Miss Yoon offers chef-owner a chance at Korean-inspired reinvention
Miss Yoon may be a newcomer to Ashland’s Railroad District, but the chef-owner is no stranger.
Rather than succumb to pandemic restrictions, Lynn Flattley saw a chance for reinvention. Her alter ego, Miss Yoon is fresh-faced but sophisticated, exuberant but confident. In the updated location of Flattley’s former Coquina, Korean-inspired cuisine fills a different niche while leaving room for some high points of the chef’s decades in fine dining.
Seafood, citrus and plant-based dishes make strong statements for Miss Yoon’s early spring debut. But Flattley stakes a claim to some of Korea’s greatest hits: fried chicken, pork dumplings and the genre of fresh, cooked and fermented vegetables known as “banchan” ($9), which our server deemed indispensable to a Miss Yoon meal.
I zeroed in on custard steeped with sunchoke and the Korean rice wine “makkoli.” A platform for sea urchin and carrot “caviar,” this is Flattley’s latest twist on a dish that served her — and her diners — well at Coquina. The $26 price for a “snack,” as listed on the menu, gave me only the slightest pause. Sea urchin isn’t easy to come by in Rogue Valley restaurants, and I knew Flattley would do it justice.
Anchovy, similarly, isn’t widely consumed in this region, and I was willing to take a chance on Flattley’s preparation with peanuts for the comparatively meager price of $9. My partner was fascinated with the concept of a “curry doughnut,” prepared either with beef or tofu for $10. But the accompanying powdered blue cheese — Rogue Creamery Blue Heaven — caused him to reconsider.
We also weighed a potato salad with cured egg yolk and salmon roe ($20). Green beans and eggplant with buckwheat-scallion crisp ($16) would have been an obvious choice in summer.
“Soju” — often characterized as Korean vodka — and makkoli ($11-$17) occupy significant space in Miss Yoon’s beverage program. Seven Oregon and imported wines are available by the glass. But reds, white, roses and “bubbles” chiefly are sold by the bottle from $36 for Prosecco to $204 for José Michel Champagne.
Miss Yoon’s house cocktails ($15 each) play up the restaurant’s theme with flavors of yuzu, shiso, ginger, hibiscus and even kimchi in a namesake martini with a blue cheese-stuffed olive. I favored the apricot shrub paired with Four Roses Whiskey in Miss Yoon’s “Golden Palm” while my partner selected tequila accented with blood orange in the “542.”
Preparation was a bit on the slow side, our server conceded, but the drinks came out prettily garnished if a bit heavy on crushed ice. Hinting at lemon and ginger, my cocktail was delicious while my partner’s lacked the blood orange’s acid and ginger’s distinctive punch.
Three small plates of banchan arrived swiftly, offering cucumber, turnip, potato, greens, kimchi and fermented garlic for nibbling. None of the flavors were overpowering, despite their obvious seasoning with chiles, and tantalized our taste buds for richer dishes to come.
A plate of peanuts that followed the banchan suggested an accompaniment to the anchovies, which our server described as fried. Closer inspection revealed minuscule, whole fish interspersed with the legumes. My partner kept insisting the fish were missing, until I pointed out a tiny eyeball.
I relished the crunch, salt and savor of Flattley’s snack that essentially riffs on bar nuts and pretzels. To be fair, however, a more accurate menu description would be peanuts seasoned with dried fish.
The custard was everything the menu promised — and more — with a dollop of briny roe alongside the impeccable urchin. I encouraged my partner to plumb the glass’s depths to retrieve a thick, silky scoop of custard with bits of crispy fried shallot and gelatinous carrot.
Subtly flavored, the dish celebrated contrasting textures and the shellfish’s saltwater aroma. The antithesis of the anchovy dish, which can stand up to strong liquor, this elegant custard begged for a flute of bubbly.
Instead I ordered a glass of Scenic Valley Farms Gruner Veltliner ($14), a crisp white that’s full-bodied enough to highlight the variety of proteins in Miss Yoon’s shellfish stew with rice ($36). Lacking cod listed on the menu — thereby eliminating an entirely separate dish with golden beets — the kitchen was substituting crab, our server said.
Spiced with saffron and Korea’s fermented chile paste “gochujang,” the broth was so harmoniously concentrated that trying to discern individual elements was futile. The steamed white rice didn’t just bulk up the dish; it was an essential carrier for the broth that — on its own — dominated, despite generous portions of toothsome mussels and clams, delicate crabmeat and a raft of tender tofu that gave the palate a place to rest.
Several iterations of tofu don’t just cater to vegetarians and vegans at Miss Yoon. Bean curd keeps company with meat in any number of Asian dishes, and Flattley’s stew is a prime example. Tofu also can be ordered in “pockets” ($15) and as “nuggets” ($17) in lieu of fried wings and drumettes.
Miss Yoon’s dessert menu is the first locally to incite my craving for every item: rhubarb cheesecake ($12), yuzu curd tartlet ($12) and upside down manquat cake ($13). Again, Flattley pushes the envelope by excluding chocolate, at least to start.
The cheesecake, however, substituted Asian pear. And while richly satisfying, perfectly sized and technically flawless, it lacked the expected tang of rhubarb. Had our server mentioned the switch, I happily would have selected the tartlet, not least for its acorn crust.
Located at 542 A St., Miss Yoon is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Walk-ins are welcome. See updates and message for reservations (parties of six or larger) on Instagram @heymissyoon. The restaurant website is under construction.
The big cheese is back in Central Point this spring.
Oregon Cheese Festival is planned for April 2-3 at the Jackson County Expo. Formerly adjacent to Central Point’s Rogue Creamery, the festival relocated for its return to in-person festivities after 2020’s cancellation and 2021’s virtual event. This year’s festival is for ages 21 and older.
About 50 producers of artisan cheeses, beverages and accompaniments will offer tasting and purchasing of their goods from
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2, until 4 p.m. April 3. Sales of beverages by the glass and food truck fare also is available at the Expo’s Seven Feathers Event Center, 1 Peninger Road.
Ticket prices are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, with a $15 to $20 add-on for beverage sampling, which includes a keepsake glass. VIP entry at 10 a.m. with a goodie bag costs an additional $20. Or purchase a two-day pass with drink tasting, early entry and goodie bag for $70. Purchase at oregoncheesefestival.com
Proceeds from Oregon Cheese Festival go to Oregon’s artisan cheesemakers and the nonprofit Oregon Cheese Guild, a collaborative effort to increase awareness of the state’s artisanal cheeses, create educational opportunities and provide a platform for cooperation and shared resources among Oregon cheesemakers.
Although pandemic mask restrictions are due to be lifted statewide, event organizers may request either proof of coronavirus vaccination or negative COVID test if conditions present increased risk to the community or vendors.
Ashland Wine Cellar is moving above ground.
After 42 years in subterranean digs on Ashland’s Lithia Way, the wine shop’s new location is at 357 E. Main St., formerly Platt Anderson Cellars. Ashland Wine Cellar’s longtime store marked its last day Thursday.
Wines by the glass, specialty foods, wine flights, bottle sales, classes and other wine education will complement Ashland Wine Cellar’s signature wine clubs in its new location. See shop.ashlandwinecellar.com or call 541-488-2111.
Take-and-bake cheese pizzas and vegetable lasagna are new at Medford’s Dunbar Farms.
The entrées complement weekly salad and soup specials available for Friday pickup by pre-order or at Dunbar’s “honor barn” farm stand. The tasting room and on-site food service on Medford’s Hillcrest Road is closed for remodeling until April 1, said manager Nick Stevenson.
Priced at $30, Dunbar’s lasagna feeds four people. A 10-inch cheese pizza made from scratch costs $10. Two servings of salad costs $10, and 32 ounces of soup is $16. See dunbarfarms.com and click on “order now.”
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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.