Food & Drink » Dining Reviews

KBOP Korean Fusion Café’s affordable food and fun desserts go well with K-pop


Generously portioned bingsu’s a unique dessert offering. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Generously portioned bingsu’s a unique dessert offering.
When she started KBOP Korean Fusion Café, Chong Jeffries says she wanted somewhere affordable and relaxed, a place to hang out. To that end, she’s put a breezy and welcoming addition into a northeast area shopping center that already hosts sound Jamaican, Thai and Filipino options. Drinks and desserts come under cute drawings on a chalkboard wall, and a TV displays colorful K-pop videos.

The standout is dessert, and that means bingsu, a dairy-based shave ice treat with the texture of snow. From many flavors, we opt for matcha and red bean. The former’s tossed with a granola mix that includes sugary breakfast cereal for a welcome crunch, topped with sweet red bean, pieces of chewy rice cake and a dusting of matcha powder, with a little jug of sweetened condensed milk on the side. The portion’s huge, and the shave ice itself loses its snowy texture slowly, staying largely intact to the last bite. It’s much lighter than ice cream, with a subdued sweetness, and there’s just as much pleasure in the creaminess and interesting textures at play. The latter’s much the same, but with no matcha powder and a mix of sweet red bean and fruit salad that includes pear, pineapple and grapes at the core.
Location Details Kbop Korean Fusion Café
3733 Bloomington St.
Colorado Springs, CO
Beverage offerings rate simple, but good. We particularly dig the cinnamon ginger tea, which has ginger medallions at the bottom of the cup, giving it a powerful rhizome heat, with cinnamon playing a mellow, secondary role. Our cappuccino’s made to European proportions, and though the foam’s collapsed into the drink, the Starbucks espresso still plays its part. KBOP also serves soju, wine and beer.

Food’s largely inexpensive, peaking at $11, and it’s easy enough to get satiated for less, since portions are sizable, if not American-huge. Of note, there’s no banchan — traditional small side dishes — offered here, like in many Korean eateries. We start with tteokbokki, the classic dish of stir-fried rice cake pieces with thin fish cake triangles, cabbage and green and white onions, served in a searing hot sauce, vivid red from gochugaru with a long-lingering burn. A few rungs down the Scoville scale, the ramen still packs a decent punch in its savory, fatty broth — Japanese traditional, this probably isn’t, but damn it’s good. Noodles, premade, come tender with plenty of green and white onion. We try it with tonkatsu (breaded, fried pork cutlet) which arrives thin and crisp under sweet-savory tonkatsu sauce.

Those less fond of spice can find plenty to enjoy, too. We try bulgogi bibimbap, a bowl of rice and fresh veggies topped with tender-sweet bulgogi and an egg with a thick but still runny yolk. We opt for the side of spicy chile sauce over soy sauce and find a mix of sesame oil, sugar and gochujang we’d rate as a medium, and it plays nice with everything in the bowl. For diners who stick to General Tso’s variants at Chinese restaurants, the dakgangjeong should delight — it’s tossed in a sweet chile sauce with minimal heat, and it’s served with decent french fries tossed in a secret house seasoning, and a nominal salad. We also enjoy crisp and fresh fried dumplings.

Jeffries’ restaurant shows the love for her culture she tells us she wishes to share. While we’ve been to more polished Korean spots, KBOP has its ways of standing out from the pack, thanks to the chill vibe and that chill bingsu.

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast