Korean-born, Dubai-raised and NYC-based sous chef Yong Shin was raised with a voracious appetite for both food and life. As a partner in rockin’ Korean-BBQ-karaoke starlet Insa Brooklyn, Yong is a champion of supporting fellow local establishments and producers; away from the kitchen, he can be found exploring New York’s diverse culinary landscape. Here are a few of Yong’s local favourites.
A characterful natural wine bar in the Lower East Side with a simple tapas menu and $1 oyster happy hour on weekdays. They have a serious wine list and it’s pretty much always lively in the evenings; I love the simplicity of their offerings and lack of pretention. It could be any old chill wine bar in Paris but yet, it’s in Manhattan.
247 Broome St, LES tenbellsnyc.com
This hole in the wall focuses on the Vietnamese chicken pho (pho ga) as opposed to the more popular beef pho. There’s a limited menu, of only four variations of rice noodles and chicken, my favourite is the pho chicken noodle salad with the broth on the side and extra garlic and bird’s eye chilli in fish sauce.
70 Forsyth St, @bepganyc
This is my safe haven located in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuyvesant. I love how owners Kris and Jay have created a vibe for the space, with amazing service, food and a killer beverage list. Kris’ wine descriptions are a joy to read; Jay’s chicken and rice is soul comforting. I like to go solo and saddle up at the bar – sometimes, you just need alone time to reflect, try out a new drink, and make unpredictable decisions.
1038 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn fancynancybk.com
A cosy wooden Italian neighbourhood restaurant in Boerum Hill that’s open all day for brekkie, lunch and dinner – though I usually go with friends for dinner. This is simple Italian executed very well; I’m always designated to order; I always go for the meat and pickle antipasti with their dope focaccia, a salad and/or crudo, pasta, all of their contorni (because they’re that good) and an entree to share. Start with a Negroni and complement the meal with a chilled, light red, which matches so well with Italian fare – actually any fare for that matter! Also, Chef Patrick makes da bomb Amaro, so do ask if they have any to taste.
190 Dean St, Brooklyn, rucolabrooklyn.com
My pals Alicia, Buzz and Kate run an unassuming bar and grill on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and make hands down the best burgers. Simple grass-fed meat, grilled on the wood fire with melted gruyere, buttered toasted sesame bun and a smudge of mayo with pickles and fries. Their onion rings are also epic – served with horseradish crème fraîche – the pickled eggs and hot kale dip are also winners. For drinks, order the Frontier Medicine, made with Mexican amaro and salted tonic – it’s spot on.
295 Flatbush Ave, rosesbklyn.com
Chefs Clare and Jessie make beautiful, simple food that I want to eat every day. As River Cafe alums, they have carried the ethos and style of the London kitchen across the pond, with Mediterranean, Provencal and Italian leaning menus that change frequently – though you can always find classics like their Carta di Musica and Panisse. Summertime is the best time to go when the sun’s out and the nearby market is flourishing with beautiful produce.
18 King St, kingrestaurant.nyc
Union Square Greenmarket / Saturday Market at Grand Army Plaza
Support your local farmers! Any time I’m in Manhattan, I’ll hit up Union Square Greenmarket (if it’s open) to see what’s in season and shop for groceries. Otherwise, I’ll always go to the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza every Saturday on my way to work.
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