Cost: About $7 per person
There's no hot button topic these days in the Chicago foodie world more prevalent than food trucks. They seem to be popping up all over the place. Things started to pick up with trucks like The Cupcake Gallery. Now you can get naan sandwiches from the Gaztro Wagon and mac n cheese from The Southern. Still though, Chicagoans can't seem to get the legal leeway that other cities have, and our trucks have to prepare the food before driving it to you. Well some places are taking truck style food and avoiding the legal hassle by just opening up a good old fashioned restaurant. At Del Seoul, they take the intriguing flavors of Korean street food and put it into the portability of a taco. No, this isn't Mexican Korean fusion, it's food inspired from the streets of Korea and California that's right in the heart of Lincoln Park. So last weekend my friends Jess and Jason took a small hike up north to my part of town to give Del Seoul a try.
Del Seoul is a pretty small storefront just south of Wrightwood on Clark. It's an order at the counter operation where they give you a number for your table. There's seating for probably around 30 people. The people working there were very nice and explanatory about their dishes.
The tacos came out to $2.50 each, and they're pretty well sized making it totally worth the money. They have a bunch of side dishes for sharing too like the Kimchi Fries for $6.95. If you decide to go for a Banh Mi sandwich that'll run you around $6.
The order was pretty straightforward. I went for the Kalbi (grilled beef short rib) Tacos while Jess and Jason split a smattering of Kalbi, BBQ Pork, BBQ Chicken, and Chili Shrimp Tacos. We also split an order of the Kimchi Fries. They thought that the best ones were the BBQ Pork. The Shrimp breading was a little thick for their liking and the Chicken was a little blander than they'd hoped. The Kalbi was tasty and savory but maybe a tiny bit chewy. All of the tacos were served with on doubled up corn tortillas and were topped with a relish and secret slaw. I guess the biggest issue I had was that too much of the flavor was based on these common ingredients thus putting things out of balance. The slaw became the dominant flavor in most of my bites, and the corn tortilla excess made things a bit dry. Still the flavors of each taco were innovative and intriguing. The Kimchi Fries were not my favorite either. Basically it was an order of french fries covered in cheddar, kimchi, pork belly, scallions, and sour cream. They were too smothered in cheese that had thickened quite a bit by the time we got to the end of the meal. I love Kimchi, but I'm not sure how well I liked it with sour cream and cheddar.
The Kalbi Tacos
The Kalbi Tacos (close up)
The Kimchi Fries
If the food truck laws were altered and these Korean tacos were delivered right outside your building then I'd say go for it. Until then, I wouldn't really travel very far to hit up Del Seoul. The flavors are all interesting and unique, but some balance and combination choices make it mostly just alright. I'm giving Del Seoul 2 out of 5 Pearls.