Some of the more popular original items like the pork belly bowl, "Ooey Gooey" fries and the "Rock Yer Road" were left intact, but for the most part the change was pretty significant. There are 8 new dishes, in all -- 2 salads, 2 appetizers, 3 bowls, and a dessert -- and we sampled them all in service to you, loyal reader. (Forget Mumford & Sons, this was by far the biggest Tuesday release).
Mandu Mushroom Egg Rolls
A chewy/crispy New York-style egg roll stuffed with mushrooms, tofu and chive. Very tasty, though the dipping sauce was a bit too salty.
Roast Kabocha Pudding Cup
Imagine if Roy Choi hijacked your grandmother's sweet potato casserole. Squash and sweet potato puree topped with fennel, chile sauce, fried shallots and chopped herbs. Odd, but strangely compelling.
Apple Harvest Slaw
A diced fennel salad with apples, candied pecans and nuggets of bleu cheese in a light vinaigrette. Not bad -- about as close as Kogi will ever get to a typical bistro salad.
Arugula Fruit Salad
A mix of arugula, lemon, olive oil, fried shallots and various seasonal fresh fruits -- ours had apples and peaches. Also served with a big glob of honeycomb and yogurt curd on the side. After being confused by its presence, we stirred it into the rest of the salad and experienced the harmony.
Kimchi Spam Bowl
Very similar to the old kimchi fried rice that was on the menu previously, except with the addition of scrambled egg, cubes of Spam and bok choy. Still not the strongest offering -- and we wish that Spam was seared on the outside -- but an improved version nonetheless.
Kung Pau Noodle Bowl
Noodles at rice-centric Chego? Yup, slippery jjamppong noodles tossed in a spicy kung pao-style sauce spiked with Thai basil, sliced vegetables and lemongrass. Likely to become a new favorite among vegetarian Chego-ers.
The Chego Man's BBQ Bowl
The hands-down winner among the newbies. A thick succulent slab of marinated skirt steak served with sesame leaf kimchi and two scoops of rice. Pure simple meaty goodness and a fantastic classic rendition of kimchi.
The Shave Ice Sundae
A retooled version of the Mr. Pat Bing Su, a Korean shaved ice dessert mixed with condensed milk, peach slices, toasted sesame powder and red bean paste. A classic refresher.
All in all, Chego's new lineup makes for a solid addition to what's already one of our favorite Westside spots. The recipes seem to hew closer to classic Korean cooking, which is undoubtedly a strength for Choi. Stay tuned for more changes, as word on the street is that Kogi at the Alibi Room will be getting a new menu soon as well, featuring, among other things, Korean pizza. Say what?