Nox restaurant opens at Midtown subway station

Enter the subway station by descending the stairs at the northeast corner of Broadway and 32nd Street and find an unmarked door. A MetroCard is not required, but customers can use the pin number they receive on the day of their reservation to enter the marble-clad dining room, which was once a barbershop and newsstand. Starting Friday, October 6th, the city’s next fine-dining Korean restaurant, Nok’s, will open at Herald Square Station.

The restaurant, the brainchild of co-owners Bobby Kwak and Joseph Koh, is located behind the popular Baekjeong in nearby Koreatown and down the street from gelato shop Sunday’s Best. It is also a successor store. The kitchen is helmed by Per Se alumnus Dae Kim.

When you think of a Midtown subway station, you might not initially think of a fancy theater like the one you’d expect from a 12-course, $225 tasting menu. But the Nox team wants to show it’s possible anyway, and go head-to-head with some other fine-dining restaurants in the city that have reached accolades, using the city’s swirling background noise as a soundtrack. .

Nox's sardine dish.

The 12-course tasting menu costs $225 per person.
Alex Truong/Nox

The menu includes dishes such as brown crab and turnip and seaweed tart, salmon roe with herb sorbet and saffron, trout with perilla and pistachio, and caramelized onions with white chocolate.

Subway stations used to regularly feature food and beverage outlets, but over the years that has disappeared, with chains like Dunkin Donuts filling the void, or more commonly, entire stations becoming vacant storefronts. It has become. But in Columbus Circle, the Turnstile Underground Market food hall continues to sell in droves. Across town, in an alcove in Grand Central, Daniel Boulud opened Jōji, a “secret” omakase restaurant, with fellow Masa alumni last year.

Ditto for La Nox, which reportedly had a waiting list of 1,500 customers to check out the subway-level hidden cocktail bar when it opened in 2021. The secret element should also work to Nox’s advantage. If all goes to plan, Nox Team is already preparing another underground spot next door, Garden of Eve Dessert House, aiming to open next spring.

Chef Dae Kim leans against the wall of the subway station at the Noksu entrance.

Chef Dae Kim near the entrance to Noksu subway station.
Nox

A PIN number is required to enter Nox.

A PIN number is required to enter Nox.
Nox

As for why this subway station is especially important to Noksu, Kwak says this for personal reasons. It’s a very cool and unique space. ”

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. First, the Nōksu space, which the team signed up for in 2019, doesn’t have gas, so they had to get creative with the menu. But the pandemic has given them time to think.

The Martinique Hotel, located at street level above the restaurant, is the landlord, but the underground entrance is of course operated by the MTA, meaning there are some stipulations from the city regarding maintenance. As for the recent storm, Kwak said he installed the drainage pipes himself to ensure his restaurant can withstand any conditions brought on by the city’s new normal climate.

Meanwhile, Kwak tells Eater that he is already operating downstairs in New York. When Eve’s Garden debuts on the block in 2024, there will also be an underground entrance, but via the hotel rather than the subway. He said there will be several stands displaying a variety of Asian sweets, as well as a dessert omakase counter.

For now, the team is focused on opening Nōksu at 49 W. 32nd Street near Broadway in Manhattan. Reservations can be made online.

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