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Lunch, Anyone? Color Restaurant

Authentic Korean fare in Allston

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Boston University BU, places to eat Boston, Korean food restaurant, Color Restaurant Allston

The seafood and scallion pancake and bulgogi kimbap at Color are tasty starters made for sharing. Photos by Cydney Scott

From its vibrant red chili sauces to its brightly pickled vegetable sides, Color Restaurant more than lives up to its name.

Situated on a stretch of Harvard Avenue in Allston inundated with restaurants offering a range of cuisines from Greek to Afghan to Thai, it’s easy to pass by this superb Korean eatery. The rainbow-colored sign perched above the entrance suggests a kitschy décor within, but don’t be put off. Entering Color, you’re enveloped by a calming atmosphere, with catchy Korean pop tunes, charming wooden and wicker furnishings, and cozy seating arrangements.

The restaurant presumably takes its name not from its subdued décor, but from the vivid dishes that pepper its menu. We stopped by for lunch with two friends on a recent weekday, all of us new to Korean cuisine. The restaurant deserves its reputation for attentive service: at the suggestion of our knowledgeable and helpful server, we ordered a variety of entrees so we could sample the tastes and textures that make Korean cuisine so unique.

We began with complimentary glasses of iced barley tea (a surprisingly refreshing palate cleanser), before moving on to fried rice cakes ($4). Doused in thick, fiery red chili sauce and fried just enough to maintain an agreeable chewiness in the center, the appetizer was a bold kick-start to our meal.

Boston University BU, places to eat Boston, Korean food restaurant, Color Restaurant Allston

Dak gang jung (top) and bibimbap are two of Color’s brightest and most popular dishes.

We had been urged to order Color’s famous fried chicken, the dak gang jung ($10), and after the first bite, we were glad we did. The dish—crispy morsels of chicken soaked in a wonderfully spicy, gravy-like sweet chili and garlic sauce—was worthy of the hype. Between gulps of tea, we scraped the platter clean.

We moved on next to the traditional Korean rice dish bibimbab ($10.50), pausing for a moment when the heaping bowl arrived to appreciate the complex arrangement of colors and textures before digging in and disturbing the artistic presentation. The combination of rice, seasoned vegetables, marinated beef, fried egg, and chili sauce were melded well, yet no two bites tasted the same.

The bulgogi kimbap ($7.50), sliced marinated beef and vegetables rolled in steamed rice and a layer of seaweed, were a change of pace from the spicier, heavier entrées we’d ordered. We each created our own combinations with the several side dishes that came (my personal favorites were the kimchi and pickled bean sprouts), garnishing each dish to our individual liking. This made the meal a fun, interactive experience.

Boston University BU, places to eat Boston, Korean food restaurant, Color Restaurant Allston

Color’s ramen ddukboki is smothered in a spicy, stew-like chili sauce.

Our final choice was the ramen ddukboki ($10), a hearty combination of simmering ramen noodles and a Korean rice cake drenched in a syrupy chili sauce. The carb-laden dish brought on the kind of drowsiness that often accompanies a truly satisfying meal.

A word of warning for anyone thinking about a trip to Color: come hungry and bring guests—the entrees are ample and made for sharing. And although it may be easy to pass by Color on the street, its authentic Korean cuisine leaves an indelible dining impression.

Color Restaurant, 166 Harvard Ave., Allston, is open Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; phone: 617-787-5656. Take an MBTA Green Line B trolley to Harvard Avenue. The restaurant accepts all major credit cards. Find more information here.

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below. Check out our list of lunchtime tips on Foursquare.

Ashleigh Fryer can be reached at afryer@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @ashleigh_fryer.

7 Comments

7 Comments on Lunch, Anyone? Color Restaurant

  • Manta on 03.07.2013 at 5:22 am

    Color is the best Korean food in Boston. They will expand the space soon. Well worth the trip.

  • Megan Sullivan on 03.07.2013 at 6:52 am

    Good review. Check out the Allston Diner, run by BU grads.

  • WHB on 03.07.2013 at 9:52 am

    The variety of colors in Korean food (according to “legend”) is an indicator of quality. In the centuries before scientific-based nutritional information, Korean diners used the diversity and intensity of the colors in their food to determine whether it was good for them and well-prepared (fresh as opposed to over-cooked, and lots of different vegetables).

    Even today, when my family sits down for a meal together, “Wow, it’s so beautiful” is always said about the food.

  • mary on 03.07.2013 at 4:43 pm

    they up’d the price so much after their refurnish……..

  • Sarah on 03.16.2013 at 8:53 pm

    I was under the impression that Color picked up its name from the neon-bright colors it used to have on the walls. Seriously, I’m talking highlighter shades here. The name corresponding with the food does make sense, though most (probably 85-90% of Korean food) is just RED because of the spicy pepper paste.

    That being said, the Korean food at Color is probably my favorite in Boston (unless its KBBQ- that’s when I head to Korean Garden).

    Also- they used to deliver. I’m not sure if they still do. If you call them, don’t be surprised if they answer in Korean. It shocked me the first time. But from the confusion in my voice, they quickly realized I wasn’t Korean and spoke to me in English.

    Color definitely was my go-to place for takeout/delivery when I was studying for finals. Nothing better to pick you up/keep you motivated while studying than a good 김치파전 and some 떡볶이.

  • Christine on 04.05.2013 at 12:34 pm

    Nice article. I am so glad the new Color is starting to get recognition.

    The new owner there is such a lovely woman, and sometimes she makes special dishes that she cooks herself and offer them to customers. This is not a restaurant that you can find anywhere, whether in Koreatown in LA or NYC, because all the dishes taste like home-cooking food aka jip-bab. My friends and I are so happy we have a place like this near us. On their facebook page they announced they’ll be expanding the place and adding a bathroom… uh, a thousand times yes!

  • manta on 10.17.2013 at 9:32 am

    The new name of this restaurant is Bibim, and yes, now they have a bathroom, more space, and still the best Korean food in and around Boston.

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