A stylish new Korean-French restaurant in Cary’s Maynard Crossing offers innovative cuisine in a tranquil setting. KoMo KoMo, which derives its name from the words “Korean mosaic,” opened in November 2011 and has steadily built a loyal following ever since.
Chef-owner Jae Lee is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and honed his skills at several fine-dining establishments in New York and the Triangle area (the Washington Duke Inn and Fins, to name a few). While Lee directs the kitchen, his wife, El Ryoo, capably oversees the front-of-house operations.
Charmingly appointed with framed quilts, vintage pottery and understated florae, KoMo KoMo’s cozy dining room beckons patrons to relax and enjoy a serene dining experience. The soothing music wafting overhead only enhances an already delightful ambiance.
KoMo KoMo represents the antithesis of the typical strip-mall-situated Asian eatery. No doubt Lee and Ryoo bring a keen sense of attention to detail. Impressively, Ryoo handled all interior decorating herself, including an eye-catching stenciled tree on one of the dining room walls.
Décor notwithstanding, nowhere is fine-tuned precision more evident than with the food. Need proof? Look no further than artfully presented appetizers like pan-seared scallops with wild mushroom and chive potato puree or chicken dumplings with soy sesame sauce.
Indeed the menu offerings are interesting — if not ambitious.
Dinner entrees, which start at $12, represent French- and Korean-infused selections alike. Aficionados of bouillabaisse (a traditional Provençal seafood stew) will find much to like about KoMo KoMo’s rendition. The same goes for Korean specialty bulgogi ssam, which essentially comprises lettuce leaf wraps with marinated beef.
Another signature main course is bibimbap, a bowl-style meal featuring multigrain rice mixed with various vegetables and, if desired, pork, beef or tofu. Other solid dishes at dinnertime include skewered grilled chicken and mushrooms with mint-enhanced couscous and yogurt sauce, and Atlantic salmon with fava beans, radish and lemon fennel citronette.
At lunchtime, tempting specials such as the Meyer lemon organic chicken roll with artisan salad or combo meal including half a sandwich, soup and a salad come in under $10. The rich lobster ravioli with ginger and fennel also merits consideration.
A reservation-only tea service is available on Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m., featuring a platter of mini-sandwiches, tarts and desserts with coffee or tea. Free Wi-Fi Internet access is an added bonus.
When it comes to desserts, you can’t go wrong with the house-favorite ginger lemongrass creme brulee, coconut rum raisin bread pudding or the KoMo red velvet cake.