We typically wouldn’t endorse making french fries a meal, but hear us out: At his month-old fast-casual joint bopNgrill (sister restaurant to the Evanston spot of the same name), Will Song pulls from his Korean roots to add interest to otherwise tired American standards. To wit: The Le Cordon Bleu grad and former Sunda sous chef tops hand-formed ground Angus patties with a fried egg, a pile of kimchi and a squirt of gochujang, faintly funky fermented chili paste that is to Korea what ketchup is to the States. But it’s his deluxe, five-buck, dressed-up kimchi fries that have us skipping all else for a side. Nearly two pounds of perfectly crispy spuds are blanketed with jalapeño cheese sauce, crispy bits of chopped bacon, diced scallions, sesame seeds and sautéed kimchi. “My mom, Helen, makes the kimchi,” Song says, “and I like to sauté it to mellow out the flavor, almost like putting grilled onions on something rather than raw…it’s less assertive.” If this blessed mess is Song’s idea of “less assertive,” we can’t wait for full throttle. 6604 N Sheridan Rd (773-654-3224).
Kimchi fries at bopNgrill | Top nosh
No, bopNgrill didn’t do them first. They just do them best.