I have always enjoyed Korean food in all its seemingly limitless iterations.
And lately I’ve been enjoying the hell out of a small local chain that went the trailer-to-brick and mortar route like so many others lately. The name is Chi’ Lantro and the Burnet location has become one of my go-to joints for lunch.
The idea of this place is kind of a Tacos-meets-Bulgogi theme with an amalgam of south-of-our-border and Korean flavors. I am unaware of anyone else in the area who has attempted this type of ethnic co-mingling but it sure works for me. You can begin with more typical fare: chips and salsa, queso, guacamole and then things really get interesting. The Chips and Esquites mix grilled corn, cotija cheese and Korean pepper. And also something they call Magic Sauce! Well presto zappo, the dish is pretty magical. The Kimchi Fried Rice Balls are also a delight. The classic Korean fermented cabbage lends so much flavor to this dish that it’s irresistible. The Korean Fried Wings are also a blast and I cannot resist the gangnam sauce [which has hot chili and apple juice at its base].
The BBQ bowls are another huge favorite of mine. I love the Beef Bulgogi [Korean BBQ] over a bed of brown rice, kimchi, fresh veggies, beans, and topped with a fried egg. The flavors of this dish are absolutely astonishing. And at $6.75 it’s one of the best lunch deals around. The Bulgogi Chicken is also spot on and like the beef, amazingly tender.
Another stunner is the Original Kimchi Fries. These will give Hyde Park and Shady Grove a run on that front. You can choose a meat or chicken and then add kimchi, cheddar and Monterrey Jack, onions, cilantro, sesame seeds and sriacha. Three letters wraps this all up: wow!
One thing I’ve noticed about the Burnet store is the cordial staff. As I was wolfing down my beef bulgogi salad, I noticed that I had run out of beef about half-way through. I asked a server if he could get me an additional helping so I could complete the dish. It arrived instantaneously with a smile and no additional charge. Very impressive.
Chi’ Lantro has brick and mortar stores at 522 Burnet and 1509 S. Lamar. Their website also carries a monthly schedule on where the food trucks will be.Very glad these guys have come along!