Just recently Kogi Korean BBQ (KogiBBQ) officially came to Orange County. Sure they had made a couple visits in the past, but those were before they had an “official” OC truck. About 3 weeks ago they launched their nightly food service for Orange County, with the creation of the KogiBBQ Naranja truck. I was excited because this meant I might actually be able to try them out without having to wait in a long line… So last Friday night in the parking lot of The Bruery my first KogiBBQ experience began.
Naranja was slated to arrive at 6:30 PM, so we got to the parking lot at just about 6 to discover there was a line of about 15 people/groups ahead of us. Mrs. DanGarion was already having doubts, but I told her to trust me, the line was short and we should be eating KogiBBQ in no time once they arrive! Naranja was running late due to traffic on the 91 Freeway, so they were running a little behind.
At 6:45 the KogiBBQ truck pulls up, only 15 minutes late! Mrs. DanGarion is getting frustrated with the groups of obnoxious people both in front of us with scream kids and behind us having loud conversations, but I told her to trust me, the line was short and we should be eating KogiBBQ in no time once they set up.
When 6:55 my wife can’t take the wait any longer and tells me to just order food for myself, and she goes to the car to wait. About 5 minutes later they finally open their hatch and slowly start taking orders. For about 15 minutes the line doesn’t seem to move, the groups ahead of us seem to have each person ordering individually, which really slows things down. I tell myself to not worry, I’m close to the front, and I should be eating KogiBBQ in no time once I order.
7:30 comes and I’m at the front of the line and place my order, 2 Short Rib Burritos, 1 Short Rib Taco, 1 Spicy Pork Taco, and a Blackjack Quesadilla. Now comes the waiting for the food to be ready. My wife text messages me, asking what’s going on. I tell her not to worry, I’ve placed my order, and I should be back in the car in no time once it arrives.
At 7:45, an hour and forty-five minutes after waiting in line, I happily walk to my car, with my bag of food in my hand. I’m already making my plan of what to eat first, and that I’ll have the second burrito for lunch tomorrow, I’ve won the waiting battle with KogiBBQ. I get in the car, and ask my wife if she wants to pick up some Taco Bell for her on the way home, so we stop at our local Taco Bell to get her a bean burrito and a Double-Decker taco (her favorite place and her favorite items).
The time is 8:05 and I’m finally sitting down at the table about to have my first KogiBBQ experience. I open up my bag, place the items on a plate and salivate to the delicious smell of Korean short rib and spicy pork…
I know I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this but, after all the praise, after all the press, and after the nearly 2 hours wait, I wasn’t really all that into what I tasted. Sure the food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really all that special either. The short rib although good was too sweet and there wasn’t really anything to work with its flavor other than the produce that was on it, while the spicy pork wasn’t really all that spicy.
I do have to hand it to them on the Blackjack Quesadilla, the pork belly with cheese was a great combination and went well with the green sauce that topped the quesadilla, I would order it again. The burrito turned out soggy due to the mixture of lettuce or cabbage or whatever they put in it, and I only ended up having half it. The next day I threw away the one I saved for lunch because I knew there was no way it would have done well being reheated.
So there you have it, my one and only experience with KogiBBQ. Maybe things would have been different if I had eaten the food right away, maybe it would have tasted amazing if I was in Downtown LA and drunk from a night of drinking a dancing. Maybe I’m just not their target market. But that’s ok; I don’t mind not having to wait in line for 2 hours for food…
Visit on 10/23/09 for dinner.