Gamte, paper-thin, dried seaweed, is used to sandwich plump shrimp in one dish, while doenjang (fermented soybean paste) powder is used to season fish for a ceviche.
Although Kim, who moved to a new location in Sinsa-dong several months ago, uses Korean ingredients in her cuisine now, there was a time when she would have been more hesitant to use certain ingredients.
“I feel that I have become freer,” said Kim, 40, explaining that she is taking a more adventurous approach to her food, which is still rooted in French technique, but is not dedicated to traditional or classical French cuisine.
When Kim first opened the Green Table seven years ago, she started off serving elaborate dishes with a primary focus on French techniques.
Then she started to incorporate Korean ingredients into her food. Now, the seasoned chef has diversified her repertoire of techniques and ingredients, drawing inspiration from a broad, global pantry of herbs and spices.
Nothing feels forced, it feels simply a natural extension of her experiences, from studies at the Culinary Institute of America, to knowledge of Korean ingredients and travels through countries such as Thailand.
|The Green Table serves up a vibrant seasonal appetizer featuring sous vide, butter-rich mussels, dill aioli and a bouillabaisse foam spiked with coconut milk and kaffir lime. (Photo credit: Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)|
Kim demonstrates her willingness to draw inspiration freely with a beautifully plated jumble of sous vide, butter-rich mussels, dots of daffodil yellow dill aioli and small heaps of bouillabaisse foam.
Kim’s feather-light take on bouillabaisse delivers a rich lobster bisque base before ending with a fragrant yet familiar creamy flavor. Kim revealed the secret to her addictive foam -- coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves.
Rectangles of aloe vera add a cool, finishing touch to the dish.
Then there is her deconstructed duck and citrus, an exercise in the diverse range of flavors and textures that can be gleaned from two main ingredients.
Orange infuses the honey-based glaze coating a crisp-skinned duck breast, then appears again as a fragrant peel garnishing the duck, before appearing again as a fresh, juicy segment on the plate.
Duck appears not only as a succulent, citrus-infused morsel but also as a second act -- a rich and stew-like braised duck leg ravioli.
One solitary sprig of Korean angelica root adorns the dish, adding an earthy, bitter note.
Kim is already getting ready for a new menu for January, one that may change often, depending on what is in season.
If before, Kim served a wide variety of prix fixe courses, here, at her new address, she has a more streamlined menu, allowing her to focus more on each dish.
“I can learn more about the ingredients,” she said, with a smile.
|The Green Table is seen at its new location in Sinsa-dong, Seoul, where it moved several months ago (Photo credit: Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)|
The Green Table
2F, 655-4 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open Wednesdays through Mondays from noon to 3 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., closed Tuesdays
Lunch prix fixe course menu costs 35,000 won, dinner prix fixe course menu costs 85,000 won
By Jean Oh (email@example.com)