Michael McCarty: My love affair with Asian cuisines goes back as far as the time I spent cooking in the 1970s in Paris. One of my best friends there, Robert Vifian, had emigrated there in 1968 from his native Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, and at his restaurant Tan Dhin I was experiencing Asian "fusion" before it was even being called that. With extraordinary young chefs of Asian heritage heading the kitchens of both Michael’s New York and Michael’s Santa Monica, we’ve certainly got Asian influences happening big-time on their menus.
In New York, 25-year-old Korean-born executive chef Kyung Up Lim is offering appetizers like a sashimi of hamachi with pickled jalapeño, bell peppers, salmon roe, and a vinaigrette made with the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu; and, as a seasonal special, he’s offering an amazing Nantucket bay scallop crudo dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lime juice and garnished with lime zest, shaved ice radish, sea urchin roe, poppy seeds, and micro-cilantro. And Kyung’s Korean heritage shines in his Bar Bites menu, which features such apps as miniature Korean tacos filled with kal bi-marinated hanger steak, pickled cucumbers and carrots, Korean red pepper paste sauce, sesame seeds, and Hass avocado — perfect with one of our mixologist Michael Flannery’s Oaxacan Negronis.