Monday, March 21, 2011

The Bento Box

I love all things Bento Box and traveled down to the city on Saturday to check out this interesting, little six table restaurant at 2246 West Armitage in Bucktown.
Chef Rick Spiros did not disappoint with miniature portions of Korean Beef Bulgogi, a salad of sliver thin vegetables topped off with hot sauce, homemade kimchi, rice and a spicy potato salad - the sum of which were filling and full of vast, Asian flavors.

Just when I thought that I would not love it because it was hot, I took another bite and continued to savor the taste which I will admit developed with each bite.

That’s what I like about Korean food – it’s way hot but not so fiery that you need a gallon of water to get through your meal.

I got there early and was the first one at the table so I got my pick. If you are a foodie, this is the route to go. Chef Spiros chatted casually from the back of the kitchen.

The ingredients were fresh, the meal had just the right amount of spice and there was a friendly staff of two – Chef Spiros and Adrian Stewart who was also welcoming and delighted that the restaurant has a huge run of positive press.

In one uncomplicated summary…it kind of reminded me of sitting down in a friends kitchen and enjoying a home cooked meal.

I tried this recipe, adapted by Serious Eats and posted by Nick Kindelsperger, a freelance writer in Chicago. This was good for my first time out.

Bon Appetit!

Korean BBQ Beef Bulgogi

For the marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon mirin

1/2 medium onion, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the bulgogi:

1 pound rib eye, thinly sliced

Lettuce, romaine or bibb

1 cup cooked white rice

1/2 cup kimchi

4 teaspoons hot bean past

Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and black pepper to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. Toss in the meat, cover, and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill pan or a large iron skillet to high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade, and then toss in the pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

Serve the beef with lettuce, white rice, kimchi, and hot bean paste.