Chae Modern Korean serves up a menu of tantalizing options 

click to enlarge ?Iron bibimbap at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • ?Iron bibimbap at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Ask me where I want to go to dinner. Go ahead. Nobody cares that you’re talking to a newspaper. Just ask.

“Uh, fine. Hey, Greg, where do you want to go to dinn—”

Chae! I want to go to Chae. Are we ready to go now, or do you need to get dressed? What’s up? What is taking you so long? Let’s go!

Ahem. My apologies. I get a little “turnt,” as the kids say (but not to me) when I think about Chae Modern Korean, 1933 NW 23rd St. It’s one of my favorite places to eat.

Oklahoma City’s food scene has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and Chae absolutely is a product of that. Owner Daniel Chae brought together a dream team of hungry young chefs, bar staff and servers to create an experience that is only getting better after a pretty spectacular start.

Speaking of starts, prepare to order some appetizers. Actually, prepare to want to order every appetizer but know that you shouldn’t.

I would tell you to try the buns, but that’s a lot like asking someone to try a highly addictive narcotic. Once you have a pork belly bun ($7), it will become your default order every time. I don’t even think I ask for one anymore. The staff just sees my car drive past and puts the order in because there’s no way I’m not getting one.

click to enlarge Pork Belly Bun at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Pork Belly Bun at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

The bun is a beautiful, tender, sticky little piece of taut bread ever so gently folded around a stack of roasted pork belly that aches to disintegrate in your mouth. Pickled onions and green onion slices stick to the meat with a glue of spicy sauce.

Some of the other appetizers are a bit more mundane but no less delightful. Mandoo ($5) are fried dumplings good enough to start and end fights. Kimchi arancini ($8) combine the spicy pluck of kimchi, the creamy allure of risotto and the crispiness of the fryer.

click to enlarge Kimchi Arancini at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Kimchi Arancini at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Shishito peppers ($8) are gorgeous grilled peppers in a tart poke sauce. This is greedy food. Mine, mine, mine. Get your own.

But the chicken wings ($7) are the real MVP. Don’t expect hot wings. Just expect wings that are hot. They’re sauced after the whole wing is fried, and the challenge is to leave without wearing the remnants on your shirt. I failed that challenge many times.

Oxtail soup ($12) is a revelation. The consommé broth is luxuriously creamy with a flavor so rich, you’ll fight the twin impulses of feeling full and desperately wanting to keep eating. It’s infuriating how tasty it is because — like the pork belly bun — you’ll be hard-pressed not to order it every time.

click to enlarge Oxtail Soup at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Oxtail Soup at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

For the meat-averse, soondubu ($11) is an intoxicatingly spicy blend of broth, silky tofu and rice. It’s hot but so good, you will slurp through the pain.

And as long as we’re talking about hot stuff, the iron bibimbap ($24) is a meal that is meant to be shared. I won’t share it — please stop asking me — but that’s how it was meant to be served. It’s a giant pile of perfectly cooked rice sizzling inside a cast-iron skillet and covered in beef short ribs, vegetables and eggs. Take your pictures first because once it’s stirred up, it’s not as beautiful. But it’s still so delicious it’s almost unfair to other foods cooked in cast iron.

Pancakes? Bacon? Chili? Take that weak stuff to a nonstick skillet. After the iron bibimbap, nothing else deserves to share the cast-iron spotlight.

Bulgogi ($22) is similar but not quite as good. It feels ridiculous to ding Chae over this later addition to the menu because it’s good. At any other restaurant, bulgogi would be the bulgo-to dish. But this blend of marinated beef, vegetables and rice is incomparable to bibimbap, oxtail soup, buns, wings and soondubu.

click to enlarge Bulgogi at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Bulgogi at Chae Modern Korean, Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Chae’s menu is like the 1992 Dream Team; Christian Laettner and John Stockton were great basketball players, but on a team with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Karl Malone, they look downright inessential.

Now ask me where I want to go to dinner. Hello? Did you close this review so you could go to Chae right now? Good choice.

Print headline: Selfish satisfaction, Chae Modern Korean offers a menu so delicious, you won’t want to share.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Food Reviews

Roca Patron Tequila Dinner @ Yucatan Taco Stand Tequila Bar and Grill

Surf and Turf @ Remington Park

View all of today's events »

OKG Social

OKG Media Feed

© 2018 Oklahoma Gazette / Tierra Media Inc. All rights reserved.
REPRODUCTION OF CONTENT IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
TO OBTAIN PERMISSION, CONTACT US

Powered by Foundation