On Jan. 12, Gracious Hospitality Management (GHM), the group behind Cote Korean Steakhouse, is opening its latest restaurant, Coqodaq, which will offer a fine-dining take on wildly popular Korean fried chicken. Ambitiously, the restaurant’s team also plans to build the largest Champagne program in the United States. A project four years in the making, Coqodaq is located on East 22nd Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, just down the street from Cote.
Cote has been a fixture among the city’s luxe dining destinations since opening in 2017. While envisioning the restaurant, owner Simon Kim looked to combine the tactile barbecue tradition of Korea with the glitz of New York’s famous steak houses: Using the grill at the center of each table, restaurant staff sear choice cuts of meat for guests, who also enjoy Korean banchan (side dishes) and other small plates. The Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program was built for larger groups and parties; there is a stacked list of magnums, and by-the-glass selections are poured exclusively from large-format bottles. In 2021, GHM expanded with the opening of Cote Miami, which offers a similarly impressive wine program.
Coqodaq is the group’s first concept beyond its beef powerhouse. “Simon and our chef SK [Seung Kyu Kim] came up with this concept—he wanted to do what he did for Korean barbeque [for] fried chicken,” Victoria James, GHM’s director of beverage and the author of the memoir Wine Girl, told Wine Spectator. “Fried chicken is this global, universal thing that everyone loves. But right now there isn’t that fried chicken champion in New York. We wanted to put it in the spotlight and also pay homage to Simon and SK’s roots.”[article-img-container][src=2024-01/tt-coqodaq-interior-010924_1600.jpg] [credit= (Courtesy of Coqodaq)] [alt= The dining room of Coqodaq, with low lighting, booths, and large golden arches][end: article-img-container]
Centered around eum-yang—a philosophical concept that outlines contrasting yet complementary forces in the universe—the menu is based on the balance of fried and hot chicken with palate-cleansing dishes like tangy pickles and chilled perilla seed noodles. (Over the decades, fried chicken has become ubiquitous and incredibly popular in Korea and among Korean communities in other countries; some theorize this began with American soldiers during the Korean War.) At Coqodaq, restaurant staff fill à la carte ceramic buckets with crackling, juicy pieces of Amish chicken served either plain or coated in one of two glazes: savory garlic and soy sauce or fiery-sweet gochujang. Or guests can indulge in a three-course Bucket List prix-fixe feast ($38), which includes roast chicken consommé with red ginseng, a small bucket of chicken with seasonal banchan and perilla seed noodles and, for dessert, frozen yogurt with seasonal fruit.
“People sometimes people think Korean food is so hard to pair with wine because of all the banchan and kimchi elements, which is a fair point. But historically, looking at Europe and classic wine regions, you have this contrast: In Germany you have sauerkraut and sausages. In Lyon, you have pickles and headcheese,” James explained. “You have to look for freshness in the wines, things with a lot of acidity and fruit to contrast those sour and umami notes.”
There was one clear answer for James: Champagne. To her, bubbles are great for fried food, and Champagne’s “high and soaring” acidity cuts through that richness. “It also has so many layers of complexity, so when you are making the best fried chicken, you really need a beverage that can stand up to that,” said James. “It’s also just really, really delicious.”
The focus on Champagne practically calls for a raw bar option as well, and Coqodaq delivers with a trio of tartares, East and West Coast oysters and caviar…
Source : https://www.winespectator.com/articles/coqodaq-restaurant-opens-in-new-york-with-400-champagne-wine-list