BOSTON – Where can you start your meal with Cheesesteak Dumplings, move on to a Bacon Cheeseburger topped with Kimchi, and finish with Chocolate Smothered French Toast for dessert? At a brand new restaurant named Koy, Asian flavors meet American favorites, and the results will make your mouth water.
Located just steps from Boston’s Fanueil Hall, Koy is a sleek and modern family affair. Catarina Chang runs the place with help from her father Danny and her brother Dan, an artist whose work decorates the walls.
“My mom actually is the one who came up to me with the idea. Why don’t you do some paintings, some murals? And I said, ‘Alright, sure.’ Might as well put that college education to good use,” laughed Dan.
Just as the family’s art is represented on the walls, their culinary heritage is all over the menu, which is filled with Korean dishes adapted from old family recipes.
“The strongest ties that I have with my family and my culture is food. So those are the things I remember. Those are the first Korean words I learned,” said Catarina.
The food at Koy is a great introduction to Korean cuisine. Many dishes are easily approachable, while others are more traditional. The menu is easy to navigate, broken down into three sections.
“We have Tastes, which is more of appetizer style dishes. And then we have a traditional section of the menu which is authentic true Korean food. And then we also have our Twists side, which is more fusion, where we incorporate international flavors,” Catarina explained.
From the Taste section, there’s crispy Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts, pan-fried Carnitas Dumplings garnished with black vinegar and queso fresco, and deep fried Cheese Steak Dumplings stuffed with pastrami, Swiss cheese, and drizzled with a spicy Korean pepper flake sauce.
“It’s a little bit of a kick, a little bit of heat, but the cheese and the meat, it blends really well together right when you bite into it,” said Catarina.
For a taste of the traditional, one of the most popular dishes in Korea, and at Koy, is the Hot Stone Bibimbap, a giant sizzling bowl of rice, vegetables, and beef.
“The bowl keeps it cooking while it comes out, so that nice sizzling sound,” explained Dan. “Not only does it look appealing with all the colors of the vegetables and sauce, but the sound of it, sounds appetizing.”
For those who love the Chinese dish known as General Gau’s Chicken, Koy has an addictive sweet and spicy Korean version know as Master Chang’s Chicken, named after Catarina’s father, who came up with the recipe.
“When you take a bite, I think you first hit the sweet side, and slowly after a few minutes you start to get the spice that lingers in,” described Catarina. “It’s very crunchy and chewy, and it’s one of our best-selling dishes.”
Most of the culinary mashups are found in the Twist section of Koy’s menu, and what gives many of these dishes their Korean flavor is the addition of Kimchi.
“Kimchi is the most famous dish out of Korea. It’s pickled cabbage and we use it every day, in everything,” Catrina said.
It’s mixed into a Lobster Roll, tossed onto a Bacon Cheese Burger, and stir fried with chorizo, white rice, scallions and soy, then topped with a fried egg for a Korean twist on fried rice.
“You have to break into the yolk, because it’s sunny side up. Then you have to mix everything together, because that’s how Koreans eat their food,” explained Catarina.
There are only a few desserts on the menu, but they’re worth saving room for, like the Bruleed Bananas served with an oversized scoop of coconut ice cream, and the Buttermilk Battered French Toast that’s smothered in dark chocolate ganache, and topped with crisped rice, coffee-boiled peanuts, sesame seeds, and strawberries.
“You have the richness from the chocolate and then the textural crunchiness from the crispy rice, and then it also adds salty with the sesame, and then it’s sweet,” Catarina described.
Everything about Koy is pretty sweet, because the food is fantastic, the prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is fun, and Catarina and her family are passionate about making every experience great.
“There’s nothing better than a good meal and good drinks and having fun with your friends,” said Catarina, “and I love being the person to give that to someone else.”
You can find Koy near Faneuil Hall, at 16 North Street and online at koyboston.com.
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