This sign above Korean barbecue favorite Cho Sun OK may just be the fanciest thing about this place, but when you’re there to fire up your table charcoal grill and cook up Korean BBQ accompanied by a killer array of small plates, salads and bites, the surroundings don’t matter much. The place is pretty bare-bones (with some nondescript tables and what look like Himalayan salt block sculptures scattered throughout), but perpetually packed with a line out the door, so on my visit the only available seat without a long wait was a quick at the bar (no grill), and our tender, tangy short ribs and charcoal-broiled tender beef were brought to us cooked. But before that all arrived, it was the Korean seafood rice flour pancake that I still think about and crave, pretty much on a daily basis. Loaded with scallion, slim slices of bright green onion, calamari and other juicy seafood baked into a not-too-greasy pancake with a tangy soy-based dipping sauce. Surprisingly enough, it was too big to finish, but the leftovers were also killer the next day.
As I mentioned, we did an abbreviated version of Cho (sans table grillage), but our meat arrived perfectly cooked, seasoned and sliced with an endless array of small plates filled with cucumber salad, fish cakes, bean sprouts, potato salad, kimchee and other bright vegetables and sides to mix and match.
If we had sat at a regular table, that spread would’ve looked something like this…
We left Cho Sun mostly full of meat, pancakes and veggies, and that telltale Korean BBQ smell, but I’d like to go back to try the more traditional Korean dishes like japchae, bi bim bap and some of the codfish and mackerel dishes, and definitely take a crack at cooking up some of our own ‘cue. Cho Sun OK, 4200 N. Lincoln Ave., 773.549.5555