When the Korean House opened at the beginning of the year, Downtown Asheville got an exciting new culinary offering. Chef Kristina Im had already established her talent at Stonebowl in south Asheville. The other half of the sibling team, Jayson Im, is flexing his own skills in the front of the house. As a slowly reforming picky eater I was a little timid about trying out the restaurant, but after meeting with Jayson and seeing the restaurant I knew I had to try it.
There is a level of care for food quality and community that draws people to Asheville. Friendly and welcoming, the Korean House signed up for Blue Ridge Biofuels' used cooking oil collection service right away. More than the fair rate or quality service, they were just happy to be recycling with their local used cooking oil collection provider.My companion and I went for lunch. We were greeted warmly by Kristina and Jayson, who showed us to our seats. Their use of wood and natural light, with low artificial lighting, creates a calming ambiance. We started with miso soup. It’s simple but I think there is something beautiful about the way dimly lit cloudy miso looks in a dark bowl. I had the grilled salmon lunch box. All of their lunch boxes come with the soup of the day, 3 side dishes, 2 pieces of kimbab, 2 vegetable dumplings, and rice – at a beyond reasonable price. I really enjoyed the grilled salmon, again a simple dish and not too exotic, but it was prepared and presented perfectly. The sides required tapping my sense of adventure and I’m glad I did. The marinated mung bean sprouts and cucumbers were just the right amount of sweet and spicy. The sweet marinated tofu and potatoes were surprising and delicious, and the fried dumplings and kimbab were perfect. My guest went for the Bulgogi Stonebowl, and as soon as I saw it I knew why they’d become so popular. It came out sizzling and smelling fantastic. Chef Jayson demonstrated his technique for folding the ingredients into each other in just the right way. My friend also had the kimchi, which he assured me was just as delicious as the stonebowl.
They hit some snags before opening and weren’t able to bring their complete vision to life, but what they’ve created is beautiful and you can expect more exciting concepts to unfold in the future. I strongly recommend giving them a try and thanking them for their contribution to the restaurant community and local fuel economy!
By Alisha Goodman, Client Services Manager