Every food truck dreams of graduating to a brick-and-mortar location, yet very few ever get the chance. But the populace has spoken over the past few years on behalf of Korilla BBQ , the city’s first-ever Korean BBQ taco truck. Now joining its small mobile army is the crew’s new East Village homebase. Yes, the people have spoken — they’ve spoken out against bad, boring burritos. And Korilla’s offerings are anything but.
You can’t miss the tiger-striped building on Third Avenue, a crazy and welcome addition to the eclectic vintage stores and bodegas of St. Mark’s Place. Slip past the tiger emblem on the front window and enter a sleek, industrial Mexican kitchen – or, more accurately, a KoMex kitchen. The East Village mural in back boldly depicts famous local haunts, such as CBGB and McSorley’s, and you settle at a table underneath it to make your crucial menu choices.
Creator Edward Song calls Korilla’s new outpost a “different beast” than his popular trucks – and that starts with an expanded menu. Begin with a snack whipped up by a guest chef: cheesy bacon and kimchi fried rice balls from Minji Suh of ABC Kitchen. Song expects a new Korean-style Southern BBQ snack very soon – picture brisket and fried green tomato kimchi. Between devouring those first cheesy bites, start pondering the large make-your-own menu where you’ll construct a burrito, rice bowl, or salad (the Korilla tacos are a secret-menu option, but it’s a fairly open secret).
The most popular meat by far is the bulgogi, Korean marinated ribeye steak. But break the mold with a mix ‘n’ match of chicken and pork. “I think people should eat all their veggies, period,” says Song, so stack plenty on. As for the kimchis, here are the ultimate pairing suggestions from the man himself: beef with red kimchi, spicy pork with purple slaw, chicken with daikon, and tofu with cuke kimchi. Of course, you ask nicely, and they throw two picks on for you. Top with Korilla and K’lla hot sauces, and you have a hefty ‘rito crammed full of good stuff.
Song has plans for yet another Korean BBQ stronghold: a Korilla pojangmacha (essentially a Korean street bar) in Bushwick, Brooklyn where the company keeps its trucks. The spot would continue the social vibe in more of an outdoor garden setting, with drinks galore. ‘Til then, steer your crowd to E-Vill – as Korilla calls it – for some fierce grub, and defend yourself from boring burritos everywhere.