With a background like Chef Soogil Lim’s, your first restaurant of your own is bound to start conversations. Lim worked for Chef Daniel Boulod, a staple in New York dining, for 7 years and held the Executive Chef title at Hanjan for 4. Needless to say, the Bitches were excited to get the invitation to come in and taste his newly launched brunch at Soogil, Chef Lim’s cozy French Korean restaurant in the East Village.
Literally a stone’s throw away from my apartment, Soogil is located on a quiet block of the bustling neighborhood and may be missed by passersby if not for its bright orange facade. This particular afternoon, the restaurant was about half full with patrons who seemed to really appreciate the diversity in our city’s restaurant scene.
My boyfriend, Tim, and I sat at a quaint corner table and looked over the short list of offerings which was full of dishes you don’t see on many brunch menus. To start, Tim ordered the Komosa cocktail, a light and refreshing mix of Korean pear juice, cuvée, and fresh lemon juice. He loved that the drink was perfect for a hot summer day. I on the other hand opted for a simple orange juice once I saw the words fresh-squeezed. The sweet beverage came served in the most adorable milk jar and tasted just like home. It’s not often you find fresh-squeezed OJ in NYC, so Tim decided he’d get one for his second round.
I recently read that it’s best to start a meal with some raw veggies before consuming your cooked accompaniments, so we decided we’d split the asparagus salad. In our research we’d read that this salad was a must order at any meal at Soogil. We both gushed over this starter. The dressing complemented the asparagus and arugula seamlessly– we just couldn’t get enough.
My sweetie knew immediately he wanted the SG Egg Benedict, however, when the dish came to the table it was entirely different than he’d expected. This Benny was set up more like a burger with an english muffin bun and a poached egg. He thought the dish was so delicious although the egg was not perfectly poached. The pickled cucumber and carrot toppings added for a nice Korean touch, but the sweet potato fries were hands down the best part of the order.
I decided to get the vegetarian bibimbap, an obvious stray from a traditional brunch entree. I recently discovered bibimbap dishes while out to Korean barbecue with my coworkers and consider them a sizzling alternative to my go-to buddha bowls. Unfortunately, my egg wasn’t cooked very well either and the sauce poured over the bowl at the table didn’t make it over quick enough to prevent an entire layer of the rice from sticking to the stone bowl. I don’t think I’d order this again at Soogil.
To conclude, we knew we needed to order the Jenga-Tower. Just one peek at press or Instagram and you’re bound to land on an image of this dessert. Basically little sticks of funnel cake are stacked in true Lincoln Log fashion and topped with an enormous scoop of honey chestnut gelato. Not only was this dessert Instagrammable AF, it wasn’t heavy or glutonous feeling.
The Bitches say: B+. Soogil’s French Korean fare is definitely unique, maybe too unique for brunch, but it’s delicious and the homey environment’s not too shabby either.
108 E 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Soogil serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.