they have the meats
Houston’s newest Korean steakhouse has opened in the Heights. Karne began its soft opening this week ahead of its grand opening November 11.
Located in a recently constructed building at 2805 White Oak Dr., Karne is the latest project from Houston restaurateur Jason Cho. Known for his Korean fried chicken restaurant Dak & Bop and as the franchisee for the Galleria-area location of Korean coffee shop Tom N Toms, Cho partnered with chef Yurum “KP” Nam to open Karne. Nam brings extensive experience to his role, including acclaimed restaurants The Modern and Gramercy Tavern, as well as Zusik, a Korean restaurant he owned in the West Village.
“My culinary training has prepared me with French, Italian, American techniques,” Nam said in a statement. “I use that to create very simple, straightforward Korean food.”
At Karne, that "straightforward Korean food" centers around beef. Fittingly for a steakhouse, Karne serves several different cuts and grades of meat, ranging from traditional Korean marinated meats to Prime beef, dry-aged, American wagyu, and Japanese wagyu. They’re grilled tableside by the restaurant’s staff.
Diners may order a la carte — by selecting options such as marinated short rib, dry-aged ribeye, or American wagyu flat iron — or opt for the “Karnivore Platter” that comes with five different cuts, kimchi, soup, dipping sauces, and more. Eventually, the restaurant will offer a more premium chef’s tasting menu that will be served in one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms. Beyond beef, the restaurant puts a Korean spin on steakhouse classics with dishes such as hot and cold seafood towers, beef carpaccio, and tuna tartare. Classic Korean dishes such as Korean fried chicken, kimchi fried rice, and hot stone bibimbap are also available.
Pairing options include a range of craft cocktails and a list of 173 wines.
Well-traveled customers may recognize that the menu’s style and presentation bears a certain resemblance to Cote, the upscale Korean steakhouse that has earned one Michelin star in both New York and Miami. For example, Karne serves a dish called Land & Sea, a combination of beef tartare, caviar, and quail egg, that’s similar to Cote’s “Steak & Eggs.” The “Karnivore Platter” is similar in its offerings to Cote’s “Butcher’s Feast.”
A representative acknowledges that Cho and Nam aspire to achieve Cote’s level of success, but states plainly that its menu is “influenced by tastes from Korea, Texas and New York.”
“Our dishes are unique because chef KP is pouring in all of his knowledge and culinary skills into creating a curated menu for fine Korean cuisine,” Cho said in a statement. “The taste, flavor, and presentation of the dishes bring an elevated experience.”
Karne will also get a boost via its partnership with Youtube star Mike Chen. The content creator has more than 4 million subscribers to his Strictly Dumpling channel and more than 1.5 million subscribes to his Mike Chen channel. Viewers got a sneak peak at Karne’s interior in a clip Chen posted last year that’s garnered 1 million views. Although Chen is currently living in Singapore, Cho acknowledges that he’ll be filming videos from the restaurant in the months to come.