We may never get a Kogi in this city, but New Yorkers consoled themselves this week with the opening of Korilla BBQ, a Mexican-Korean mashup that takes the now well-worn premise to the streets. As with any hyped opening, the lines wrapped around the block, with some hungry lunchers waiting in excess of 45 minutes for their grub. So are these burrito-slingers just another passing fad, or will they turn out be the 800lb Korilla in the room? To the early word:
The Great News: Serious Eats commenter apikoros18 loved what he tried on his first visit that he went back the next day. "I enjoyed it so much on Monday that I went back today AND got a burrito to take home for my wife in addition to a chosun bowl for me. It is good but the standout is the Bacon Kimchi rice by FAR. They also had HUGE portions of meat on Monday and today they were noticeably smaller... to the point that I think they went to much the other way. My recco is to go with the Chosun bowl, as you get 7 choices for the salad, like a mini-Banchan. Well worth it." [SE]
The Nothing Special News: Yelper Eric C. likes that Korean food is becoming more popular, he just wishes the food was better. "I had a pulled pork burrito, with korilla sauce/hot sauce, red radish, fried rice and lettuce. Overall, it was OK but nothing spectacular. The korilla sauce is very good, which makes up for the rest of the bland ingredients. The fried rice, which is $1 extra, isn't worth the extra cost. You can't taste it in the burrito at all. I do love what these guys are doing. Any exposure for the korean cuisine is a good thing. Just wish the ingredients were more flavorful." [Yelp]
The Over-Hyped News: Blog frites & fries brings their parents for lunch and vows never to wait in a line that long ever again. "Chef and I were pretty excited to take Chef’s parents to the first Korean taco truck in New York City, Korilla. This food truck has had tons of press coverage lately but too much coverage results in a backlash: so much hype is built up that you always end up being a bit disappointed because you expected mind blowing food. Granted, it’s only their second day and they’re probably still trying to work out the details. I don’t think I’ll ever wait in a line that long again (almost an entire east-west block!), but it was pretty good." [frites&fries]
The Good News: Midtown Lunch stops by on Day one and has this to say: "I’ll make a bold claim and state that the Korilla BBQ launch was for the most part, a roaring success...Given the ambitious menu and the crew’s inexperience, the operation was surprisingly efficient...A few more weeks of practice under their belt, and a few more dollops of spicy gochujang in the Korilla sauce will likely address the majority of comments. Despite the missteps, we shouldn’t forget that this is truly exciting food. There’s bold flavors and textures derived from the eclectic combination of Korean style proteins and vegetables, both fresh and pickled...Unlike some of the gourmet food trucks which can be pricey luxuries, Korilla BBQ’s food is priced at a bargain." [ML]
The Great News: Taste of Buzz NYC is a fast fan: "I got back to the office and opened up my lunch and the angels were singing. I got 3 tacos with bulgogi (all-natural ribeye), tomato salsa, korilla sauce ( a spicy mayo sauce), and kimchi slaw all for $7. The meat was juicy and flavorful, the korilla sauce had just enough kick, and the kimchi slaw was on point." [Taste of Buzz]
The Not so Awesome News: Midtown Luncher Midtown Jimmi had a piss poor experience on opening day. "I was on the line before it opened too. Had the tacos. They work quick. I wasn’t impressed with the food. I got three tacos (also because they didn’t have the chompers): one chicken, one pork, one beef; one with red kimchi, one with summer kimchi, one with cucumber kimchi. All with the Korilla sauce. I started eating the tacos as I walked away from the truck, and the meat was already getting ice cold. All three meats were tasteless, meat fiber with no noticeable flavor from seasoning or cooking. The kimchi were all bland, NO spiciness — and I’m usually sensitive to spiciness — they might as well have put cole slaw on top...Nice guys, I’m sure the food will improve." [ML Comments]
The Mostly Good News: See Jessica Go deems it mostly a win: "We all thoroughly enjoyed our lunch (as evidenced by the silence for the first 5 minutes while we scarfed it down) and appreciated that we were satisfied, but still felt healthy after we finished. I think this will be a compelling selling point since so many people (like me) sit for 10-14 hours a day at our desks, fretting about gaining weight (and it's not just girls)! I have to admit though, the food didn't taste as Korean as I expected, although hey, it's a fusion thing, so maybe that's what it's going for. Not sure if it was the meat or maybe because I got the healthy bowl version. I think I will go back and try the tacos some other time though and give it another try!