“My favorite way of getting together is over Korean barbecue,” says restaurateur Simon Kim. “Instead of breaking bread, you break steak together.”
Although he’s made his name in fine dining with New York's Piora, Kim is a bit obsessed with Korean barbecue. He knows its history in the U.S., starting from entrepreneurial first-generation Korean immigrants opening laundromats or barbecue spots, if they could cook. “It was more of a survival method,” he says. “No one thought to innovate because it was making money.” He realizes the term “Korean barbecue” isn’t quite correct for this soju- and Hite-beer-fueled grill-your-own-adventure. “In Korean, it’s called kogi jip, which translates directly to ‘meat house,” Kim says. And for the past 8 years, he’s been working on his own Korean steakhouse—a more accurate term—which is opening its doors today.
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Cote, named after the Korean word for “flower” but in this case refers to the Korean term for a fat-rippled, well-marbled cut of meat, is Kim’s take on Korean barbecue but with the showy, special-occasion service flairs—and fraternal conviviality—of an American steakhouse. And he’s pulling all the stops.