Kimchi Smoke, Outrageous Southern Korean BBQ Sensation, To Open Montclair Location


Get ready Montclair for a Chonut 2.1 and much more!

Baristanet fell in love with Kimchi Smoke when we tried their taco featuring smoked pork shoulder, sweet Gochujang sauce, smoked kimchi, cheddar cheese, ramen bits, on a tortilla sprinkled with powdered sugar, at Montclair Food and Wine Festival’s first Bourbon and Biergarten back in 2015.

Kimchi Smoke chef/owner Robert Cho with chef and frequent Chopped judge Amanda Freitag.

At that time, chef/owner/pitmaster Robert Austin Cho had a food truck and was making appearances at festivals in and around NYC. Shortly after, Cho spent nine months in a small space in Bergenfield, gaining a following of devoted fans for his inventive, addictive and sometimes outrageous slow smoked BBQ dishes. After 16 weeks at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, Kimchi Smoke moved to open a location in Westwood, NJ in October 2016. In just a few months, Kimchi Smoke has been nominated for a Garden State Culinary Arts Award for Best New Restaurant and named Critics Choice for Best Barbecue 2016 by NJ Monthly.

When Cho asked Instagram followers where his next location should be, responses included Westfield, Edison, Hoboken, Montclair, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Hackensack, even Connecticut. Cho scouted some of the locations, but didn’t find the right space. When a Yelper, after eating in Westwood, again suggested that Kimchi Smoke would do very well in Montclair, Cho did another search and found a suitable spot — the Bloomfield Avenue space recently vacated by Escape chef Bryan Gregg.

Joining Cho in Montclair will be Timothy Culvert, former executive chef at the old Park and Orchard, who is currently at the Westwood location. Look for soft opens and pop ups to start in April.

And what is a Chonut 2.1? It’s Cho’s “100% ridiculousness” concoction featuring a glazed doughnut, often with sprinkles, as the vehicle for a sandwich piled high with smoked brisket, smoked kimchi, bacon, cheddar, Fatboy BCS (bourbon-chipotle sauce) and scallions. If you are more of a traditionalist, expect a menu also featuring BBQ favorites like full baby back ribs and pork spareribs, smoky mac and cheese and much more.

Photo (featured): Kimchi Smoke

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