For some reason, I have a list of certain restaurants I only go to with specific friends. For example, I’ve never been to Cho Sun Ok without my friend, Jon Baskin. In reality, I think the main reason I don’t go to CSO without Jon is pretty simple – I don’t feel confident enough to navigate the menu without him! Jon knows exactly what to order and every time the meal turns our perfectly.
(photo by: www.planet99.com)
Since I seem to be this way about a few places, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my foodie friends’ favorite restaurants and must-have dishes. My plan is to feature more restaurants in coming posts, so stay tuned! I hope this will act as a nice guide for different restaurants to try and the best dishes to order. Here are some of Jon’s must-try dishes from Cho Sun Ok. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Now we can all feel confident enough to visit CSO with or without his guidance.
- Galbi gui – Charcoal broiled beef shortrib, marinated in their homemade special sauce. These are tender and flavorful, and the bone gives them that extra something, something.
- Chadol-Gui – These paper-thin slices of tender beef come to the table raw and it’s in your hands to cook them on the cast iron skillet that comes with everyone’s table. The best part is the clear sauce that you dip the beef in. Jon has tried recreating the sauce at home, but says there must be a secret ingredient because when he combines sesame oil, salt and pepper, it doesn’t quite taste the same. Another favorite tip of mine — eat this meat with a side of green onions for an added crunch factor. It’s perfect!
*Side note – For further proof that this guide is necessary for someone like me, while writing this, I pulled up their menu online and was 95 percent sure that it was the bul-go-gi that he always orders. I called to ask Jon, just to double check, and sure enough I was wrong. It was indeed the Chadol-Gui.
- Korean Pancake – Don’t let the name fool you; this pancake isn’t your average breakfast variety, but a smorgasbord of delicious seafood instead. This savory ‘pancake’ comes with squid, shrimp, scallion and more. It’s delicious, trust me!
Insider tip: They don’t take reservations, nor do they take your name when you arrive. Instead, guests stand in line, in the order you arrived, and when a table opens up, the first group in line is seated. Arriving at the right time is crucial here. After extensive trial and error, including one visit with our friend David on crutches, we know when to arrive – before 6PM or after 8:30PM. Anytime in between and there will be a wait, which will usually be outside; and since we’re in Chicago, chances are that means either smoldering heat or bitter cold. I hope you’ll try Cho Sun Ok and let me know which dish is your favorite!
Cho Sun Ok Restaurant
4200 North Lincoln Avenue, 773.549.5555