Retail in Asia


Breaking into Asia: Why a top US steakhouse is debuting its first international outpost in Singapore

Cote has established itself as one of the finest steakhouses in the United States, earning one-star ratings in the Michelin Guide for both its New York and Miami locations. This year, the upscale restaurant prepares to make its mark on the global culinary scene with the opening of its first international outpost. 

Introduced in New York City in 2017, Cote was designed to attract a diverse clientele and elevate Korean barbecue in the United States with its refined interiors, high quality USDA Prime beef, and focused beverage programme.

Cote’s bid to go global will begin in Singapore, where Gracious Hospitality Management founder Simon Kim has inked a partnership with Singapore conglomerate Como Group. Set to open in the fourth quarter of 2023, Cote Singapore will be housed within the newly unveiled 19-storey Como Orchard, a lifestyle destination spanning retail, dining, and Como’s first hotel in Singapore.

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Retail in Asia chats with Gracious Hospitality Management’s Simon Kim on breaking into the Asian market.

Cote’s founder Simon Kim opened the first Cote restaurant in New York City in 2017 and expanded the concept to Miami in 2021. Cote Singapore marks his group’s entry into Asia. Source: Gracious Hospitality Management
RiA: Cote Singapore marks the steakhouse’s first international outpost. Why do you think now is the right time to expand overseas, and in Asia in particular? 

Kim: It has always been a dream of mine to take Cote international. When I visited Singapore for the first time, I fell in love with the city, the people, and the culture – which are all essential criteria when I’m selecting new destinations. 

Singapore is a bustling hub filled with so much vibrancy and diversity and the people have such a high level of sophistication – I knew right away Singapore would be a perfect fit for Cote. 

When I was presented with the opportunity to partner with Christina Ong and Como Group, it felt like the stars aligned. Como Group has such an established reputation in Singapore and is known for providing ultra-luxury experiences across all its brands. Cote is fairly young and innovative, so to have the opportunity to partner with such a distinguished brand during their pivotal homecoming moment is a dream come true. 

RiA: Can you tell us how you arrived at the Cote concept and what made it unique at the time of its opening in New York?

Kim: I always dreamed of opening my own restaurant. My incredible team at Gracious Hospitality Management helped turn that dream into a reality when we opened Cote in 2017. Cote is the world’s first and only Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse, blending my upbringing and experience with Korean barbecue and the classic American steakhouse, which was introduced to me when I moved to New York at 13 years old. 

When we first opened and still to this day, people who dine at Cote experience the best of both worlds, the quality meats you find at an American steakhouse (we offer 14 cuts of meat), along with the fun and fire of Korean BBQ with our in-table grills. 

We have also introduced an unexpected pairing: wine with Korean flavours. Our beverage programme is just as robust as our food offerings, we wanted our guests to feel inspired to go on a journey and try something new, whether it’s a new dish or a new type of wine.

Source: Gracious Hospitality Management
RiA: Can diners at Cote Singapore expect anything unique to this location?

Kim: Cote Singapore, while still paying homage to our NYC and Miami locations, is a multi-faceted project that will have its own distinct personality and design that will embrace the city and its people. We’re doing something new and exciting for our team with this Como Group partnership, bringing unique elements and immersive spaces only available in Singapore.

RiA: How did the partnership with Como Group come about?

Kim: I had the opportunity to meet with Christina Ong and learn about Como Group’s vision of bringing unique culinary, wellness, and lifestyle experiences to Singapore with the introduction of Como Orchard. Based on our personal and brand values, I knew Como Group was the perfect partner for our first international venture. I am beyond honoured that we get to work with Como Group for their homecoming project and bring the Como experience to Singapore. 

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RiA: What’s next for Gracious Hospitality Management?

Kim: We are entering a momentous phase of growth here at Gracious Hospitality Management. Alongside the opening of Cote Singapore, we have two New York projects in the works. Coqodaq, a new fried chicken concept, will be opening later this year, located only two blocks from Cote NYC, and we have a multi-level project at 550 Madison Avenue in the works. I am beyond grateful to my growing team of dragon slayers who have helped make this all possible.