Last week, I had one of the best meals I've had in recent memory at Kojin, @pnmejia
's new restaurant. I recently spoke a bit about "story" in a previous post, and how while a dish can taste really good, its worth isn't as much without the context and stories of the hands that made it.
Admittedly, my experience with Colombian food is limited, but going through the menu and trying each dish, I could see how Paula's childhood in Colombia, her influences at Momofuku, and local ingredients come together to bring about something truly special. Each dish, at first glance, seems familiar, even relateable, but upon the first bites, one sees a unifying theme across the menu of well-executed food that sees even the small details taken care of. Whipped bone marrow on the aged ribeye. Earl-grey tea infusion in the bone broth. A light, neutral-tasting canola vinaigrette to highlight the quality of the greens in the salad. The nuances and complexities of the various hot sauces and mustards to name a few.
Talking to Paula about the kitchen and menu, I realized that she is the kind of chef I dreamt about being like as a child. Passionate, with an unashamed zeal for the food of her culture and what inspires her, and the warmth in the way she shares that with others. Thanks for your amazing hospitality, and further shoutouts to Andrew and the rest of the Kojin team for taking some time to talk to us about the food and kitchen while being on the line. Lastly to the brotha @thejensenwong
for treating me for my birthday - you've given me an experience I won't forget 🙏 Thanks a ton!
L-R Aged Ribeye with whipped bone marrow, white kimchi brined veg, house-made sausage board of beef, chicken, shrimp with Kojin mustard, Tita's mash, BBQ zucchini, and New Farm Spicy Greens with aged Gouda and ham. Not pictured - corn flatbread with grass-fed butter and sliced honey. Holy moly. One of the stars of the night. How did I not snap it? Geez.