Bushwick’s Juno, has closed its doors to the public. It seems that even after undergoing a facelift, the improvements weren’t enough to keep business going. The neighborhood staple decided to close up shop after a rocky transition into new culinary leadership. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. This time around, the door leads to a dimly lit dining room that loosely resembles a dining scene in a Miyazaki film.
The team led by Bryan Moon and Hoon Smith, first started Kichin three years ago in Williamsburg’s Although as a take-out counter. Their previous iterations have been mostly collaborations with Bubble T, MoMa PS1, Boiler Room, and Yaeji,as well as a pop-up restaurant at music venues Kinfolk and Baby’s All Right.
These passionate chefs are no strangers to running a business in the big city. Kichin comes to Bushwick as the group’s first attempt at sit-in dining. They are joined by chef Patricia Lee (formerly of Roberta’s) and beverage director Jason White (formerly of Per Se and Mission Chinese).
Widely known for their fried chicken, this modern Korean spot promises to deliver non-traditional items with the same great traditional Korean flavors. The menu which features a chrysanthemum salad with snap peas and burdock has options for diners on all sides of the spectrum: vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore — there is truly something for everyone.
“Our food has a lot to do with identity. Being Asian American and speaking on that experience through food, it’s an honest exploration of our culture,” said Moon when asked about Kichin’s intricate menu.
Diners can choose from amazing starters like fried cauliflower with bird chili and agave; an incredible jjajangmyeon, a noodle dish with 24-hour braised pork and black bean sauce; a crispy whole fish with tobiko that’s sure to send your taste buds into overdrive.
“Making this food for all of you is a way of exploring what Korean food is to us,” said Smith.
The group didn’t just come to deliver on food, they came to bring a unique cocktail experience to Bushwick with the help of Service and Beverage Director, Jason White.
“We wanted to go with a fun and funky approach that would cater to people with various levels of experience,” said White. With drinks like the Magia Blanca, a mix of mezcal, pineapple, kaffir lime and miso, as well as an all organic wine list, it’s safe to say your glasses will always remain full. My personal favorite was the Snapdragon, who knew sugar snap peas went so well in a cocktail.
If you’re not into wine or spirits, have no fear, the beer list is equally exciting. With specialty ales from Hudson Valley Brewery and Grimm Ales, any beer lover is sure to be happy.
“One of the first things that drew us to Bushwick was the restaurant culture. We wanted to start in a place where we could help shape the culture and area,” said Moon. “Part of that is working with local businesses and farms to make sure we are doing our part in the community.”
One of the things people loved most about Juno was that it was a place that belonged to the community, a place that made everyone feel like family. After spending a Saturday evening with Moon and Smith at Kichin, it’s safe to say that things remain the same. The late-night spot was bustling with people deep into the night, everyone leaving with a smile on their face.
Kichin is open until 4 a.m. most nights with their standard menu available until 11 p.m. and their late-night menu available at midnight. The cozy Korean spot also features live DJ sets.
Images courtesy of Mary Kang.
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