Moim

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Last we spoke about restaurant reviews, I’d sworn them off (see here) with the caveat: “If I go out to eat and have a spectacular meal, of course I’ll tell you about it.” Well a week ago that happened right here in Park Slope at a place called Moim.

Frank Bruni gave Moim one star when it opened and said, “It opened in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn four months ago, the gutsy dream of a talented chef who came to professional cooking late in life, and it hasn’t attracted much notice since. During my recent visits no more than half of the 60 or so seats in its front lounge area and back dining room were filled.”

In case anyone doubts the power of a New York Times review, just two weeks later the place was packed to the gils. I was there with Craig and our friends Patty, Lauren, Kirk and Stella. Luckily, we’d called ahead and so when we got there, even though there was a 45 minute wait, we were shown almost right away to our table in the back.

The place is very modern looking, lots of dark wood and chrome fixtures (ok, I’m actually not quite sure there were chrome fixtures but it just sounds impressive to say that there were, so let’s go with that) and everyone looked to be having a good time.

The menu was quite reasonable considering the quality of the food to come. We started out sharing three appetizers: a Bruni recommended salad of crab and noodles, a tofu dish with kimchi and pork and Korean meatballs, modeled here by Kirk and Lauren:

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They were all super tasty though Patty, a certified Korean (and star of the Cross Cultures chapter of my book) was disappointed with the amount of panchan (or small bites).

She says now in a chat, “I like copious amounts of panchan, endless small plates that magically refill with different kinds of kimchi and fish cakes and other yummy mysterious vegetables.”

As it was, the panchan they gave us minimal at best. “I didn’t get any,” says Patty. “I noticed some nuts.”

But if you want to quibble about panchan, you can pursue Patty further in the comments. My excitement about Moim and the thing that makes me want to go back again and again was my entree: the Bi Bim Bap.

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Sizzling hot with an egg on top, I felt like I finally understood this dish: a fiery and festive explosion of vegetables and rice and, that essential Korean ingredient, kimchi. It was spicy, it was salty, it was substantial and it was so so good.

“Mmm,” we all sung out and those of us who ordered bi bim bap were singing extra loud.

With all the beer we drank, the appetizers and the bi bim bap the meal came to $40 a person which, for a fun Saturday night, isn’t terrible. If you go on a weeknight and don’t order beer or appetizers, I bet you can spend less than $20.

And I plan to go often, as it’s in my ‘hood and the food is so good. Who cares if Patty, a genuine Korean, concludes about the place: “Tasty, hip spin on Korean food that was overpriced with small portions. Boo hoo.”

Who are you going to trust: someone who knows what they’re talking about or me? Trust me–this is the first restaurant I’ve reviewed in a long time and I chose to review it because I loved it. I’m definitely going back.

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