Build Your Own Bibimbap at Koso Fresh

Considering how often I’ve been to Treehaus (3rd Ave. btw 50th+51st) in recent weeks, it’s hard to believe that inside I missed  Kosofresh, a separate eatery specializing in build-your-own bibimbap-style rice bowls.

Kosofresh follows the basic Chipotle model: you choose either the Koso-Bap (rice bowl, $8.45) or Koso-Green (salad bowl, $7.45), you choose your protein (bulgogi, soy garlic chicken, spicy pork, or tofu), additional toppings typically found in bibimbap, and your sauce.

The past few times I’ve had bibimbap I’ve chosen bulgogi, so I decided to switch it up and chose the soy garlic chicken for my rice bowl. The chicken itself was flavorful and moist. My only real criticism of it would be that it didn’t look particularly appetizing – nondescript, grey chunks lacking any browning or grill marks. But if we eat with our eyes, we only do so until the food is in our mouths, and this chicken was tasty.

The chicken tasted particularly good with the accompanying sauces. Given the choice of ‘ko-soy’ sesame or spicy or mild gochujang, I went with the staff-recommended spicy gochujang and a touch of sesame oil. The spicy sauce had just the right level of heat and complemented the chicken’s soy garlic marinade.

There are a lot of toppings to choose from at Kosofresh. Unlike Chipotle, where you can load up your burrito with as many as you’d like, Kosofresh limits you to four, and some additional ‘premium’ items cost an extra $.99. To add to my brown rice and chicken, I chose bean sprouts, red pepper, carrots, and red cabbage. Edamame, broccoli, and scallions were other enticing options. Kimchi was likewise available as a premium option, but didn’t look especially promising.

Stirred together, all of the components of my rice bowl tasted good enough, but the bowl was held back by the fact that it wasn’t exactly served hot. I’ve heard of bibimbap being served cold, but Kosofresh’s version is somewhere in between, the rice warm and the chicken barely so.

The other thing is, and maybe I’m nitpicking here, but there is no option for a nice fried egg on top of your bowl. That would have really made this a worthy dish. Maybe the guys at Treehaus’ grill would fry one up for me if I asked nicely.

When all is said and done, Kosofresh is a good option for those who might want to customize their bibimbap, but it isn’t really much better than the bibimbap you can get at any number of delis in the area.

Kosofresh, 3rd Ave. btw 50th+51st (inside Treehaus)


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