Chefs always remember their first cooking teachers, don’t they? Ms. Yoo, chef Esther Choi’s new food-driven cocktail bar, is named after her grandmother, who taught her to cook. Ms. Yoo, a sleek, two-story, 50-seat spot on the Lower East Side is a bit of a departure from her two mokbar restaurants, which are known for their Korean take on ramen.
The cocktails are riffs on classics, with a Korean touch, such as the I Ms. Yoo with bourbon, jujube, and sweet vermouth; or the Between the Knees, with gin, ginger, strawberry, and lime. To accompany the drinks, Choi offers dishes such as Tteok n’ Cheese (rice cakes with gruyere, cheddar, bacon, panko topping, and kimchi tomato sauce). But the dish to keep an eye on—one she’s been itching to make her entire career—is based on a fried chicken recipe from her grandmother: stuffed with an herbed glutinous rice, the whole bird (complete with the head) is roasted and fried, served with pickled daikon kimchi, buckwheat wraps, soy sesame and gochujang dipping sauce. 163 Allen St. (between Rivington & Stanton streets), Lower East Side.
On Instagram: @ms.yoo