First look: Bop & Gogi, Denver's first fast-casual Korean joint, opens in the south suburbs

BopandGogi14.jpg
Lori Midson

Could Korean be the next fast-casual concept in Denver -- and beyond? Quite possibly, especially if it's Bop & Gogi, which, like Chipotle and a whole slew of other quick -- but not fast-food -- cuisine concepts, is the kind of joint that ballyhoos good grub, at affordable prices, in a hurry.

See also:
- Shin Sa Dong, the city's newest Korean restaurant, opens in Aurora
- Best Korean Restaurant - 2012: Han Kang

Nudged into a new development in Centennial, Bop & Gogi, which translates to "rice" and "meat" in Korean, is the first Korean concept of its kind in Denver, and while this isn't the place to inhale the smoke of Korean table barbecue, the menu, compact and focused, pimps some very good food, including galbi with beef, chicken, fish or squid; bibimbap, an amalgam of rice, ground beef, five different vegetables and a wiggly fried egg, heaped in a shiny metal mixing bowl; soups, including udon, ramen and kimchi; a spat of appetizers -- dumplings, egg rolls and Korean seafood pancakes, among them -- and a daily-changing stockpile of side dishes.

The food, cooked in an open kitchen, where sizzling woks smother the flames of multiple burners, is the work of chef Sing Nhoisaykham, who's originally from Laos and has cooked at various Japanese and Chinese restaurants in Colorado -- but Korean cuisine is one of his specialties. "I love eating -- and cooking -- Korean food, and our hope here is that we can make people more aware of Korean food in general," he says. "This is traditional, home-style Korean food that's fast and convenient but high-quality," he adds.

And the goal, he says, is to multiply. "We have high hopes of setting this up as a franchise," but first, he admits, he wants to gauge the interest of his current customers -- and that means playing around with his menu. "The menu is pretty small at the moment, mostly because we're keeping an eye on the kinds of things that people want," he says, noting that he'll soon be adding daily specials to his lineup. "Once we know what's popular and what our guests really like, then we'll make more dishes permanent and we'll start talking about expansion."

I recently stopped in for lunch at Bop & Gogi, and while trade was slow (the discreet location, off the beaten path, makes it difficult to find), I really enjoyed Nhoisaykham's food, which doesn't skimp on flavor or ingredients. Take a journey through the space and several of the dishes on the pages that follow.

Location Info

Bop & Gogi

10639 E. Briarwood Ave., Centennial, CO

Category: Restaurant


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11 comments
jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

Why so much non-love for crab and cream cheese wontons? Okay, not authentic, but delicious. Very, very delicious.

jan80123
jan80123

I was ready to rush over for lunch this weekend, until I noticed that the bibimbop is made with ground beef.  Really???  The restaurant makes bulgogi, which is the usual topping for bibimbop.  Not worth driving across town and paying more than the neighborhood Japanese/Korean restaurant charges for a properly made bowl of bibimbop.

Frank Tsu
Frank Tsu

they need to move that west! South Broadway!

petenammy
petenammy

Great write-up, Lori.  So glad you reviewed B&G.  It's a gem and more folks need to know it's there.

DenverDoughboy
DenverDoughboy

Sounds interesting and may be worth the trip down south to visit, but at the risk of adding a sour note, I have to question the wisdom of a fast-casual Korean joint with a menu designed and cooked by a Laotian behind the stove.  And it sounds like he hasn't even had any experience in a Korean kitchen.  Asians are pretty ethnocentric and close-minded about their cuisines (I speak from experience) and I doubt any Korean is going to embrace this place with open arms. Just sayin'.   

Also, the pricing seems a bit out of whack for fast-casual.  Why would you drop 10 dollars on a bibimbap from Bop and Gogi, when you can go to Silla in Aurora at lunchtime and get a bento box stuffed full of meat (gogi), rice, chapchae noodles, a bowl of soup and several types of kimchi all for under $10.   And don't get me started on the crab and cream cheese wontons on the Bop and Gogi menu....

But hey, what do I know? It's not like Tokyo Joe's or PF Changs have any Japanese or Chinese in their kitchens and their business is fine. No one ever lost money on the bad taste of American diners.   

davebarnes
davebarnes topcommenter

They do not appear to have a website.

What?!

talk2jaymie
talk2jaymie

@jan80123 @jan80123 You can choose type of meat for your bibimbop. Your choices are bulgogi beef, bulgogi Chicken, spicy pork or spicy chicken. Most of our customer likes it with bulgogi beef. Hope you will come and try out.

petenammy
petenammy

@Frank Tsu Agreed! Did you know there are ZERO good Korean restaurants on our side of town?? Talk about a potential goldmine!

christine.frank100
christine.frank100

@DenverDoughboy The Laotian you refer to is actually one of the cooks at Bop & Gogi. Jaymie and Jaedo Ryu, originally from Seoul, South Korea, are the restaurant's owners and chefs. My family eats at Bop & Gogi regularly and the food is authentic Korean! They serve very delicious and healthy dishes at reasonable prices. Our kids love the short ribs and some of our other favorites are the Bulgogi (beef dish) and the spicy pork dish. The service is excellent and the restaurant is very family friendly.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@DenverDoughboy I dunno; all the American diners I've ever eaten have tasted pretty good.

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