The chef and co owner of The Good fork in red hook explains her unique hybrid Korean/continental approach, and cooks us a dinner ready steak and eggs to die for
by Sohui Kim
When my husband Ben and I opened The Good Fork in March of 2006, in a far flung corner of Red Hook two miles from the nearest subway station, we had no publicist, no corporate advisors, no money left in the bank, and only a vague idea of how to run a restaurant. I had been cooking in professional kitchens for many years, but hadn’t run one of my own yet.
Our opening menu didn’t follow any particular trend or style. It was a collection of ideas and flavors that made its way from my early childhood in Korea, to my upbringing in the Bronx, to my time in some of the finest kitchens in New York, to the plate, and into our bellies. It might not have been proper Korean or French or American or Italian, but it tasted really good, and was what Ben and I liked to eat. A style emerged traditional dishes highlighted by a global pantry…classics, with just enough of a twist to make them new again.
I knew well before we opened The Good Fork that I wanted to cook globally inspired cuisine, not exotic or eclectic, just flavorful. It’s how I cook at home: I would add a dab of Chinese fermented black beans to my gravy when I roasted a chicken (a trick I learned from Chanterelle, Maxim’s, and Mirezi kitchen veteran Anita Lo) or kimchi to my steak and eggs. Ultimately I merged everything I’ve learned about French and Italian technique for my day job as a cook the American classics I’d come to love and the Korean cooking that’s in my bones.
Most of my friends and family told me I was crazy to put Asian dumplings and wild boar ragu on the same menu, but I knew it could work. Even though a lot of what I do seems like common sense now, playing around with culinary traditions and blending borders wasn’t the norm at that time, even in New York. But my life hadn’t been the norm, either.
⅓ Cup mirin (a type of rice wine similar to sake)
¼ cup grated apple
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sliced scallion, white part only
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar
1½ to 2 pounds skirt Steak
KIMCHI FRIED RICE INGREDIENTS
2 cups uncooked sushi rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt3 tablespoons canola oil
1¾ cups kimchi, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
4 large eggs
Thinly sliced scallions (optional)
1. Make the steak: The day before serving, choose a large zip top freezer bag or glass baking dish just large enough to hold the steak so the marinade covers it completely. Combine the mirin, apple, soy sauce, scal lion, gochujang, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, and honey. Cut steak into even portions, add it to the marinade, then cover or seal and marinate the meat, refrigerated, overnight.
2. Make the sushi rice: For best results, make it a day or two ahead. If you’re not using a rice cooker, rinse the rice and place it in a 2 quart saucepan with 1½ cups water and salt. (If your hand is resting on top of the rice, the water should just cover your fingers. This is my grandmother’s trick, which I have passed on to all of my cooks.)
3. Cover the pot tightly and bring water to a boil. Turn the heat to as low as it can go without it being off, and cook for 18 minutes without lifting the lid. Turn the heat to high for a minute without lifting the lid, then turn off heat and let the pot sit, covered, for five more minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice, and set it aside or refrigerate until you make the steak and eggs. (You should have about four cups.)
4. Make the kimchi rice: In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm two table spoons of canola oil. Add the kimchi, vinegar, and sugar and cook until the kimchi is heated through and softens slightly (about three minutes). Fold in the cooked rice and set aside while you cook the steak.
5. Cook the steak: Heat a grill to medium high heat or preheat the broiler. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak and your temperature preference. My ideal is to cook it for a few minutes on each side, just until the outside is slightly charred but the inside is still pink. Drain off the marinade and set the steak pieces on the hot grill or on a broiler pan once it’s done to your liking. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then cut it into thin slices on the diagonal against the grain.
6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat and fry the eggs sunny side up. When they’re done, place a large scoop of kimchi rice on each plate, then top each mound with an equal number of steak slices per plate and one of the eggs. Garnish with sliced scallions (if using).
RED HOOK WINERY MACARI VINEYARD MERLOT
Red Hook Winery owner Mark Snyder started his business in 2008 to “bridge the gap between New York City and the local growing community,” and the results are impressive. Among the highest priced wines from the North Fork of Long Island, this is a lovely, Napa styled Merlot. Excellent structure, big red and dark fruit flavors, but with soft tannins. It will cut the steak flavor, but not compete with it.
391 Van Brunt Street / 718.643.6636 / goodfork.com