A First Look at Korilla BBQ, Back Today on Lex
The inaugural opening of the Korilla BBQ truck has come and gone, and like the launch of any splashy new food venue, there’s been significant hype, incredible lines, a few missteps in execution, and of course, plenty of dissenting opinions. Given the amount of hype that Korilla BBQ has received in the foodie blog-o-sphere over the past months, it was guaranteed that they would be victimized by their own successful marketing campaign. And having sampled the food, I agree with the general consensus on the ML commenters. However, all things considered, I’ll make a bold claim and state that the Korilla BBQ launch was for the most part, a roaring success.
First of all, they’ve done their homework and learned a few lessons from their predecessors. A team of 3 cooks construct the food assembly-line style, while a dedicated cashier finalizes the transaction after you’ve received your food. The somewhat overwhelming listing of ingredients is clearly labeled as you move down the line, though you’re in good hands if you opt to have the Korilla crew pick for you, omakase style. Given the ambitious menu and the crew’s inexperience, the operation was surprisingly efficient. And rest assured, the Korilla BBQ team has pored over the comments on Midtownlunch and is taking our feedback to heart. A few more weeks of practice under their belt, and a few more dollops of spicy gochujang in the Korilla sauce will likely address the majority of comments.
Despite the missteps, we shouldn’t forget that this is truly exciting food. There’s bold flavors and textures derived from the eclectic combination of Korean style proteins and vegetables, both fresh and pickled. The assertive crunch of a spear of cucumber kimchi worked well with a fistful of pulled pork which was soggier than I would have preferred. A vibrant cabbage kimchi slaw hangs well with tender, sweet bulgogi – my favorite protein of the trio of tacos sampled. Tender marinated chicken thighs was my dining companion’s favorite taco ingredient, though the meaty nuggets easily punched through the somewhat flimsy tortilla (a fixable flaw). The mellow Korilla sauce adds richness to the tacos, but could be spicier – the Korilla BBQ crew has promised to bare their teeth and amplify the level of heat in the future. The overall quality of the namul (seasoned veggies) was outstanding, given that it was being served from a street truck.
Unlike some of the gourmet food trucks which can be pricey luxuries, Korilla BBQ’s food is priced at a bargain – easily their biggest selling point. I was more than stuffed after taking down three tacos for $7, and my dining companion’s chosun bowl was a mountain of food at $8. I also witnessed an audaciously large $7 burrito being assembled, easily dwarfing Chipotle’s offerings.
In summary I’m pleased to report that Korilla BBQ did not disappoint. They’ve shown enough savvy with their food and operations to give me comfort that they’ll act on our feedback. There’s a good amount of room for improvement, but all the flaws are easily amendable. The food is tasty, the prices are fair, and they have nowhere to go but up. They may not be the next Kogi truck, yet, but I’m looking forward to good things and future lunches from the Korilla BBQ truck.