Korilla BBQ

A bulgoli rice bowl from Korilla

Korilla, painted black and orange, is pretty hard to miss. I’ve been aware of its existence for years, and I’ve always wanted to try their food, but for some reason, I sort of just assumed I couldn’t. (I assume that of everywhere, really. Maybe I should knock it off.)

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to sending Korilla an email. The answer I received was as follows: “We don’t use any tree nuts in our food. The closest ingredient would be sesame seeds.” I sent back a few questions about potential cross-contaminants (as I always do), but I didn’t receive a reply (…I never do). Still, I’m usually down to try any place that can assure me there aren’t any nuts or nut products in anything on the menu—if with a little trepidation, in the case of places that can’t provide any further information—so to Korilla I went.

The first time I went, I ordered a bulgogi rice bowl with sticky rice, a fried egg, cheese, and Korilla sauce (pictured above)—and some Kimcheese Fries, which are basically waffle fries with cheese, pico de gallo, kimchi, scallions, and nori. I wanted to try the Tiger Balls, too (bacon kimchi fried rice balls in a Choux pastry, panko-breaded and deep-fried), but they were out—and they have been every time I’ve been by, actually. At this point, I’m convinced they don’t actually exist. Moving on, though…

The bowl was pretty good. The meat was tender and well-marinated, though it did taste as though it’d been sitting around for a little too long. The Korilla sauce—mildly spicy, but certainly not overwhelming—complemented the sweetness of the bulgogi nicely, and in all, everything went together pretty well. Truthfully, though: It was the fried egg that sealed the deal for me. I wished it could’ve been runnier, but you know what? It was good regardless, and certainly worth the extra $1. (Every time I’ve been since, I’ve asked for two eggs. So worth it.)

My biggest complaint, really, was that I didn’t have the option to add some scallions (and maybe some nori, too) to the bowl. They do have scallions on-site for the Kimcheese Fries, though—so I’ll usually ask them if they wouldn’t mind throwing some on, and more often than not, they’re happy to do so. In fact, I’ve only run into any sort of friction once. (I had asked whether “it would be possible to get some scallions on that,” and the guy behind the counter stared at me for a few beats before asking whether I had “any other special requests” in a tone that was…less than polite. Whatever—I still got my scallions. Worth it.)

Overall, I tend to like the bulgogi rice bowls. I’m not a huge fan of the Kimcheese Fries, though. They’re too cheese-soaked for my tastes—and truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of kimchi. Maybe they just aren’t for me. The waffle fries themselves were good though, and I really liked the scallions and nori on top. So in all, they were all right, I suppose.

I’m still in the process of perfecting my rice bowl order—so far I’ve dropped the cheese and swapped the Korilla sauce out for the Ko’grette—but I look forward to trying their noodle bowls and burritos, too. And the Tiger Balls. One day. Maybe.

In general, Korilla’s a pretty cool place—especially when you’re in the mood to customize a big bowl of something other than Chipotle. They have a ton of options, the ambiance is low-key and pleasant, and the employees are (usually) friendly and helpful. Not much more I can ask for, really, in the way of fast-casual.

Find Korilla at 23 3rd Avenue, between St. Marks Place and 9th Street. (They have trucks, too!)

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