California Gogi Grill - Irvine
Twenty years ago a car-less UCI student had only a few choices when it came to eating out:
- The food court at the Student Center, which had the fast-food usuals and a Chinese steam-tray take-out that no one thought was any good;
- The dormitory cafeterias which only served the edible stuff on Thursday nights;
- Or what was at the time the University Marketplace, where they stir-fried a decent pad Thai at Asia Noodle Cafe or oven-heated a thin slice of pepperoni at Z Pizza.
These days, University Center (that's what it's called now) boasts so many more choices, from Blaze Pizza, to Yushoken Ramen, to Tender Greens, it almost makes an alumni like me wish he was back in college.
Truth is, the choices there these days are so varied and, heck, downright good, it might have compounded my Freshman 15 to 50. Take for example California Gogi Grill, which copies the Chipotle business model and Asianized it before Chipotle's own Asian concept (called ShopHouse, donchaknow) even sets foot in O.C.
For under $8 (that's about what Panda Express charges for less food), you get two meats, rice and the choice of six side dishes.
But what I can't get over is what a no brainer California Gogi Grill's concept is. Korean panchan is made for this. And the Kogi truck already proved that Korean bulgogi and spicy pork make great burrito filler. Put them together, execute it with some consistency and actually well-prepared dishes like the fried tofu and the mustard-tang of the potato salad, and you've just won over not just the student body, but us townies, too.
California Gogi Grill
4237 Campus Dr Ste B157
Irvine, CA 92612
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