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Oct 21, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Korean’

The Scoop: Yori opens in Chesterfield

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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Don’t let the Kampai Sushi Bar sign fool you. Yori, a new Korean restaurant, has opened at 1637 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield.

As reported by Feast, co-owners Sae Kim and Jay Moon were looking for a place to expand from their flagship location in West Lafayette, Indiana, and discovered one of Kim’s St. Louis friends, the owner of Kampai Sushi Bar, wanted to leave the 2,200-square-foot space in West County. Kim and Moon said they welcomed the opportunity to expand the neighborhood’s palate. “We’re trying to introduce our authentic Korean food to people who aren’t so familiar with it,” said Moon.

A few signature dishes include the galbi, short ribs marinated with Korean barbecue sauce, and soon tofu soup. “The tofu has a very silky smooth texture, and we make the broth with seafood and beef stock so it has a very deep flavor,” said Moon.

Kim and Moon quietly opened the 85-seat space three weeks ago, and it will hold a grand opening next week partly to celebrate one important change. “Our sign still shows Kampai Sushi Bar. We are just waiting to get a new sign,” said Moon, laughing.

Yori is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 9:30 p.m.

The Scoop: David Choi to move Seoul Taco, open new Korean barbecue restaurant, Seoul Q

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

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{Seoul Taco owner David Choi}

 

Seoul Taco‘s brick-and-mortar is moving around the corner to a larger space in the Delmar Loop, and owner David Choi is adding a second concept to the new space – a cook-at-the-table Korean barbecue and hotpot restaurant, Seoul Q. Both restaurants will open at 6665 Delmar Blvd., former home to Ginger Bistro.

The move, scheduled for December, gives Choi 3,700 more square feet. Half of the new location will operate as Seoul Taco and the other half will be Seoul Q, which will have cooking implements and eight to 10 barbecue grills at the tables.

The menu at the new concept will include meats, traditional Korean banchan, or sides, like pickled vegetables, tofu, stews and soups. Diners will have the option to cook marinated or plain meats, which will be served with dipping sauces to eat inside as ssamjang, Korean lettuce wraps. Sauces include a sesame oil-based sauce with salt and pepper and one made with gochujang, a spicy, slightly sweet fermented chile paste.

Another menu item Choi is excited about is bo ssom, pork belly simmered in Korean spices for eight to 10 hours and paired with fresh tofu and kimchee. “(The recipe has) been in my family for years,” he said.

Choi has also secured a liquor license for each restaurant, and he plans to serve local craft brews at Seoul Taco and soju cocktails at Seoul Q.

Except for the addition of liquor, the menu at Seoul Taco (which fuses Korean barbecue and Mexican cuisine) won’t change, Choi said. It’ll still offer its famous Korean bulgogi (marinated steak) that Choi learned from his mother and grandmother and tweaked himself. The move came about because Seoul Taco’s existing 900-square-foot location was too cramped, especially since it also serves as commissary kitchen for its food truck. “It’s been elbow to elbow, whether it’s in the back of the house or the front of the house,” Choi said. The new restaurant will seat 160 total, 80 seats on each side for Seoul Taco and Seoul Q.

-photo by David W. Johnson Photography

Ask the Chef: David Choi

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013



Seoul Taco co-owner David Choi built his food truck into one of the city’s most popular, then took a wild leap and opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant with the same name in The Loop this past fall. He still hits the road, though. In fact, one of his prize gigs is feeding the St. Louis Rams – a group whom he said can really put it away.

What did you do before you bought a food truck? [Co-owner] Andy [Heck] and I had to quit our jobs. I was a valet attendant at St. Mary’s Hospital, and Andy was in mortgages. I had just saved for six months to buy a car, and then to buy the truck, I had to sell it! We had to go to the East Coast to get the truck; we finally found it in Philadelphia. It used to be a Philly cheesesteak wagon.

I imagine you use Seoul Taco’s new brick-and-mortar location’s kitchen to prep everything for the truck each day? Yes, that was one of the main purposes of getting the brick-and-mortar location, to cater the truck. Our truck is parked right behind the store. Tomorrow we’re catering for the St. Louis Rams, and we need a commissary available at all times for things like that. We cater for them once or twice a month. We make a huge buffet for them. They eat tons of food. It’s ridiculous. (Laughs) We have bowls they can make on their own with all three barbecued meats we offer, and taco shells, too. They all love the Seoul Sauce. They call it “the moneymaker.” What’s in the Seoul Sauce? Mayonnaise is the base, and there are three other ingredients to make it spicy. I can’t tell you what those are – after all, it’s “the moneymaker”!

Do you have a larger menu at the restaurant than on the truck? Yes, physically we probably have the smallest truck in St. Louis. It’s hard to expand from what we do now on the truck, with the space we have. But in our restaurant we have a new burrito with kimchi-fried rice, your choice of meat, scallions, carrots, two specialty sauces, sour cream and cheese. You can also get a side of kimchi-fried rice. We want to expand the menu more, with possibly more Korean foods.

I understand your Korean bulgogi marinade is a family recipe? I learned it from my mom, and my grandma came in and tweaked it too. And then I doctored it from my tastings, too.

What did you do before you bought a food truck? [Co-owner] Andy [Heck] and I had to quit our jobs. I was a valet attendant at St. Mary’s Hospital and Andy was in mortgages. I had just saved for six months to buy a car, and then, to buy the truck I had to sell it! We had to go to the East Coast to get the truck; we finally found it in Philadelphia. It used to be a Philly cheese steak wagon.

What is in the Seoul Sauce? Mayonnaise is the base, and there are three other ingredients to make it spicy. I can’t tell you what those are. It’s “the moneymaker”!

Like bibimbap? Our Gogi Bowl basically is bibimbap.

You must have so many college students who come to your restaurant, right there in the heart of the Loop. Absolutely, that was the main reason we moved into this spot. We had already built up a Wash U. clientele with the truck. The foot traffic here is unparalleled in the city, too.

I hear you often have longest line at Food Truck Friday. That’s correct, from what I hear, but usually my back is turned – I’m looking at the grill for four hours straight!

What sort of wild adventures have you had while working in the truck? We used to park in front of the Library Annex club on weekend nights and we would see the craziest stuff – a lot of people stumbling over. We had one guy stumble down the steps and then right into the truck and proceed to order a taco. You see some crazy things.

What was it like choosing a design for the exterior of the truck? At first I just wanted it to look like a Korean Air airplane (http://www.airlinereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Korean-A380-2-5-11.jpg) which is sky blue, but then a buddy designed it, and that was a better look.

Does the truck have a name, like Bertha or Big Daddy? Yes! We call it “Little Blue.”

I understand you have plans to buy a second food truck? Yes. Once we get established at the brick-and-mortar location we might expand into another truck for St. Louis, or maybe other prospective cities.

You must have a dependable system worked out for where to park the truck each day. At our regular places we now know our regular customers by their names, so it’s hard to go to other spots when people are counting on us, but we do switch it up sometimes. We tell everyone what we’re doing on Facebook and Twitter, of course – and because of Facebook and Twitter we haven’t had to spend too much money on advertising.

What’s going on now with issues regarding where you park? I understand there has been a problem with Clayton and Wash U.? Right now the city of Clayton is preventing us from parking on the Clayton side of Wash. U. It’s a bummer because we’ve been working with the Catholic Student Center since it opened. Our deal was, we parked on their property, and we donated money to their annual international student trips. But for the time being, that’s all suspended. We thought the city didn’t have jurisdiction on Wash. U.’s private property, but I guess we were wrong.

This isn’t a question, but congratulations on being named one of the best food trucks in the country by the Daily Meal. Thank you!

571 Melville Ave, U. City, 314.863.1148, seoultacostl.com, track the truck on Twitter @SeoulTaco

— photo by Amy Shromm

Meatless Monday: Everest Café’s Thanksgiving feast minus the turkey (and the guilt)

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Everest Café’s weekday downtown lunch buffet is a vegetarian’s version of a Thanksgiving feast – but even better because you won’t have to wait for the fourth Thursday in November. It also won’t leave you in a tryptophan coma. Everest’s buffet is a guilt-free Nepalese, Indian and Korean feast made with fresh ingredients and the intention of promoting healthy living.

While this buffet can appear overwhelming with so many great meatless eats in one place, here’s a sampling of a few must-save-room-for items.

The Vegetable Korma, a thick Indian coconut curry, is sweetened by tomatoes and seasoned with a heavy hand of turmeric, which provides its golden hue. The sauce itself has subtle depth of flavor thanks to key ingredients like chili and ginger. Stewed onions, cauliflower and zucchini immersed in the curry are the perfect sponge to transfer all this goodness to your mouth.

The Chap Chae is a Korean dish of sweet potato noodles with hints of honey. The soft, slivery strands are mixed with thinly diced veggies, such as carrots and onions. Sure, you’ll find some other carbs in the buffet line like Basmati and egg-fried rice, but these noodles are the ones to try.

The Vegetable Pakora is vegan junk food. Different types of squash are breaded, deep fried and ready to sop up whatever sauces are left on your plate. The chickpea flour used for the breading is less oily than a tempura batter that you might find in Japanese restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ll still be loading up on mashed potatoes, casseroles and other meatless sides on actual Thanksgiving. But when I’m in need of a feast that just so happens to be meatless, well, now you know to whom I’m giving thanks.

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