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One of Louisville’s Most Celebrated Chefs Has Opened a Modern Korean Steakhouse

It's the Edward Lee's first foray into a restaurant that reflects the flavors of his heritage.

Ribeye kalbi with banchan Sweet Sarandipity Photography

The chef Edward Lee has become well known for the Southern food he cooks up at 610 Magnolia, but at his new restaurant, Nami, he’s exploring the flavors of his Korean heritage instead.

Opened on Tuesday, Nami is a modern take on the Korean steakhouse in Louisville’s aptly named Butchertown neighborhood. It’s the first time Lee is spotlighting Korean dishes and ingredients at one of his restaurants, and it’s his first new spot in his hometown in five years.

Shrimp dumplings with Korean chili-crisp sauce
Shrimp dumplings with Korean chili-crisp sauce Sweet Sarandipity Photography

The menu shines a light on traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap, mandu, pa jun, and more, with Lee teaming up with executive chef Breanna Baker and consulting chef Yeon-Hee Chung to give those plates an updated feel. Shrimp dumplings come bathed in a Korean chili-crisp sauce, while a Wagyu beef kim bap roll is topped with kimchi, caviar, and a soy glaze. Beautifully marbled ribeye kalbi is served with the classic Korean banchan, or small side dishes.

Stacie Stewart is in charge of the cocktails, which draw on Asian flavors to complement the cuisine. Drinks like the Dynamite and Burn the Memory pair well with Nami’s plates, but are also substantial and complex enough to be enjoyed on their own.

Wagyu beef kim bap roll with kimchi, caviar, and a soy glaze
Wagyu beef kim bap roll with kimchi, caviar, and a soy glaze Sweet Sarandipity Photography

The Korean influences continue even further into the design of the space itself. Local Kentucky artists were enlisted to create elements that reflect Korean aesthetics, and their work is featured throughout the restaurant. Downstairs, you’ll find the large main dining room, accompanied by a bar and lounge area. Upstairs, there are dining tables with traditional Korean table grills, a private dining room, and even a private karaoke room, if the food and drinks inspire you break out into song.

Soon, the Nami team will launch lunch service, as well as open Neighbors Noodles next door, a take-out-only noodle shop with a slightly more casual vibe. That may just be the perfect nightcap to an evening spent chowing down on grilled meats and belting out “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (or whatever your go-to karaoke song might be).

Click here to see all the images of Nami.

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