Food News

Argentine and Korean Are Separate and Equal at Chimi Kimchi Grill

At first glance, Chimi & Kimchi Grill on Sample Road in Coral Springs seems crazy. The menu doesn't combine Korean and Argentine cuisine into the same bites. There are no galbi empanadas.

Instead, what you get when you sit down in the narrow, forest-green restaurant with grayish hardwood floors is a floppy laminated menu that seems to be two merged into one. You find a bevy of Argentine choices on one side -- pastas and the orgiastic parrillada with skirt steak, short ribs, blood sausage, and sweet breads. Korean barbecue, which arrives on sizzling cast-iron platters, is offered on the other.

Thinking for a few moments longer, it all makes sense. The two countries, split by nearly 6,000 miles of ocean, are notable for their grilled meat obsession. While Korean food includes a wide variety of spicy soups, stews, rice dishes like bibimbap and fabulous seafood preparations, diners cooking strips of ruby-red beef on in-table grills are the postcard for the country's gastronomy.

The same could be said for gauchos, the South American cowboys who roamed the plains of Patagonia and made massive portions of grilled meat a kind of national Argentine dish.

Chimi Kimchi takes its name from the two staple condiments of each country. Chimi is short for chimichurri, a piquant, emerald-green combination of chopped fresh parsley, oregano, oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Kimchi is a nod to the spicy, bright-red fermented cabbage that accompanies most dishes.

The Korean condiment is the star of Kimchi Guk. A hot stone bowl arrives bubbling with a spicy kimchi broth, chunks of jiggly tofu, and slices of grilled pork. A small silver bowl of steamed white rice provides a cooling respite from the spicy soup.

Meanwhile a beef milanesa sandwich is layered with thin-pounded strips of fried meat, tomato, lettuce, and a good slathering of chimichurri sauce.

The owner, Mia, declined to discuss how the restaurant came to be when called.

"Too busy right now," she said on multiple days.

On one visit, she was clearly the one handling the "kimchi" side of the menu. Helping her was a man with a moderate Spanish accent reining over the empanadas and pastas.

Without assuming anything, it makes a sense that a Korean-Argentine husband-and-wife team is together dishing out food from two of the world's best meat-loving countries.

For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.

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Zachary Fagenson is the restaurant critic for Miami New Times, and proud to report a cholesterol level of 172.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson