The Citiblog

Royal Korean Traditions Come Alive at Beut in Midtown
March 31, 2024, 5:00.38 pm ET


Photos: Byungsuk Yoo

Take an immersive journey into the history and traditions of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) at Beut, a new restaurant by Pastry Chef/Owner Sarah Kang (Joomak Banjum, Konbini) located on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue between 31st and 32nd Street.

Korean Royal Court Cuisine is characterized by its exquisite presentation, delicate flavors, and emphasis on seasonal ingredients. It reflects centuries of royal tradition, incorporating a range of cooking techniques that create a harmony of flavors and textures.

Beut’s 8-course tasting menu (priced at $125 per person) is led by Executive Chef Sang Hoon Jeong (Hwaban, Antoya). The menu reflects the opulent nature of the past rulers of the Korean peninsula and is grounded in Korean flavors, ingredients, and techniques; however, chef Hoon puts a modern twist on his cuisine by incorporating his experiences in French and Scandinavian kitchens.

To begin the meal, guests are served two amuse bouches, Pickled Tomatoes, a riff on a classic shared Korean childhood treat of tomatoes sprinkled with sugar; and Sool Bbang, makgeolli bread with Hokkaido uni and persimmon, inspired by ‘Sool Dduk’ (makgeolli rice cake). The 8-course procession then begins:

• Mul Hwe – a raw fish course inspired by the people of Jeju Island (where Kang’s dad is from) with bang’eo (yellowtail), white kimchi, and Ssamjang.

• Sinseollo – an elaborate hot pot indicative of Korean Royal Court cuisine, served with a colorful melange of vegetables, scallop mandoo, beef consommé, fish cake, and yukjeon (pan-fried beef & egg). It is believed this dish creates harmony and longevity in life.

• Abalone – charred abalone in mieum (rice porridge) with Osetra caviar (supplement) and perilla.

• Lobster – this course nods to the Korean tradition of no-waste, featuring a broth made from shellfish bodies, charred lobster tail, and a lobster pate made from the offals

•Duck – seven day dry-aged duck roasted and infused with jujubee, star anise, and licorice root with chestnut puree and Kabocha squash.

•Wagyu Ribeye (+$35 per person) – this celebratory course is inspired by Korean barbeque featuring American wagyu, served with fermented soybean jus, fermented beets, and chrysanthemum.

• Sotbap – this quintessential Korean soul food features rice cooked in cast iron, served with seasonal fish, siraegi (dried young radish) soup, and banchan (Uni supplement available).

• Daechu Cha Sorbet – jujube tea sorbet with pine nut and pickled ginger tuile.

• Ginseng Pavlova – coffee pavlova with ginseng mousse and makgeolli sorbet.

Head Sommelier Jirka Jireh (Ordinaire, Olmsted) curates the beverage with natural wines and a variety of Korean soju, makgeolli, and chungju designed to complement the meal. Jirka has been featured on Netflix’s “Mind of a Chef” and also co-founded and runs Industry Sessions, which offers wine and education through a virtual platform for BIPOC wine industry professionals in 13+ cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Beut features a variety of seating options including a 36-seat dining room, a 12-person Private Dining Room, and a 10-seat bar. The interior design is laden with natural wood, boasting a serene yet modern setting. It’s complemented by soft gray toned walls and globe pendant lights. The team also sourced special servingware from Korea, including traditional Korean brass sinseollo vessels, cast iron sotbap pots, and cutlery.