For Chef Esther Choi, her food is her life. Literally.
Choi, owner and chef at the Chelsea Market Korean ramen shop Mokbar opened a Brooklyn location of the restaurant last Wednesday. And she lives right upstairs.
“I wanted to babysit!” she said.
For a chef whose cooking is heavily inspired by her family and cultural heritage, it makes sense that her home and work life are so entwined.
At Mokbar Brooklyn, which is on Flatbush Avenue near Bergen Street, Choi wanted to show “how I eat at home and how I grew up eating. How my grandma cooked for me everyday.” To that end, the menu expands greatly on the Chelsea Market location with larger dishes and a focus on jipbap–“real, traditional Korean cooking,” she said.
A jipbap order consists of a main dish, usually a protein like short ribs or pork belly, accompanied by soup, rice and a variety of banchan–small, seasonal, vegetable dishes.
“We bring it out in a big tray,” said Choi, excitedly discussing the format of the meal, which she emphasized was created with non-Korean diners in mind. “On the tray we have soup, rice, mains and seasonal small plates that wrap it all together.” (more…)
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