When coming up with dishes for his Yona pop-up, now running at G Sandwich, chef Jonah Kim tried to create his own take on one of the most prevalent restaurant dishes of the moment: crispy brussels sprouts. His source of inspiration was perhaps an unlikely one for a serious chef: the Bloomin' Onion made famous by Outback Steakhouse.
Even funnier: he's never tried one. "You know it's weird; I've never had it, but I've seen it and I know it's one of the unhealthiest things you can eat. But I just thought the way that it's cut and scored is very creative."
Brussels sprouts are one of Kim's favorite vegetables, and he likes them best fried, which keeps them from tasting too bitter, while still creating a nice texture. "It just adds a nice richness to them," he said.
For the brussels sprouts dish at the pop-up, Kim fries and scores them and makes a fermented chili kewpie mayo, which he combines with rice pearls and spices. The dish has spicy, sweet and salty components. The scoring of the sprouts allows the mayo to seep into the cracks in the vegetables, and the toasty rice pearls add texture.
Kim knows he'll have some sort of fried vegetable on the menu when Yona opens in Ballston this summer. But brussels sprouts likely won't be in season when the restaurant opens, so the dish will likely change (he may use potatoes, for example). Try it now for $8 at the pop-up, which runs through May 2; the sprouts and the dry-fried wings are the best sellers of the event's non-ramen items.