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Jul 11, 2008 08:11 AM

Color - Allston

Last night we decided to take a break from our usual Korean fix at Buk Kyung II, in Allston, and went around the corner to Color.

DC1 was in a meaty mood and ordered the kalbi, DC2 decided on something lighter and asked for the japchae. I was in a bulgogi mood, and ordered it after a firm confirmation with the waitress that there would be no sesame seeds sprinkled on my food, as I am very allergic. Iced barley tea took the place of ice water; it was refreshing on a hot evening.

We waited a good while before the panchan came out. These were three really disappointing dishes of run-of-the-mill kimchi which was very dried out, pickled zucchini (which I didn't try), and one strange dish containing a tablespoon of room-temperature macaroni salad.

The food finally came out, but apparently my no-sesame talk wasn't enough, because my bulgogi was covered in seeds. Language barrier apparently. :( While inspecting, I also noticed the bulgogi being very fatty and gristly - not the highest quality.

I attempted to order something else. I selected my usual standby, the pork kimchi bokkeum (with sliced chewy rice sticks, mmmm, one of my favorite homestyle dishes) but the waitress thought there might be sesame seeds in that as well. So, I decided on codfish chigae.

DC2 thought her japchae wasn't very good. Though I didn't try it (they were sesamified as well), her japchae lacked that vibrant sheen and clarity that the sweet potato flour noodles usually have. I suspect the noodles were perhaps overcooked or dried out.

DC1 said her kalbi was "good, but not amazing". DC1 and I have a rich history of kalbi consumtion, too. ;) I will note that the plate did appear a little sparse.

My chigae came out, in an unusually wide plastic bowl - I'm used to it being in a tighter clay pot. I wish it had come out still boiling, too, but it was just steaming. The broth was weaker than I would have liked, and lacked the robust peppery finish that a good chigae should have. Bars of medium-soft tofu floated in the murky broth, dotted with flecks of silvery cod. There were also a few odd slices of a round surimi fishcake, the kind that resembles a sliced radish - neon pink stripe around a pale white inside.

I liked the idea of a divey little homestyle Korean spot, but the mediocre food and eye-numbingly neon interior (blasting giggly K-pop, none the less) will probably encourage me to keep going to Buk Kyung II down the street. Plus, I've never ever had a problem with BKII accomodating my sesame allergy.

I really don't understand the enthusiasm this place gets on Yelp. Maybe it's just another reason to avoid Yelp.

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  1. I've never tried Color but have always wanted to. I'm usually distracted by the other eating options in the area.

    However, my lack of caffeined brain, seems to recall that they had some sort of speciality that no other Korean place in the area has. Maybe some kind of stew or a fried food? I have a vague memory of reading about it in the Globe.

    3 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      Gan Poong Ki is what probably you're thinking of. It's the crispy fried chicken in sweet/ginger sauce. Color is supposed to be the best place to get it, but my brother thought it was just 'meh'. The NY Times had an article about this dish last year.

      Buk Kyung II has it as well.

      1. re: Prav

        I've had the chicken wings 2-3 times... the first time it was really good... another time it was just okay.

      2. re: beetlebug

        That's the place to get the chicken!

        ETA: yeah, just like Prav said. Der.

      3. I wasn't aware that they had reopened since the Grecian Yearning fire - Hanmaru is apparently still closed.

        1. They just reopened on Wednesday as I was there around 7pm for dinner with one other. That night, they did not have a lot of their specials items like the fried chicken, several types of dumplings, seafood pancake, naengmyun, the list goes on. I settled for dumplings with special sauce which was not on the menu, rice cakes, pork ton-katsu and pork jokkeum or something like that. Very average meal since I was hoping to get friend chicken but I'll be back another day to try it.

          1. Color doesn't get good reviews on Yelp anymore. If you bother to look in 'rating details' (the pop-up link on the business listing page) you'll see it's been under-mediocre for 6 months now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: teaTomE

              Yeah, I just noticed that now. I was going by the comments I read.

            2. that's too bad. i've always enjoyed their yang nyeom ton dak (which is actually different than ganpoongki) and bingsoo for dessert. although i haven't sampled much else on the menu