California Gogi Korean Grill, the Chipotle-style Korean concept that opened in 2013 at University Center across from UCI, has now opened its second store in between Panda Express and Yogurtland at the Irvine Marketplace.
For those unfamiliar with the original, picture the full spectrum of Korean BBQ meats: bulgogi, spicy pork, chicken. Then imagine them as the protein for rice bowls (here called bibimbap), bentos, burritos, sandwiches, and tacos, all for under $8.
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If you get a bento, you get two meats, rice and the choice of six side dishes, which are, of course, Korean panchan (those vegetable-heavy saucers that are an essential part of any Korean meal). If you think about it, panchan, since it's essentially always ready-to-be-served and needn't be cooked a-la-minute, is destined for a Chipotle-style setting such as this.
13262 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92602, (714) 544-0066; californiagogi.com