Bbbop's Kalbi Lettuce Wraps

Restaurant Review: Bbbop Seoul Kitchen

Fast-casual Korean on Lowest Greenville.

There’s an art to traditional Korean bibimbop, protein and vegetables (pickled and fresh) served over rice. Comfort food, yes, but every bite—spicy, crunchy, savory—should excite. In theory. My tablemate’s For Realz Bop had a classic profile, with blanched, marinated zucchini, bean sprouts, and carrots, short rib, and a terrific gochujang-based fire sauce, pungent and cochineal red. She happily stirred her egg and dug in. Coconut Curry Bop’s balanced flavors made great friends with honey-colored sweet-potato beer on tap. But I plodded through my Kimchi Bop. Complex, carefully fermented in-house kimchi was dragged down by tough steak and listless peas, and its walloping spice smothered subtleties. In an over-the-top order of Gangnam Kimchi Fries, the kimchi joined a freight of too-sweet braised pork, candied jalapeños, Sriracha mayo, and curry-ranch powder that engulfed a weak base of limp fries. Small plates of classic grilled meats provided much better partners. Glazed pork belly, seared and sesame-sprinkled; lettuce wraps with juicy short rib and half-moons of daikon radish—the meat was delicious, and the kimchi’s subtleties shone in a slaw. With its super-trendy location and fast-casual model, authentic-leaning Bbbop has a dual calling. You decide what to pair with your sweet-potato beer.

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