After hiccups with inspections, installations and electrical wiring, Korean House on College Street is finally open after a six-month delay. After “miscommunication” in the inspection process, co-owner Jayson Im says the opening of the restaurant “kept on getting delayed.” But finally, on Jan. 4, co-owners Jayson and his sister Kristina Im hosted a soft opening for friends and family.
“I was hoping to get it opened before the new year,” says Jayson. “It’s one of the busier seasons, and I wanted to get our name out there while people celebrate the holidays. … But my biggest concern was that there’s been such a long delay. I just wanted to get this open as soon as possible.”
Jayson and Kristina are both from New York City, and after traveling to different major cities throughout the country, Jayson has noticed that “Korean food in my opinion is growing.” Korean House Chef Kristina Im’s dishes are vegetable-friendly, healthy and not oily or spicy, Jason says. “My sister and I really like Asheville and thought, ‘All right, how about we introduce [Korean] food to downtown?’”
With a large menu that offers more than 50 items, Jayson and Kristina tried to include as many options as possible. “If it’s a general Korean dish, the chances are we probably have it on the menu,” Jayson says. Korean House offers eight different stone bowl dishes, which are the most traditional Korean specialties. Sauteéd vegetables are served over a bed of white rice, and are often accompanied by an egg or meat. The restaurant also serves five kinds of dumplings, savory pancakes, soups, stir fries, grilled dishes and more.
Kristina and Jayson were hoping to make Korean barbecue the main dish at the restaurant but have been having trouble installing the tabletop grills, where diners would be able to grill their own dishes. “We struggled so much trying to get that installed in this old building,” says Jayson. “I’ve decided to divide the product into two so that it’ll give me an opening without creating the grill part.” The tabletop grills should be completed in the next two months, he says.
Korean House occupies a large space on College Street and has two separate floors.The first floor will be used as the dining area, while the basement, which has individual booths and additional decorations, is a much more romantic setting. “They have totally different atmospheres,” says Jayson, who has been toying with the idea of turning the basement into a late-night bar or club.
Korean House is at 122 College St.