As the two most prominent Korean restaurants holding their ground in Collegetown, Koko and Four Seasons are definitely worthy of a comparison. The Sun has compared the two restaurants before, but this time, I wanted to try out a couple different dishes and revisit the topic.
Right after college friends’ Dan Levya ’14, Kevin Mok ’14, Raunak Nirmal ’14 and Mike Wang graduated from Cornell and moved to New York City, their dream was to bring their favorite Cornell restaurant into their adult lives and open a Wings Over branch in The City. After several events — restaurant closings and openings and franchise takeovers — they are now business partners and in charge of the entire Wings Over corporation.
Prelim season getting you down? Start your morning off with something sweet yet healthy from Chatty Cathy! The charming cafe is located in Collegetown on Eddy Street and specializes in coffee, tea, freshly pressed juices and healthy food bowls. Since it’s opening in March of 2017, students have raved about this juice joint for its health-infused products.
It’s basically a ritual for newly arrived, over-eager freshmen: Flock into Collegetown on a blustery weekend night and live it up in one of the many fraternity annexes surrounding Eddy Street. After we’ve had our fill, this sizable portion of the Cornell population stumbles back to Collegetown’s late-night cafes and restaurants, exhausted and ravenous from a long day of studying and partying.
Around 7 p.m. Thursday evening, the power went out for many Collegetown businesses on the 400 block of College Avenue — plunging student hangouts like Collegetown Bagels, Rulloff’s, Apollo’s and 7/11 into near-darkness. Calls made by the businesses to NYSEG had employees estimating that power will return to the block by 9:45 p.m.
The entrance to the Collegetown favorite is recognizable by its yellow signage. Customers pass through its black doors into the eatery, arriving at wooden tables that stare into the restaurant’s open kitchen. A side wall divides the restaurant into two dining rooms co-serving Cantonese-influenced cuisine and Vietnamese specialties, and frequent patrons to the restaurant cross-order dishes from the two menus. The sidewalls are simply decorated with a Southeast Asian influence, exemplified by the woven bamboo patterns and the floor’s turmeric colored tiles. Here, owner Helen Wong serves a variety of authentic Vietnamese specialties created from her memories. Helen had left her home country of Vietnam to come to Ithaca as a refugee in 1979.
My “college cooking” expectations quickly confronted reality during my first few weeks back at school this year. Since the last few months of my freshman year, I planned the big move into my first apartment, as well as built my website, the Collegetown Kitchen. I drew from my knowledge as a home cook, my experience working at a bakery and the advice of many trusted cooks to curate the perfect recipe for college cooking success. I wrote lists of pantry-staple ingredients one can’t do without and what to use them for, named every piece of cooking equipment a student might need, explained basic food safety and published over 3o recipes and articles adapted to a minimalist kitchen and a college budget. And then a couple of days after arriving in Ithaca, mono hit.