In Milan there are many Korean restaurants through which we have learned to love this gastronomic culture over all these years. It is also true, however, that the proposal is rather flat, since these places have practically the same menus. The nuances of flavor change, but the formula is always the same, as is the type of service, i.e. "family-run trattoria".
In South Korea, meanwhile, many chefs experiment and take their cuisine to a higher level of research and refinement. The time is now ripe to define the new South Korean cuisine. And so, in Milan, the first modern Korean restaurant has finally opened: Soot. The idea comes from Federico Lj Hu (in the restaurant business for years, his parents are the owners of the sumptuous Shangri La restaurant) and Seo Jang, a Korean entrepreneur. Leading the kitchen is Korean chef Kim Minseok, who boasts a prestigious starred career at Lume Milano and Seta. Their mission is to elevate Korean cuisine starting from tradition (the raw materials and the idea of the basic recipes are authentic), arriving at a fresh, modern proposal that takes into account the new South Korean taste.
The menu, as you might imagine, is decidedly interesting. I decided not to order directly, but to "let the chef do it".
To start: corn cheese (corn and béchamel, a dish of pure enjoyment that immerses you in the culture of street food), tongue aspic (with mustard sauce, very refined) and egg bomb (very delicate savory soufflé with salty kimchi and seaweed) .
As an appetizer I enjoyed P&P: soft octopus tentacle, pine nut and yuzu dressing, vegetable pickle and fennel kimchi. A very delicate dish with never invasive peaks of acidity.
With the first courses things get even more interesting. Bimbim gugksu is a cold dish of artisanal buckwheat noodles (never eaten prepared so fresh, "homemade", they have a pampering flavour), dried seaweed, marinated cucumbers, poached egg and perilla oil.
But the real workhorse, the dish that in my opinion absolutely deserves dinner at Soot, is undoubtedly some gogi sot bap: rice with beef ribs braised in gochujang sauce. Perfect rice, ribs tasty and soft like butter. A hot dish, all to be mixed, with an enveloping flavour.
As a second course, a classic of Korean cuisine: galbi, the legendary grilled beef ribs. It is an apparently simple dish: in reality in Italy it is practically impossible to find it due to the particular cut of the meat. Here, before cooking it, the meat was shown to me at the table and, once prepared in the kitchen, it was served with steamed rice, fresh lettuce leaves and sauces (wasabi, homemade gochujang and the delicious salt with oil ). This dish should be eaten as per tradition, i.e. making the ssam, the roll to be eaten in one bite. All to be accompanied with a very tasty Korean miso soup with vegetables in mussel water.
At the end of this delicious dinner, two desserts: glazed artisan donuts and honey butter chips, a pop and fun proposal made up of potato chips glazed with butter and honey, vanilla ice cream.
To accompany everything, soju, Asian cocktails and, if desired, high quality wines.
One dinner was enough for me to convince myself of the authenticity of this formula: obsessive care in the choice of ingredients, refinement in presentation, refined taste and scrupulous and kind service. All at an honest price.
This is a very recent opening, but the high quality is already palpable. The Korean BBQ omakase formula is planned for the future: I can't wait!