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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chego: Really Good Kochujang-Lacquered Pork Belly Cubes But Not Much Else

My review of Roy Choi's A-Frame was harsh and I must say I wasn't a big fan of his first casual joint post-Kogi truck, Chego, either.
The one and only thing I would return for was the wonderfully glistening cubes of pork belly that were in the rice bowls. The problem was there were too many things going on in the bowl. I liked the fried egg, since anything tastes better with an oozing fried egg, but the radishes, water spinach, cilantro, cotija cheese and peanuts was just too much. Combining all these elements made it hard to discern any taste.

The chicken bowl dubbed the Hen House, wasn't much better. I couldn't taste the grilled part, for one. Still loved the fried egg, but the other stuff, like Chinese broccoli, sour cream sambal, Thai basil, sesame and red jalapeño, again just got lumped into this big old mesh that didn't taste like anything.

I mean I love the concept of rice bowls. I have them all the time. But these didn't work for me.

I felt the same way about the fries, which also had the sour cream sambal, and came with melted monterey jack and cheddar cheese, cotija, chillies, cilantro and pickled garlic.

The five-kimchi sampler was nothing special either. It included radish, fennel, cucumber and cabbage but while it was interesting to try fennel kimchi, it wasn't great.

The donut balls as a finale was just ok. I wouldn't get them again. 

I did really like the vibe of the place though. Communal tables, order at the counter, pay and they bring over your food for you. Great music and crowd. But alas, the food didn't impress me.

That said, I am curious to try the prime rib fried rice or rice plate. Oh, and the sriracha bar consisting of chocolate crisped rice bottom, caramel, Sriracha ganache, spiced candied peanuts and dark chocolate. Interesting. 

I had initially wondered what Chego meant, but by the looks of the thumbs up logo and the fact he's Korean American, I'm going to go with "best" or "greatest" (최고) in Korean, which is, technically "Chuego," but I'm no romanization police. 

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