Oct 082008
 

When I posted about the pedestrian but serviceable Rainbow Korean Restaurant earlier this year, a few commenters suggested I try Cho-ga across Metcalf. Not long after, I had lunch there with Meesha, the award-winning, benevolent Czar of the KC blogosphere and his delightful daughter. I think it’s fair to say that we were all pretty happy with the food–even the youngin’. I’ve made a repeat visit or two by my lonesome and have found the food to be quite consistent.

First of all, it’s located at 105th and Metcalf which is pretty much my definition of hell. Yeah I know, all I do is complain about the suburbs while consistently working, eating and spending my money there all the freakin’ time. I’m the worst kind of hypocrite. Anyhow, the shopping center that houses Cho-ga has not aged well (what shopping center does?), it has a drab color and a wan-looking cedar shake roofing. The center is comprised of several “islands” of shops, each surrounding a perfectly charming little courtyard. Some shops have entrances on the outside and some on the courtyard side.

Surprisingly it houses some pretty successful business, notably the OP version of D’Bronx which by most accounts is not as good as its 39th street counterpart. I also stopped by a business called “A Touch of Asia” because I was looking for…well you know, a touch of Asia. To my dismay I found it to be yet another JoCo Indian lunch buffet. I guess I’ll be back when I’m less hot and bothered.

Cho-ga is located at the East edge of the shopping center, and faces north. The interior is nothing special, a virtually undecorated mid-sized room containing a mix of tables and booths. This place get fairly busy at the height of lunch hour and the service is typically pretty mediocre. It took me at least 5 minutes to get seated on one trip, another time the waiter forgot my drink order, another time I waited insanely long to get my check. But of course, commenter Tze Yuin warned me about this so I was prepared. Yes this is the same gentleman woman who insisted I try the Chinese menu at Lucky Wok and I think he she is my new hero.

But the food at Cho-ga is excellent. As I’ve mentioned previously I am not an expert on Korean food, but the value, presentation and taste are all top-notch in my own humble, esteemed, infallible, totally kick-ass opinion.

The menu offers a number of things to choose from: beef, seafood, chicken, pork, soups and more. There is a regular lunch menu and a list of “lunch boxes” on the flip side. Here’s a terrible photo of the regular menu:

Menu

And the boxes…

Menu

I usually get the boxes because they are cute. I have eaten the pork, beef bulgogi and short ribs and they are all very tasty. The short ribs are sliced cross-wise and still attached to little pieces of bone, making them quite challenging to eat with chopsticks. But it’s worth it.

Galbi

In addition to the primary offering, lunch boxes come with steamed rice, two dumplings, a small portion of noodles, salad (mostly lettuce) cabbage kim chee, and a few slices of melon to calm the palate at the end of the affair. That’s a lot of food! Most of them run $8.95 so expect to pay a several dollars more with beverage and an unextravagant tip for subpar service.

Cho ga

So if you’re looking for Korean chow, go pay them a visit. You won’t be alone, you won’t be the only non-Korean there (assuming you know, that you’re not Korean) and the food is well worth it.

PS: Well crap, I just checked out the Pitch for info on Cho-ga and found a typically top-notch Charles Ferruzza review dated TOMORROW (Oct.9 2008). Ferruzza is bending the laws of space and time people! If this is not some mistake, there will be plenty of info about Cho-ga to go around. If only I had published this two months ago when I started it. Anyhow, read his take. I found Cho-ga somewhat less exotic, but I haven’t been for dinner. I don’t blog about dinner.

Read more:

Choga Korean on Urbanspoon

Yelp

  8 Responses to “Cho-ga Korean Restaurant: 6920 W 105th”

  1. With prices, photos and several visits to the restaurant,you are putting pro critics out of business. now all you have to find is someone to pay for your lunch.

  2. Thanks for the review. You and Meesha have both talked about it, and this is the deal maker for me. Kalbi and kim chee are 2 of the 3 dishes in the “special” at the place I used to go weekly in Honolulu.

    I am DEFINITELY gonna try it out, I just have to find somebody I can strong arm into going with me (my friends are food cowards).

  3. I discovered Cho-Ga a few years back when I had a Korean girlfriend. I’ve always said that if real Koreans (or Ethiopians, or Mexicans, or whatever) eat there, then it’s bound to be authentic and therefore, good.

    Haven’t been there in a while, but glad to hear it’s still good.

  4. I like your write up better than the pitch guy, I’m really glad that you like the food at Choga. The dinner crowds tend to be more Koreans and the dinner prices are much higher. I think the lunch menu is a good introduction to Korean food. If you like noodles, try Kaiyo, they have one of the best Japanese beef noodles around, called niku udon.

    http://www.kaiyorestaurant.com/

    Hey, I’m actually a female and not a male, I’m in my late 20s, and definitely not a gentleman. Have fun exploring KC lunch places.

  5. Hey, Meesha turned me on to your site and I’ve been reading it with great enjoyment. We are also new to KC (came here in Feb 2007), but haven’t gotten around as much as you so it’s fun both to get the lay of the culinary land and see KC through a fellow newcomer’s eyes.

    Okay, now to the review of Choga, one of the few restaurants I HAVE been to, and one I’m going to just go ahead and say I’m an expert on, despite only having visited twice, because I’m Korean and have eaten a LOT of Korean food in my life.

    Short story: it’s pretty decent. Credible, as my friend Jonathan would say. My mother went with us once and even she said it was decent. Now, as for what to order, I’d say those bento boxes are for chumps. No offense, but no Korean person orders those boxes. Those are put there for you, the white guy. Next time, go for the meals. As winter is coming up, you may want to order the way Koreans do. That is, in a group of 3, two of you order the chigaes (which are the stews, served in burning hot pots). Say daenjang chigae and kimchi chigae if you can stand the spice, otherwise dukmandugook and soondubu chigae (mild) if you’re a wuss and can’t. Then one order of kalbi for the table, and when the food comes everyone shares. The servers are used to that and will provide bowls and plates for all. Nothing warms you up on an icy day like those hot chigaes. I swear I’ve had a big bowl of dukmandugook right when I was coming down with the flu and it burned it right off (and that’s not even one of the spicy ones).

    Oh also, the guy who owns the Indian grocery on 103rd (around the corner from the Korean-owned Oriental Supermarket) told me to go to Touch of Asia. Haven’t been there yet so don’t know whether it’s just another JoCo buffet that he figures is good enough for a non-Indian person like me who wouldn’t know better (although–ahem–I DO), or it’s owned by his son-in-law, or it’s a sincere recommendation. Would love to know. Oh and not to blow in out of the blue all bossy-like but if you had a search feature on your blog, it sure would be handy!

  6. Grace, you are truly awesome. I love hearing from people who know way more than I do. While my palate may be a tad more adventurous than the average Joe (the plumber), I don’t always order well, and I’m not really a culinary expert, just another white guy with a blog.

    Some day I will most assuredly head to Choga with a small group and order as you recommend.

    As for the search feature, you can use the blogger search box at the top–that searches the blog.

  7. oh doy, how embarrassing about the search… hey! look over there! Isn't that that unlicensed plumber guy?

    like seemingly no one else in kc, our family of freelancers is definitely feeling the economic pinch. not only are we having to scale back the beach house expansion and limit the number of couture fashion purchases this season, we've had to totally curtail all eating out. (Darn these kids… double the price of everything.) But if we ever do rustle up extra cash, we'd love to go to choga with you & meesh & co. and show you how the natives do it.

  8. […] probably the best of the five or so Korean restaurants the Kansas City metro has to offer. Cho-sun, Choga, Rainbow and Kokoro Maki House are the only other places that offer decent Korean dishes in town, […]

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