Remember the show Pimp My Ride? If you missed this gem of mid-2000s MTV programming, the concept was simple: take a sh*tty car, fix it up, and then add gratuitous features like a chandelier or the ability to shoot flames out of the back. And always trick it out with a sound system that could support a Guns N’ Roses concert. Whether or not the cars actually worked afterwards, Pimp My Ride was broadly entertaining. I once watched a marathon of episodes with a six-year-old who didn’t speak English, and we had a great time. Because the language of putting a hot tub in the back of a pickup truck is universal.
Applying the Pimp My Ride philosophy to a restaurant is usually nota great idea. It might make for entertaining circa 2005 television, but adding a bunch of flashy superficial features can only take you so far. Fortunately, Cote doesn’t take this approach.
Cote is a “fancy” Korean BBQ restaurant in Flatiron, and if they had an MTV show it would more likely be called “Let’s Just Buy A Really Nice Car With A Quality Engine And Italian Leather Interiors And Also Make Sure You Get The Heated Seats.”
This place is basically Korean BBQ, turbocharged. Each element of the dining experience is taken up a notch - it begins with the high-end steakhouse-quality meat, but extends to the fancy grills, the smooth marble tables, and the sharply- dressed servers.
You’re welcome to order however you want here, but most people will go for the $54 per person prix fixe option, which gets you four different kinds of top quality prime beef, plus several banchan sides, a savory egg soufflé, two different stews, and a little cup of soft serve to finish off. You can also add on a few other appetizers like steak tartare or larger accompaniments like bibimbop, but the Butcher’s Feast comes with more than enough food. The steak is truly excellent - rich, tender, buttery - to the extent that you’ll want to eat some of it on its own before wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf with one of the provided sauces.
To go along with it, you’ll definitely want something to drink, and Cote has some excellent options on the booze front. There’s a frozen rosé, which you can laugh at until you actually drink it, as well as a bunch of original cocktails that are strong, unusual, and really good. They have a pretty serious wine list too, and a big wraparound bar up front, so stopping by for an after-work drink is not a bad idea at all.
Cote isn’t a replacement for the Koreatown BBQ spots that are great for rowdier, more affordable group gatherings - we’ll never stop going to those places. It’s simply a different concept. Kind of like having a chandelier in your car.
For $54, you get four kinds of very good steak - expect cuts like ribeye, marinated short rib, and hangar steak. You’ll also get a bunch of small banchan sides, an egg soufflé, and two types of stew. One tip: eat the soufflé before it overcooks in the hot stone pot.
Billed as an add-on to the Butcher’s Feast, this is basically an $18 bassinet of vegetables that isn’t super necessary. The Butcher’s Feast already comes with all the lettuce wraps you’ll need.
A solid bibimbap, but if you’re doing the Butcher’s Feast, with the soufflé and stews, you also don’t need it, especially if you’re a small group.
A fun add-on: the Butcher’s Feast comes with a little kid’s cup of soft serve.
They’re really good here. Try one.