My first experience with En Hakkore, a new Korean restaurant in Bucktown, was straight from a styrofoam box. My friend had gotten carry-out from there and invited me to help her dig into the bibimbap bowl bursting with colorful, fresh vegetables, a rainbow of roe, and juicy bulgogi. Not only was I happy that I no longer had to schlep up to Cho Sun Ok for an authentic taste of Korean BBQ, but I couldn’t wait to go and see for myself what brilliant kitchen whipped up this healthy bowl of vegetables. I gathered some friends expecting a cramped, sit-down spot filled with grease-covered grills, vents and surly servers, but En Hakkore is quite the opposite. It’s an order-at-the-counter kind of place, no booze, with a somewhat limited, but delicious menu of bibimbap, pork belly paninis, sushi rolls and the most ridiculous taco you’ve ever had.
But first the bowls. Literally bursting with over a dozen vegetables (think romaine, cabbage, cilantro, carrots, peppers, and more) serve as the base, while rice, hard-boiled eggs small mountains of tobiko, and a choice of Korean BBQ or pork spiced up with Korean hot sauce are just a few options.
The bowls were fresh, light and very easily sharable (3 of us couldn’t finish 2 bowls!), but the paratha tacos took my heart. I am not the first to gush, but these are so worth the praise. Grilled Indian flatbread wraps around juicy pieces of Korean beef, scallions, cilantro, pickled daikon, lettuce, Korean chile paste and spicy mayo, which pulls all the flavor together. There are plenty of delicious tacos around town, but the sweet, dense-but-bubbly flat bread takes these tacos into obsession mode.
En Hakkore, 1840 N. Damen