Hortus NYC, the Michelin-recognized restaurant that continues to evolve its approach to modern Asian cuisine, has launched a new fall menu featuring dishes from newly appointed Executive Chef Youjin Jung (Del Posto, Osteria Mozza, DB Bistro & Oyster Bar, Boulud Sud). Chef Jung was recruited to helm the Hortus kitchen by General Manager Suhum Jang (Per Se, Daniel, Jung Sik) her lifelong friend and schoolmate at the Culinary Institute of America. At Hortus NYC, Jang and Chef Jung aim to create a supremely safe dining experience that surprises and excites guests’ palates, providing different tastes and flavor profiles from Korea and beyond.
The name Hortus is derived from the Latin word for garden and this aesthetic runs through the entire restaurant. The upstairs dining space in which guests will sit six feet apart with all staff wearing masks, features hunter green walls, silver-blue velvety chairs and comfy round banquets. Apart from the main dining room, the second floor showcases a hidden garden oasis complete with propane heat lamps and lights hanging above for a warm and intimate glow in the evening. Umbrellas are available for those unexpected rain showers.
Chef Jung has an impressive resume most recently serving as a Sous Chef at Boulud Sud in New York. In New York she really sharpened her skills working under Mark Ladner and Melissa Rodriguez at the four-star New York Times reviewed Del Posto. However, it was working in Singapore that really groomed her for the culinary journey ahead as it required extreme precision and focus in which she equates the experience to a boxing ring. Now at Hortus she is flexing her creativity to continue to further the restaurant’s highly regarded reputation, placing even more emphasis on some of the staple Korean ingredients, all plated in a modern and approachable style.
The new fall menu begins with select appetizers such as Pumpkin Soup, a creamy combination of kobocha and butternut squash with a cilantro espuma, served with grilled sourdough bread for dipping. The Autumn Salad is filled with roasted delicate squash, radicchio, Asian pear with parmesan cheese, drizzled with a pine nut dressing and red wine vinegar and adorned with fried parsley. Scallops are plump and buttery, beautifully pan seared and served with cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower, a housemade XO sauce and pickled grapes.
A Fresh Raw Section highlights the Hortus Royal Platter, which features an array of tasty selections from the sea including a whole lobster tail and shrimp, which are prepared in a court bouillon with white wine, lemon, garlic and carrot as well as tuna tataki, and oysters with a plum vinaigrette and ikura, all served with a clarified butter and crushed pink pepper corn mixture, and cocktail sauce.
For entrées the chef recommends the Duck, which makes its first appearance on the menu since the restaurant’s inception with an ode to the duck l’orange recipe and represents Korean “slow cooking” with glaze (syrup) made of mu (daikon). Pan seared duck is brushed with mu glaze and served with spicy braised mu, Korean radish, which adds some mild sweetness to the dish, dressed with sliced candied kumquats and pickled crones, and charred scallions with a foie gras sauce. The Spicy Braised Short Rib is the embodiment of an autumn dish and served with Chinese pearl barley risotto and Asian pear gremolata, which is presented in the style of a small salad with Asian pear, parsley, and watermelon radishes toasted with a lemon vinaigrette. Still available is a Hortus favorite, the Truffle Donabe, black truffle, wild mushrooms and cured egg yolk, that can be complemented with hanger steak or wagyu.
Desserts round out the dining experience with Matcha Tiramisu accompanied by vanilla ice cream, and Hortus’ popular Monaka Ice Cream available in black sesame, green tea or vanilla.
Hortus’ two-course prix fixe is still offered, which includes a choice of an appetizer and an entrée. The Hortus Tasting Menu spotlights the Hortus Royal Platter and a choice of an appetizer and an entrée as well as a dessert. These can be supplemented with wine pairings.
Lunch at Hortus provides guests with a two-course lunch prix fixe with a choice of appetizer and entrée, and an optional wine pairing. Lunch sets are also available for takeout and delivery, served with hot or cold soup, tempura or the daily salad and side dishes with a choice of proteins including grilled salmon, chicken katsu, galbi meat ball and grilled hanger steak.
The beverage program is based solely on low ABV beverages including fine sparkling wines and Champagne, red and white wines from France, Italy, New Zealand, and the U.S., Japanese craft beer such as Yuzu Lager Hitachino, Korean bottled beer, Junmai ginjo and Junmai sake by the glass, unfiltered rice wine, soju and premium soju. Soju cocktails spotlighted include Peach Mule with jinro, peach and tonic; and Black Plum with soju, makgeolli and burnt orange.
A special California half bottle wine selection is featured in which 10% of all sales will be donated to the Wildlife Relief Fund to support the California wineries and firefighters during this time.
Takeout and delivery are available through the Hortus NYC website.
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