Lunch, Anyone? Color Restaurant
Authentic Korean fare in Allston
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.
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.
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.7 Comments