Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Hankook Taqueria - West Midtown Atlanta

You can find Hankook Taqueria at 1341 Collier Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. I think someone told me that technically the area is called Underwood Hills, but most recently anything west of Midtown, since Atlantic Station has been developed, usually gets referenced as West Midtown (makes sense, right?). The restaurant is in a standalone building next to a railroad overpass. There's limited parking out front and to the sides but I believe you can safely park on the side street. Nearby is the very good Piece of Cake main facility (also worth visiting for a slice or cupcake, so save some room).

I'm not quite sure how I first came aware of Hankook - I think someone said "Have you had a Korean Burrito?" and I was like "Where?!" and that's what it took. I believe Hankook was the first Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant in Atlanta, or at least the first I can remember. The two styles blend together so well, more like marriage made in heaven. Sweet Korean BBQ with a bit of gochugang (Korean hot sauce) in a taco? I'm there! This restaurant spawned the local Takorea chain which is still owned by the came people I believe. One reason you come here is because of some of the unique dishes and specials that are on the menu not found at Takorea. The other reason is that you've spent the day at one of the nearby breweries and need to eat something (nearby you have Atlanta Brewing, Second Self, Scofflaw and Monday Night).

The menu is pretty simple - Choose 1-n number of Tacos, a Burrito or Bowl and choose a protein: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Tofu, Veggie, Fish or from the Premium List: Shrimp, Calamari, Tong Dak or one of the Daily Specials. This will have a mixed-garninsh: Lettuce/green cabbage mix, green/white onions, cilantro and sesame soy vinaigrette. Of course all the meats are done Korean style so combinations of sweet/spicy Korean BBQ sauce. The burrito is served with Kimchi rice (which you can also order as a side). Next, add one of the Street Snacks like the Bulgogi Kimchi Fries or Man-Doo dumplings to the order. Can't be simpler and the prices are very affordable - eat a little or a lot.

Things I've had here:
* I'll skip the Tacos and Burritos as you get the idea and they're all good - use one or multiples of those as the base of your meal.
* Sesame Fries - Crispy Fries with Chipotle Ketchup - quite good - crisp twice fried (they seem to have a light tempura? coating).
* Bulgogi Kimchi Fries - Queso, roasted kimchi, fried egg with gochujang - love these, more like totchos and good for sharing
* KoKuma - Tempura Fried Asian Sweet Potatoes wth Sweet Chili Aioli - sweet, slightly crunchy with mild spice from the creamy sauce
* Man-Doo - fried dumplings with pork, ginger, scallions and ponzu (I grew up with something similar so always get an order of these) - quite good
*Quesadilla - Bulgogi Beef with cheese and spicy sauce or cheese only
*Chips  Queso - chips with melted cheese - personally I'd skip these and get the Kimchi Fries
Nachos - Bulgogi Beef on chips, queso, salad mix, jalapeno and sour cream (as above)
* BiBimBop - rice, bulgogi beef, bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and a fried egg, topped with gochujang - good but I've had much better (super cheap here at $8)
* Smoked Wings - think these were on the specials menu, you get a pile of chicken wings, chipotle-smoked in my case with a spicy BBQ sauce - I recommend these highly if they're being offered.

The place is a bit of a hole in the wall and is more cafeteria-like than fast-casual. You order at a counter and walk along the front edge to pay - once you pay they bring the food to your table. Drinks are along one wall on the left with options for fountain soda, tea and water. It's super simple. The interior is a bit dive-ish - more like something you would find in Little Five Points or East Atlanta Village.

Service is good but very limited - the place gets packed during lunch, best time to go is early afternoon.

(also posted to Yelp)
Hankook Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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