Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Quick-service restaurant serving Koji BBQ-inspired Korean tacos and Korean BBQ "banh mi."
At this small Lincoln Park spot with a hip-hop soundtrack, Pete and Irene Jeon make no secret of their debt to the godfather of Korean-Mex street food, Roy Choi of LA's Kogi BBQ food-truck fleet. The pair got off to a running start with their accessible collection of hybrids, headlined by tacos topped with sweet marinated kalbi or chile-spiked pork or chicken. Initially, these were presented as spicy raw-cabbage tacos with a paltry meat garnish, but they've recently been reapportioned, making them well worth the price. The kalbi, pork, and chicken can also be built into banh mi sandwiches, made on crackly baguettes from Uptown's Ba Le Bakery. I'm most partial to the panko-battered shrimp (available on tacos as well): the crunchy tensile pop of the crustaceans with a creamy schmear of sesame-chile aioli combine to remind me of nothing so much as a New Orleans po'boy. The most unlikely experiment, kimchi-and-pork-belly fries, is also the least successful: a soggy mess of underfried spuds slathered in cheese, sour cream, and kimchi, with minuscule scraps of meat. This Korean poutine should never have been allowed out of the lab. On the other hand, jars of straightforward house-made cabbage kimchi are deep and funky, and there's nothing slack about that—and nothing unconventional either, except the $4.50 charge. You can't successfully innovate without a solid grounding in the fundamentals, and good kimchi is a good omen. Read the full review >>
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