Thanks to Del Seoul’s opening in Lakeview a few weeks ago, Chicago is finally in the Korean taco game. Sure, we’ve had a few restaurants that have nodded towards the Korean/Mexican fusion trend, but Del Seoul is really the first in city to exclusively focus on it. The trend really started to gain steam in Los Angeles thanks to the Kogi Korean BBQ Truck, so we thought we’d compare our city’s first official entry to the originator. Turns out they have much more in common than we thought.
For help, we talked to Grub Street Los Angeles editor Hadley Tomicki to see what really makes Kogi so special. He claims that the consistency is a big issue: “The imitators just haven’t shown the same dedication to detail and churn out more messed up, mushy tacos.” But he also said that Kogi also uses great meat and fresh ingredients, which sets them apart.
The taco menus at both do look oddly the same. They both feature short rib, spicy pork, chicken, and then a seafood taco. We took a look at the short rib, which Tomicki claimed was “the best Kogi taco for sure,” and also the spicy pork.
The toppings are quite similar, too. Kogi’s tacos come topped with “salsa, an onion-cilantro relish, and a salad with a chili-soy vinaigrette.” Del Seoul tops theirs with “cilantro-onion relish, chili-garlic ‘salsa’, and secret slaw.”
What Del Seoul might lack in originality, it’s certainly making up for with consistency. Both times we visited, the tacos were perfectly executed and the meat was grilled to order. Of course, Del Seoul also has a brick and mortar restaurant, instead of a roving food truck. But decide for yourself by taking a look at the slideshow.