Chosun Korean BBQ
Tucked away in strip malls, both locations of this family-owned business are slightly pricier options for Korean barbecue. Traditional Korean BBQ tables await those choosing to do their own grilling, but regular tables are also available for those wanting a non-barbecue experience. Proteins can be ordered individually or as combos. Thin slices of rolled raw brisket create a dazzling presentation with their bright-pink hue.
Noodle dishes, bento boxes and bibimbap are just a few non-barbecue related entrees. Both restaurants are casual and equipped with small bars that can be enjoyed with a bottle of soju while K-pop music plays overhead.
When chef Keeyoung Kim opened his Westport restaurant last year, he was determined to avoid pan-Asian dishes and to exclusively serve Korean food. Chingu’s menu accounts for all styles of Korean cuisine—homestyle cooking, barbecue and street food. The portions are large, and dishes like bossam (DIY pork belly wraps) and L.A. galbi are meant to be shared family-style. For those unfamiliar with Korean cuisine in general or a menu item, the servers are prepared to answer any questions and make recommendations.
The bar, lit up by a pink neon sign in the shape of Chingu’s mascot (a tiger and magpie), serves creative cocktails highlighting Korean spirits along with wine, beer and soju. K-dramas play on the television, and a large wall covered with an illustration by local illustrator Frank Norton provides a vibrant, fun ambiance.
When I reviewed Chingu in March, I thoroughly enjoyed the kimchi jjigae and kimchi pajeon. And for imbibing, the Korean-style old fashioned infused with gochujang should not be missed.
Located inside the downtown Commerce Bank building, this Korean-owned spot passes as a traditional American breakfast and lunch spot. The menu is filled with the usual salad and sandwiches, but the owner’s Korean roots show in the beef bulgogi wrap and bibimbap special.
Four locations around KC including Waldo, Overland Park and Lee’s Summit, bibibop.com
Often called the Chipotle of Korean food—and in fact owned by the Chipotle of burrito fame—Bibibop is a great place to take someone unfamiliar with the flavors of the cuisine. There are four Bibibops across the city, and all offer the same build-a-bowl model where you select from beef, chicken or tofu in various flavors with a starchy base of sweet potato noodles, salad or purple rice. The sauces make the meal: The spicy gochujang is highly recommended, but you also can’t go wrong with the classic ginger teriyaki.
One of the most singular Korean restaurants in KC serves almost everything on a stick. K-Street Hot Dogs is based around a ubiquitous Seoul street food called hasdogeu, which, like its cornmeal-coated brethren, comes on a stick rather than between a bun. At Ssong’s Hot Dogs, which is in the same Overland Park plaza as 92 Chicken (see page 60), you’ll stroll up to the touchscreen kiosk and place your order. The dogs feature beef frank—standard, spicy or paired with mozzarella or cheddar—dipped into a panko, rice flour and wheat flour batter. There are also rice cakes on a stick, seaweed spring rolls on a stick and a chicken skewer on a stick. The waffles fries are not on a stick but worth ordering anyway.
Boru Asian Eatery
Boru is an Asian fusion restaurant in Waldo that has gone through a few iterations since opening as a ramen bar back in 2017. You’ll still find ramen on the menu, along with dandan noodles and sushi, but there’s also a deep well of Korean-influenced dishes like kimchi French fries, bulgogi lettuce wraps and chicken wings in the Korean style (see page 60).
K-Bites Kimchi and Bap
Lisa Hamblen began cooking traditional Korean meals at the Lenexa Public Market as a way to explore her Korean roots. Her pop-ups sold out nearly every weekend and earned her an official vendor space. She keeps her menu items traditional, with meat- and vegetable-focused dishes and no shortage of flavor (especially with her homemade banchan).
Kobi-Q’s cool yet unfussy atmosphere allows the food to take center stage. The menu has a heavy Korean influence, but crab rangoon, fried rice and Japanese fried pork can all be found on the menu here, too.
The menu features an extensive list of starters, including house-made kimchi accompanied by homey meat-focused entrees of fried chicken, spicy pork barbecue with rice cakes, and beef short ribs.
Asian-imported beers, Japanese whiskey on the rocks, sake and soju are all offered as libations. Soju and sake bombs (a shot of your chosen spirit served with an imported beer) are also available to imbibe.
This no-frills Korean BBQ restaurant is slightly hidden near a shopping center in North Overland Park and is easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. The atmosphere is relaxed, meaning there’s no push to get you out the door fast.
Unlike Chosun, this joint is all you can eat for $32.95, and that includes fourteen proteins like slices of spicy pork belly, beef bulgogi or spicy squid. For $44.95, you can upgrade to a mean ribeye steak. Served alongside the grillable proteins are pickled radish, salad and three dipping sauces. Then, as your meal progresses, your choice of kimchi or soybean paste soup will arrive along with steamed egg and cheesy corn. Reservations are encouraged for BBQ, but you can also order off a regular menu that doesn’t involve cooking for yourself. Either way, you certainly won’t leave here hungry.
Located in Parlor food hall, Korean comfort food consists of dumplings, kimchi fried rice and bibimbap. We reviewed Sura’s sister business, Westport’s Chingu, in March and were impressed by the dining experience. Chef Keeyoung Kim is explorative yet unpretentious with his menus.
Tables are equipped with individual hot pot stoves and a grill for the whole table. This Asian fusion restaurant is all-you-can-eat, and a condiment bar allows you to create your own sauces with the help of recipes. Ordering is done on a tablet, and service is quick.