THE KOREAN CATWALK
Byline: Karen Rabinovitz
NEW YORK — For a new spin on “East meets West,” Mirezi has brought a taste of Asia to Greenwich Village.
The pan-Asian restaurant/bar is owned by Cheil America, a subsidiary of Samsung Group of Korea. Cheil, which in the past seven months has made some agreements with American fashion firms, including Cynthia Rowley and Pamela Dennis, is now venturing onto New York’s restaurant scene.
Miky Lee, who is a silent partner in Dreamworks SKG, the film production company, is a principal in Cheil America and created Mirezi “so she could have everything she loves from Korea, Thailand, Japan and India all on the same menu,” said general manager Mary Beth Norris.
The upper floor of the duplex, at 59 Fifth Avenue, is a long, narrow space — reminiscent of a fashion runway — trimmed with bamboo and wrought-iron furnishings. Four-inch-square TV screens showing Japanese animation line the sponge-painted walls, and a grand cobblestone foyer adds a dramatic flair to this funky melange of high pressed-tin ceilings, exposed pipes, copper tables and dim lighting. There is an open kitchen, a spiral staircase and a sake bar downstairs, complete with edamame — Japanese snow peas — otherwise known as “beer nuts.”
Mirezi is about integration.
“With the fusion of food and architecture, the concept is advancement. Even the screens symbolize communication and technology,” Norris said.
Opened last autumn, Mirezi draws a downtown crowd, and fashion and Hollywood glitterati. Steven Spielberg and a slew of other media luminaries — many of whom are friends of Lee’s — can often be spotted there.
According to Norris, popular dishes include the grilled eggplant maki roll with spicy chili oil or green papaya salad with Thai chilies and barbecued chicken wings as appetizers; stir-fried yam noodles with bulgogi beef — which is Korean beef marinated in soy, garlic and sugar — and toasted sesame seeds and crispy-skinned breast of duck with orange peel, five spices and yow choy as entrees. For diners who might have a hard time deciphering the menu, there is a glossary at every table.
Mirezi is open from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight on weekends. Prices range from $13 to $21 for entrees.