Bang Bop, or, as it’s alternatively known in my house, Bing Bong, Bada Bing, or Boom Boom, is hidden inside the Taste Maker’s building at 10th and Franklin NE in Brookland. I run past it twice a week and had no idea. We only found out about it because my husband still gets updates from the internet cesspool that is Nextdoor, where it became an overnight sensation. We would have tried it sooner, but they are closed on Sundays. I respect their giving their employees a day off every week, but I was very disappointed last Sunday when I tried and failed to order. Needless to say, I was thinking about my Korean salad bowl all week.

This is my Inferno salad. It was huge–too huge to finish–and topped with so many goodies and extras that I very much hesitate to call it a salad. Their kimchi is the bomb–soft but still crunchy, spicy but not overpowering, savory but not too fishy. The spicy pork was absolutely delicious too. There was more than enough of it, and aside from a few chewy pieces of fat, it was cooked perfectly and brought a sweet heat to the mouth party.

My husband, somehow unsatisfied with Bang Bop’s 5 million menu options, went to “build your own bibimbap” route. He got exactly what he wanted (spinach, cucumbers, bean sprouts, jalapeños, cilantro, and kimchi) on top of their galbi meat. As with mine, the ingredients were great and not skimpy, although I was slightly underwhelmed with the short rib itself, which I thought was a bit tough.

And, because I couldn’t resist, we also got the veggie banchan box, which included four little cups of tasty veggie sides and garnishes (they offer four completely different banchan packages!) The lotus root (top left) was crisp and slightly sweet, despite always triggering my trypophobia. The sundried radish (bottom left) was sweet, spicy, and smoky all at once, and drenched in gochujang. The pickled garlic scapes (bottom right) were refreshing and green-tasting. The eggplant (top right), on the other hand, was pretty bland and didn’t really hit the spot for me.

Price: $20 per person.

Bottom line: For the price and the fast-casual style, you could do MUCH worse than Bang Bop. I walked away with a full belly and a happy mouth. Big bonus: they offer several dishes using Impossible meat, so your vegetarian friends can satisfy their KBBQ cravings. Several steps up from Chipotle, and a great addition to the neighborhood!

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