’t a barbecue restaurant so much as it’s a Korean steakhouse. “How we source our beef is a very big focus,” he says. A barbecue restaurant isn’t as high end when it comes to ingredients and sourcing.
Not too far from this opening, expect Cote, part two — a lower-key, lower-level lounge to debut later this summer, after the restaurant has its groove. Undercote will be marked by red lighting, bumping music, and cocktails. “It’s our playground, so chef will get really fun and go gonzo with all the meat. It will be like Korean street food on steroids,” Kim says.
Steering the kitchen for both menus is David Shim, a former M. Wells chef who turned Kim down three times before eventually joining the project, thinking it was “too good to be true.” He was also at French temple L’Atelier de Robuchon, high-end Korean barbecue Kristalbelli, and New American restaurant Veritas before M. Wells.
Shim oversees a dry-aging room downstairs with meat from DeBragga and other local vendors. The large menu looks like one from an American steakhouse, with traditional steak tartare and shrimp cocktail appetizers, meats sold by the cut, and an array of side dishes — but look closer, and that shrimp cocktail has a gochujang tartar sauce and those meats are accompanied by banchan and kimchi stew.
The prize order here is the butcher’s feast, which, priced at $45 per person, comes with four cuts of meat, banchan, salads, egg souffle, two stews, and soft serve.
“At an American steakhouse, you get an appetizer, meat, and a dessert. It’s a progression. Whereas Koreans, we like to eat something even more savory and saucy after the meat,” Kim explains. “It just takes it to the next level, and then we finish with ice cream.”
For now, Cote is open Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and until 12 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.