PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) --Neighborhood Eats tries some traditional Korean fare served modern style, just blocks away from the Barclays Center.
If you love Korean food most of the dishes are very recognizable, but the chef sometimes swaps out different ingredients, hence the modern twist.
"White Tiger" is the national animal of South Korea, and it's the name of this restaurant located at 601 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
"Liz catered my birthday and it was one of the best meals I've ever had," said Chelsea Altman, restaurant owner.
That's how Chelsea and her brother Ben got into business with Liz Kwon.
Liz and her husband Yoo Kwon Chung had a restaurant in Germany.
They hadn't planned to open a restaurant when they moved back to New York, but White Tiger in Prospect Heights happened in spite of that.
"When we opened 'White Tiger' we're a bunch of friends, we wanted it to be a fun inviting a place where you can get really good food and have a relaxed time," Chelsea said.
The food is Korean with a modern twist.
"Everything about it is truly traditional, it's just where we've added a couple other spices, a couple of other flavors," Liz said.
Take her rice cake gnocchi, traditionally it's made with fish cakes or sausage, but Liz uses pork belly.
She also pan fries her rice cakes to get them crispy.
She removes the cakes, sautees some onions in sesame oil, adds the rice cakes and pork belly back in the wok, along with Korean chili flakes, along with soy and sugar, and scallions add bite.
"My theory is that every part of every dish should have its own flavor, its own texture, and when it comes together everything should really make the dish pop," Liz said.
Like anchovy fried rice with teeny tiny anchovies, vegan dumplings, kale salad with acorn jelly, and cellophane noodle salad.
"It's like the perfect fusion of everything that I love about Korean food, but with an awesome modern twist," a customer said.
"I love this place because there's a lot of vegetarian options," another customer said.
"Our customers are mainly here in the neighborhood, they're very local, we're a new business but we've been growing bit by bit, it's been great," Liz said.
Jaeyook Gnocchi for 2
20 pieces of rice cakes (cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
1/2 C vegetable oil
3/4 lbs pork belly, cut into bite size pieces
1 C sliced onions
1/2 C scallions, sliced 3" long
1/2 C scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 C Tamari or Soy sauce
2 TBS toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 TBS sugar
3 TBS Korean red chili flakes (I specify, because different chili flakes will be more or less spicy depending. Korean chili flakes are medium spicy)
1 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1. Sautee rice cakes in vegetable oil for about 3 minutes, until outside is lightly brown. The rice cakes should get a little bubbly on the outside and crispy. Do not leave them in the oil cooking for too long, because they will pop like popcorn and go flying through your kitchen.
2. Take the rice cakes out of the pan and set aside.
3. Sautee sliced pork belly with a little salt until they are crispy on the edges. Take it out of pan and set aside.
4. Sautee onions in sesame oil. Add cooked pork belly and rice cakes. Add sugar and tamari and sautee together for 2 minutes.
5. Add Chili flakes and 3 inch long scallions and sautee together for another 2 minutes.
6. Plate the gnocchi on 2 plates. Garnish with the thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
For more information please visit: http://www.whitetiger.nyc/