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Special Tasting Menu with Kogi BBQ ~ Los Angeles

8:41 AM PDT on April 29, 2009

Ever since I experienced the Korean tacos of Kogi BBQ, I've been a fan, but the time and locations of where their trucks are parked aren't always convenient for me, so I hadn't been able to have much of their food, except for one time that I happened to be visiting a friend in Eagle Rock and they had a truck parked down the street from where she was. I dragged her along and like me, she was blown away. Periodically, I'd hear about these specials that Chef Roy had been cooking up and they sounded so tasty, I definitely wanted to try them for myself. Finally, I set up a special tasting menu with Kogi BBQ for my dining group down the street from the Taco Truck Depot. How often can you say that you've had a 9 course tasting menu from a taco truck on a random street in LA?

The first 3 courses were all in one tray, which included a Short Rib Taco, a Spicy Pork Taco and an Oxtail and Kimchi taco. I've had the first two tacos in the past and they were just as good as before, but the Oxtail and Kimchi Taco was something new and wow, was it tasty. The meat was marinated well and had a slight chew to it that I liked and I really enjoyed the slight crunch of the kimchi. The only thing I would have changed is to have a spicier kimchi. It needed more heat, but other than that, the Oxtail and Kimchi Taco was a hit with the entire crowd. I think it should actually be added to their regular menu.

Fourth on the rotation was their Korean Hot Dog with a Kimchi Slaw. I wanted to like this more, but I think it needs some adjustments. First, the hot dog itself was just okay. It could be a preference thing, but I would have liked it to have more of a snap when I bit it into it, plus it could have been a bit juicier. Also, while I liked the bun's softness, it needed to be firmer. When I got my hot dog, it had already fallen through the bun and while trying to eat it, the hot dog was slipping and sliding everywhere. I did like the kimchi slaw and how it hadn't been marinated for too long, so it retained an almost green freshness about it.

Next up was their Chicken Burrito, which was almost like a Breakfast Burrito since it has eggs and sometimes even hash browns in it. I've had their burritos in the past and just as before, it still was a hit with me. The chicken was moist and tender and the sauce that was used to saute the burrito filling was tasty.

Our sixth course was the Pork Belly topped with Dandelion Greens Kimchi on a Sesame Leaf. I could have easily eaten a few trays of this dish. The little bit of sweetness in sauce that was on the pork belly meshed well with the slight bitterness of the Dandelion Greens.

6 courses down and our seventh one was actually my favorite of the whole menu. Chef Roy really knows to work the Spam because up next were the Hawaiian Spam Sliders. A few of those could easily be a main dinner entree for me. The sauce, the mayonaise and the sweetness of the bread really worked well with the saltiness of the fried Spam. Overall, the sweet-salty flavors really suited my palate.

Eighth on the list was corned beef topped with diced onions and served with a slice of lime for additional tartness. I wasn't really feeling this dish too much. I liked the flavors, especially after I squeezed the lime and also when I ate the meat with some of the onions, but the corned beef was chewy. It reminded me of jerky. The marinade that was used was quite tasty, but there was something about the texture of the meat that wasn't working for me and this comes from someone who likes jerky.

After all the meat we had been consuming, it was nice to end with a vegetable, which were grilled asparagus and a sauce that kind of reminded me of Thousand Island dressing, but way, way better.

Overall, other than a couple of items that weren't quite to my taste, Kogi BBQ delivered yet again and I look forward to sampling even more of the unique items coming out of Chef Roy's head and their rolling kitchen.

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