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:
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.
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.
9 thoughts on “Moim”
i’m so glad you liked this place! i went soon after it opened and loved their bi bim bop — i was so happy that park slope has some decent korean now. . .yipee!
I agree with Patty about the panchan – it seems good that a hip place is Korean, but Korean food isn’t about hip – it’s about good. And that should include lots of panchan – small tasty bites so that you have a whole array of flavors. That dulsot bibimbap looks great, though.
see how life is…now i am totally addicted to reading ur site…but didn’t i read that u were not going to do restaurant reviews anymore??
no,no just kidding i am not in an arguing mood…lol :)
I don’t necessarily agree about there needing to be many, many types of banchan on the table. Being an “authentic Korean” myself I’ve noticed that most places that serve a large array of banchan lacks in the quality. The best banchan I’ve had has been just a few really good dishes on the table. And yes, if you’re going to have bibimbap, dol-sot (stone bowl) is definitely the way to go. The crackly bits at the bottom are the best part! :D
i went the week after bruni’s review and they were not ready for the crowd. the food was pretty good, maybe better than most korean places, but i gotta agree with patty, the portions are small.
I’ve always found that Do Hwa on Carmine Street in the Village will provide a good number of panchan, especially by New York standards. Moim’s main dishes look better though.
I have to disagree about Do Hwa, Brian. I think Do Hwa’s dolsot bibimbap is supremely good (although it’s the only entree I’ve had there so I can’t speak to any of their other dishes). A “genuine Korean-American” myself, I say Do Hwa beats K-Town, too. It makes me not feel the need to go to Park Slope to try Moim. But I’m happy you can get tasty Korean food there!! Adam, have you tried Do Hwa?? You should do a bibimbap comparison…
I am a genuine Korean-American too. And I find myself genuinely disappointed whenever I have Korean food outside of Koreatown. The restaurants tend to skimp on banchan and the food is less than authentic and usually overpriced. It’s as if they think, “Most of our patrons are Non-Koreans, so they don’t know any better.” I’ll take good-like-a-Korean-grandma-would-cook-it food and lack of decor over chichi, fusion cooking and hip atmosphere anytime. When it comes to ethnic food, give me the real thing!
P.S. I do wish Moim well though. Good for the owners for opening a Korean restaurant in Brooklyn!
most of the criticism from “genuine” koreans about Moim and other Korean restaurants in non-korean neighborhoods revolves around “banchan” and price.
well, to break it down for those that haven’t given it some thought: banchan (the complimentary appetizers brought out prior to meals) is indeed a fixture in korean meals. however, those that complain about the quantity given out fail to consider that most of hte restaurants in K-Town rely on volume. They can afford to give out huge amounts of food as a draw because they’ll make their numbers through the sheer number of drunk and hungry koreans. volume would also account for the slightly lower average prices in K-Town.
with that said, i have to say that Moim executes korean food quite well and the quality of the ingredients is heads above most of the other restaurants in Ktown. no, it’s not what k-town is serving but why is that a negative quality?
slight tangential gripe: I’ve taken plenty of friends to moim (park slope) and dokebi (williamsburg) to introduce them to Korean food and they’ve always enjoyed themselves. and i could always depend on the korean americans (hardly ever the native koreans… weird?) to announce to the table “this isn’t REAL korean food” v. annoying and rude.
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