Jungsik, the high-end Korean restaurant in Tribeca’s old Chanterelle space, has kept its word and now offers a la carte dining. Previously, guests were required to choose from a prix-fixe menu that ranged from $80 for three courses to $115 for five courses. Dishes on the new a la carte menu range from $12-$42, per Jungsik’s website.
The longer 10-course tasting, a recent addition to the Jungsik experience, remains in place, though that menu is now $155, a $5 hike from the previous price point. The tasting is available with wine pairings for $260, or $335 after tax & 20% tip. Recall that Tribeca’s Atera offers a 20-course tasting menu of excellent, avant-garde Oregon food for $150, or $240 with wine. Things are getting pricey down near the Financial District!
Yes, Jungsik is still New York’s most expensive Korean establishment, but the addition of the a la carte option makes the venue entirely more accessible. If you order five courses under the new scheme, which previously cost $115, you might spend as little as $93 or as much as $113. That’s right folks. It’s a PRICE DROP.
I awarded Jungsik two stars in my Bloomberg News column. Then a few days later in a Price Hike post, I wrote that "the half-year old [Jungsik] should start offering its menu a la carte, to boost the bar crowd (because there is none) and to give guests more economic and culinary flexibility as the kitchen works out its kinks."
Or as Pete Wells of the New York Times wrote in his positive two-star review: “I wish more New Yorkers would give the place a chance. I also wish the place would give more New Yorkers a chance. Friendlier prices and a more comfortable tone would be a start if the restaurant, an import from Seoul, wants to adapt to its new environment.”
Put more simply, Jungsik made the right move here. Rather than returning for a three-hour tasting, I’m looking forward to sitting at the bar and ordering a $17 bowl of kalguksu. It’s more or less a South Korean version of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, except this kalguksu is spicier and fishier and infinitely more garlicky and awesome than anything in a can. I’ll go even further: Jungsik’s soup is one of the better dishes I’ve tried in recent memory. So hopefully this is all a step in the right direction for this expensive Asian-import.
As always, we ask our fine readers for the final word. Is Jungsik’s new a la carte menu (or $155 tasting) a BUY HOLD OR SELL? Your call, world.(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jason Cho of The Insatiable Palate for tipping us off about Jungsik’s move to a la carte pricing).