Food trucks — those roving kitchens doling out everything from cupcakes to falafel — are now a force in our town. As a frequent visitor to the food truck mecca that is Portland, Ore., I’ve seen firsthand how the food truck format has allowed innovative chefs to experiment with and share their cuisine on a small scale, testing their audience and building buzz before expanding into the brick-and-mortar realm.
It’s evolution, restaurant-style. And with a new storefront outpost on the Delmar Loop, St. Louis’ Seoul Taco is moving up the culinary food chain.
Don’t fret, lunch lovers: Seoul Taco’s food truck is still on the road. But for those of us who (lamentably) work in food-truck-free zones, or who find ourselves craving a Korean barbecue taco at random hours, Seoul Taco’s little restaurant has us covered.
The menu is utterly simple: Pick your protein (bulgogi beef, pork, chicken or tofu) and your delivery mechanism (taco, burrito or bowl), and the friendly, efficient guys in the kitchen will speedily take care of the rest.
Try a soft taco ($2.50) filled with tender pork, long-simmered in a sweetly spicy marinade and delivered caramelized and sizzling under a blanket of fresh spring greens laced with a fiery, aioli-like sauce.
Follow that with the pleasantly funky kimchee slaw ($2.50), crunchy, pungent cabbage boldly spiked with vinegar and chili sauce.
For a more filling treat, go for the Gogi bowl ($7), a loosely composed dish of sticky rice, fresh lettuces and shredded carrot, topped with a bright-yolked, sunny-side-up egg and perfect with crisp-edged, savory bulgogi beef. Stir it up with some of Seoul Taco’s gochujang pepper sauce, and you’ve got a dish that delivers it all — hot, fresh, meaty, luxurious and totally worthy of a restaurant of its own.
Where Seoul Taco, 571 Melville Avenue • More info 314-863-1148; seoultacostl.com • Hours 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday; Closed Sunday