WESTFIELD, NJ — Roosterspin, the sister restaurant of the Michelin Guide-recommended MONO+MONO in New York’s East Village, held its grand opening Saturday at 251 North Ave. West, next to the train station. The 85-seat restaurant features crispy Korean fried chicken and other Korean-inspired fare in a hip atmosphere, complete with a wall of 7,000 vintage jazz records.
The restaurant held its soft opening about two weeks ago. Beginning Monday, Roosterspin will be open for its full regular hours, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Mihae Cho, Roosterspin’s owner and operator, said she fell in love with Westfield the moment she arrived here while scouting out suburban locations for her new restaurant.
“I’m very excited. Really happy,” said Cho. “We want to bring something exciting to the town.”
Roosterspin will host live DJs every Wednesday and Thursday and live jazz bands on Fridays and Saturdays.
The cornerstone of Roosterspin’s menu is made-to-order Korean fried chicken made MONO+MONO famous. The chicken is double-fried to melt away excess fat, resulting in a paper-thin skin that is hand-brushed with either soy-garlic or hot-and-spicy sauce. It is exceptionally crispy outside and juicy within.
The menu also includes several dishes newly created by Executive Chef Hyun Han just for this location, including Rice Burger Sliders (pan-toasted rice buns stuffed with spicy tuna, shrimp and calamari or ground short ribs) and Galbi LA Cut (marinated Korean short ribs laterally cut across the bones and barbecued), as well as Kimchi Fries. Other menu selections include Jeon (traditional Korean savory pancakes), rice and noodle dishes, sushi rolls and heartier fare like ribeye steak.
“At Roosterspin, I serve food that I would serve to my own family,” says Chef Hyun. “It’s all about starting with top quality ingredients and never using MSG. I always incorporate an extra step of preparation to express my love and caring. I’ve designed our dishes to be shared, so people can graze through a wonderful range of flavors that we offer over the course of their meal.”
Chef Hyun was most recently at MONO+MONO, where he led the kitchen for two years and his cooking earned the Michelin Guide’s notice. Prior to that, he was behind the stove at Japanese and Korean restaurants and bars in New York and Los Angeles. Chef Hyun began his culinary career as a personal chef for a Korean general as part of his military service in his native South Korea. He is a graduate of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, where he specialized in the cuisines of France, China and Japan, as well as nutrition.
On the beverage side, Roosterspin offers wines at retail prices in full- and half-size bottles from Gloria J Wines, which operates its winery in San Carlos, Calif. Guests are welcome to bring their own bottles, as well, with no corkage fees.
Roosterspin also serves freshly pressed sugarcane juice plain, with coconut water, ginger and lime or with chlorophyll and lime. Other freshly squeezed juices include apple, orange and watermelon. In addition to coffee, tea and espresso, Wild Bill’s soda—made in New Jersey using cane sugar—is served.
The restaurant held a ribbon cutting Saturday with Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Councilman Mark LoGrippo, Downtown Westfield Corporation Executive Director Sherry Cronin, Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gene Jannotti and others from the Westfield business community in attendance.
“It’s amazing how the town supports the businesses,” said Cho. “Already, this feels like home.”
Roosterspin will take part in the upcoming Downtown Westfield Restaurant Week with $25 three-course prix-fixe dinners. To learn more about Restaurant Week, click here.