The idea that tasting menus are typically hours-long, showy, and cost a fortune is far from the norm at this shoebox of a spot. While the vibe inside is boisterous, the crowds are happy, chatty, and clearly delighted to be here. Service is friendly and rather like a well-oiled machine, churning out courses that come out like clockwork.
The main dining room is arranged with walnut tables, gray leather chairs and brass globe light fixtures. However, the open kitchen—with its black-tile backsplash and granite countertop—is the obvious centerpiece. From here, a young team blitzes out an array of impressive grilled and skewered bites, meant to be eaten with your hands—Kochi is Korean for skewer, after all.
Kudos to Chef Sungchul Shim, who taps into his Korean roots and fine-dining pedigree to create a solid but playful and technically proficient menu. Start with pine nut- and potato milk-soup, or sweet potato-and-sunchoke gratin, paired with a clever doenjang béchamel. Salmon bibimbap mingles pollock roe, candied anchovy, and toasted nori with brown soy-butter rice for a harmonious high point. The final hurrah? A stick of rich and nutty black sesame ice cream. Worth the splurge, you ask? Without a doubt.