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Feb 14, 2009 12:02 PM

Roppongi - What a gem!

Seven of us just had lunch at Roppongi/Cheogajip on Comm Ave, Allston by Marty's (with the Sushi sign!) and it was great! Spicy and sweet chicken had quit a nice, slow burn, (we ordered one chicken/half fried, half spicy, and got a mound of pieces) spicy pork bulgogi, kimchi pancakes, a wonderful fresh calamari salad on a bed of very nice greens, and spicy rice cakes. Not an off note in the bunch. This feast (we were all stuffed) came to $11pp, with tip. Some of the best Korean food in Boston; we'll be back....

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  1. Indeed we will. Specifically, I am looking forward to the first really hot, humid night of the summer, because that spicy calamari salad and a couple of 32-ounce Asahis are really going to hit the spot.

    1. I thought the apps were the weak link here. The kimchi pancakes were a competent but unremarkable variation on a popular Asian standard, and the platter of “spicy rice cakes” turned out to be a mélange of chewy oversize rice sticks and fried tofu skins(?) swimming in a spicy sauce with some stray carrots and scallions thrown in, which never quite came together for me. The pork bulgogi, too, was fine but forgettable.

      Much better were the two fried chickens. The nearly greaseless plain version was very good, but the hot & spicy version had us all grinning in delight while reaching for our water glasses and dabbing at our noses. And the spicy calamari salad (not very spicy, especially in contrast to the chicken) is indeed a wonderful combination, worth a return trip all by itself.

      The banchan consisted of steamed broccoli, pickled mung bean sprouts, a daikon(?) kimchi, and an incongruous dollop of potato salad. Service was friendly and competent; when we inquired about some items on the menu listed only in Korean, the proprietor(?) showed us one of them (some kind of sausage rice ball, perhaps), explaining that only Korean people ever ordered them. Adventurous Chowhounds can sample them and report back. Me, I’ll be very happy sticking to the spicy chicken and calamari salad.

      10 Replies
      1. re: NoNatto

        Maybe it's just a neighborhood thing: I've been served that kind of mayo-heavy sweet potato salad as part of the banchan at Color, the one that burned with the Grecian Yearning that I can never remember the name of.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          hanmaru. the sign in the window said "opening soon"

          1. re: galangatron

            Thanks. I don't know why I can never remember that, because I actually preferred that place to Color by a wide margin, and I'm very glad to see further movement in their re-opening. That "opening soon" banner is quite recent.

        2. re: NoNatto

          That potato salad is actually a Korean thing (via the US military) though I wish it weren't. I liked the rice cakes, they were pinky sized (as opposed to fatter ones sliced) and the sauce had a pretty good burn. The spicy chicken and salad were the highlights for me too. Overall a very good meal.

          1. re: Aromatherapy

            yep, I've had it in Korea, and it's just as mediocre over there

            1. re: Aromatherapy

              Agreed. We recently had the potato salad as an accompaniment to an american style breakfast in Korea.

            2. re: NoNatto

              My vote also for the spicy chicken & calamari salad.

              1. re: NoNatto

                Does anyone know if these are the same people running it since the switchover from Allston Belo II a couple years ago? I tried it several months after they opened and between the passively aggressively unwelcoming service and food that seemed to be trying to reinforce that message just decided not to bother to return. But you mention friendly service, and the spicy chicken and calamari sound just my sorts of dishes...

                1. re: psora

                  No idea but servers were quite pleasant, especially once they realized we were really interested in the menu. Do try it. Although on the Korean fried chicken thread there were warnings about weekend (Friday?) nights--drinking students.

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    Ditto...Our server was very pleasant..

              2. the untranslated items on the menu were soondae (korean blood sausage) stuffed with various fillings

                loved the fried chicken. definitely the highlight of the meal for me. especially the hot and spicy. thought it was much better than the version at color. larger pieces and a spicier sauce. only complaint was the lack of cubed pickled daikon

                1. Add me to the Roppongi fan club. 4 of us had lunch today and ordered most of the above items..x rice cakes. Great meal but we could have used a few more mouths..plenty of leftovers.. which will make a nice dinner..:)


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: 9lives

                    After all the raves I did try it, but was mildly disappointed.

                    I ordered the whole chicken with hot sauce, expecting to have enough leftovers. I also ordered a seaweed salad and some rice to cut the expected spiciness.

                    The waitress forgot the seaweed salad, but eventually it appeared with apologies. More seriously I saw she had my chicken finally ready to bring out, but inexplicably she left it on the counter to do something else in the kitchen and only a few minutes later did she finally retrieve it to bring it out to my table. When it finally arrived, it was still hot, but it would have been hotter without the delay.

                    The initial crunch and heat is quite pleasant, though eating the sticky hot-sweet pieces is a challenge. I just dug in with my fingers, though in retrospect, I should have first chop-sticked it. Even those more chop-stick savy than I, soon found that they needed to use their fingers as well, I noticed. That acknowledged, they should provide some wet naps or some finger dipping bowls of warm water and lemon. I did ask for such a bowl, but the water arrived tap cold.

                    More annoying was the service charge practice. The original handwritten bill arrived with a 15% service charge calculated and added to the total, a practice I have almost never seen in the US. I chose not to comment. When I gave them my credit card and they returned with the final bill, it contained that service charge included in the base total and on top of that it added the standard additional line for a tip. It also featured that annoying practice of calculating a tip for 15%, 20% or 25% as well.

                    I had no choice in the matter since the credit slip included a service charge, but I certainly was not going to add a further 15% to 25% as the slip suggested. I can imagine that some may be confused into doing so.

                    Be forewarned.

                    1. re: VivreManger

                      I'm not 100% sure of this, but I think the issue with the credit card slip containing the lines for a tip and/or suggested tip amounts is just standard for the processing machine. Meaning, the credit card machine prints the lines for the gratuity and suggested amount regardless of how the bill was tallied. I don't think they can prevent it from being printed that way.

                      Automatically adding a gratuity for parties of 6 or more is pretty common here, but any automatic gratuity and the conditions of when it is applied should be noted on the menu (though it usually appears in very fine print =)

                      1. re: lisa13

                        In general I am aware of the automatic addition of a tip for a large party, but I was a party of one. In this particular instance I do not remember any fine print that applied to a party of one.

                        Furthermore the restaurant decides what kind of credit card slip they decide to use. Most slips do not have the suggested amounts. Some do.

                  2. NoNatto,

                    Did you order the whole chicken or the popcorn chicken? Hard to tell from the photo. Wondering which way to order.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bearzie

                      We had the whole chicken, split between two preparations (so actually two half chickens.) Although it's called "whole chicken" it's actually served chopped up into small pieces.