It’s hard enough to open one restaurant and not fail within the first year, but Steve Shin and Greg and Sandy Bussey, owners of bbbop Seoul Kitchen, have rolled the dice in Oak Cliff to keep the momentum going for their blossoming Korean food chain.
The original location opened in Carrollton in 2008, but the foot traffic wasn’t there, despite positive reviews. Rather than folding, they opted to close and reopen on upper Greenville Avenue. This location was successful, and after five years they opened a second restaurant further south on the street, in lower Greenville, on the same block that houses Yucatan Taco Stand, Rapscallion and Trader Joe’s.
Why stop there? The Busseys, who live in Oak Cliff, had their eye on a location on West Davis Street for a while, and when opportunity came knockin’, they opened the door to another location to close out 2015. Bbbop Seoul Kitchen R&D began serving the delightful Korean comfort menu we’ve come to love at the other locations, but with a few new tricks up its sleeves.
The word bbbop is an abbreviation of the Korean term bibimbap, or Korean rice bowl. After traveling to Korea, siblings Steve and Sandy realized Dallas lacked mainstream Korean food and wanted to fill that hole with a modern Korean-American twist. They load bowls with chicken or beef and fill them to the rims with spinach, pickled carrots, cabbage and a dose of Seoul fire sauce. The coconut curry bop with tofu mixes up your palate with peas, broccoli, garbanzo beans, cilantro and jalapeños.
The R&D (research and development) portion will offer items that change seasonally, dependent upon availability of ingredients, popularity and inspiration from the chef. “If an item is well received here, we may implement it at our other locations. But the R&D menu will change often and is something we intend to have a lot of fun with.”
Acorn soba owns a spot on the R&D side at the moment. This bowl features cold acorn noodles topped with a kimchi relish, crisp radish and fresh cucumber, and it's served with a boiled egg on top. Kimchi is an ingredient found in many Korean dishes that is traditionally fermented in the ground with fish. Here, Sandy said, they have a machine that allows them to control the fermentation process without the fish.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, a to-go window dishes out their ever-popular Not Your Mama’s Fried Chicken. This “KFC” (Korean fried chicken) is one of the best birds in Dallas and comes with a choice of soy ginger or spicy chili glaze. Each half or full bird is also served with pickled radish, coleslaw and rice. The Oak Cliff location has a full-service bar, meaning you can sip a Nagasaki old fashioned with a splash of teriyaki or a Suro’s Last Wish, made of spiced rum, ginger infused green tea, lime and basil.
The restaurant was birthed in a former auto shop with two massive bay doors facing the street and an interior consisting of exposed brick with a playful rustic design. With the addition of an attractive patio, Oak Cliff just got a bit cooler now that you can eat smoked and seared glazed pork belly while perfecting your ball handling skills on their bocce court.
Find bbbop Seoul Kitchen R&D at 828 W. Davis St., 469-248-702. It's open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 12 p.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
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