It was a wet Mother’s Day in Austin, Texas and we were beginning to feel the bite of hunger gnawing at us. A quick check with Siri led us to Chi’lantro, a Korean fusion restaurant famous for its Kimchi Fries.
Chi’lantro was originally a stand alone restaurant started here in Austin by Jae Kim in 2010. Now he has 3 restaurants and multiple food trucks scattered around the city.
We, of course, ordered the Kimchi Fries, a wonderful concoction of french fries, caramelized kimchi, soy-glazed chicken, onions, cilantro, sesame seeds and siriracha, covered in melted cheddar and monteray jack cheese and the house ‘magic sauce’. The portion was generous and we were provided with plenty of napkins to clean up any of the drippy gooiness of the cheese. The spiciness of the kimchi and the siriracha played well against the smooth blandness of the melted cheese and the crisp crunchiness of the fries. I guess the fries could get soggy if you left them too long, but we ate ours before that was a possibility.
We also ordered Korean Fried Chicken Wings which were absolutely delicious, if somewhat spicy. There was plenty of the sticky sauce to cover both the chicken and the bottom of the of the serving tray. (The food came on cardboard dish wear for ease of disposal.) I thought about dipping my fries in the sauce, but turns out I ate them so quickly I didn’t have any left over to experiment with. Maybe next time.
Lastly we ordered 2 beef Tacos which were small but tasty, perfect for a snack or appetizer.
A few of the menu items come with your choice of protein and you can choose from ribeye beef, spicy pork, spicy chicken, soy-glazed chicken, or tofu. As mentioned earlier we had the soy-glazed chicken with out Kimchi Fries and the beef with our Tacos. I think next time I might try the spicy pork with the Kimchi fries.
We went to the S. Lamar location and it was quite small and fairly popular for a rainy Sunday lunchtime. It was order at the counter and then brought to the table service. Beer was available, although no korean beers at this time. Apparently there have been some issues trying to import Hite beer into texas.
So if you want Korean food with a dash of Tex-Mex Chi’lantro is the place to go. I know I plan to go back again.