Imsook “April” Lee and her husband, Doyoung Moon, moved from Korea to the United States in 2006. The daughter of a restaurant owner who loved to cook, Lee worked in a Washington, D.C., deli, where she gradually introduced Korean sauces and items such as kimchi onto the menu to see how American customers responded to the food she grew up with. To her delight, she found that many of the pickled, fermented, spicy tastes of Korea went over pretty well.
“We were serving mostly American food, but I know all Korean recipes,” says Lee. “So I started making kimchi, salad and Korean sauces, and people really loved it.”
After their daughter enrolled at UVA, it wasn’t long before Lee and Moon fell in love with Charlottesville. So, last year, equipped with years of management experience and recipes passed down from family, they made the move and set up shop for Charlottesville’s newest Korean restaurant, Doma Korean Kitchen.
Located at 701 W. Main St., Doma quietly opened on Tuesday, May 31. The menu features build-your-own entrées such as stir fry with rice or noodles, a selection of five proteins, up to five veggies and one of three housemade sauces. The Doma lunch box includes a serving of rice (prepared with cooking wine, oil and seasonings), a side salad with light, sweet yuja citrus dressing and a serving of juicy, tender, overnight-marinated Korean barbecue meat.
“American people, they know about Korean barbecue,” Lee says, adding that each of the four meats (chicken, beef, pork and shrimp) is marinated in a different sauce that she created, the pork being the spiciest.
There’s also a Korean-style barbecue burger with kimchi slaw and housemade pickles, a fried pork belly salad and small plate items such as crispy fried wings in hot-chili sauce and dook-galbi, a marinated Korean chicken meatball.
For now, the drink menu includes water, soda and frozen slushes in flavors such as lemon, ginger, grapefruit and misugaru (roasted grain). Moon (who renovated the space with a friend) included a bar in the design, which will be stocked with local beer, sake and soju, one of the most popular types of alcohol in Korea, as soon as a liquor license comes through.
Being fit doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then. The team at MADabolic, the high-intensity interval training franchise with studios from Ontario to South Carolina, will host a multi-city bar crawl on Saturday, June 25. All locations will participate, and members and nonmembers alike are invited. The event begins at the MADabolic studio in the IX Art Park at 2pm before the group heads downtown for some locally inspired day-drinking.
What’s better than local beer? Local beer with a purpose. The brewers at Three Notch’d, Starr Hill and Devils Backbone have teamed up to create 65 Roses, a rose hibiscus blonde ale to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Brewer’s Ball, that was held June 9. The collaboration beer will be available exclusively at the Three Notch’d tasting rooms in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.