Monday, January 26, 2015

Chi'Lantro's New Brick & Mortar Opens on South Lamar

When Jae Kim first started Chi'Lantro BBQ, he didn't have much in the way of funding. So he put all the money he had together, threw in some credit cards, and opened a mobile food business. "I was all in," he says.

Five years later, with many of the same staff that started out with him back in 2010, he is once again "all in" on a shiny new brick and mortar space on South Lamar. For Jae, it's a dream come true. And Chi'Lantro's fans are pretty thrilled about it, as well.

I was excited to be invited to a complimentary media event at their new space, which is cozy but bright, and full of thoughtful touches stemming from Jae's desire to inspire others. Printed blocks on the tables encourage diners to create their own fun phrases, and a mural on the wall provides a whimsical reminder of where it all began.


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The evening started with guacamole, queso, and chips. The guac was super fresh, and made interesting with the addition of a little sesame oil and ginger. The queso was tasty, too - a little on the mild side for my palate, but I'm sure many will appreciate that.

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Next up were the kim chi fried rice balls, a combination of rice, cheese, and kim chi, all deep fried to create these comforting, yummy bites that tasted great on a chilly evening.

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The next offering, Chi'Lantro's Korean fried chicken wings, or K-pops, was my favorite of the dishes we tried. You can order them in a honey butter flavor or in a spicier gangnam style version. I had a slight preference for the honey butter, but both were fantastic.

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In case you're still sticking to a new year's diet, you can order your choice of protein (ribeye bulgogi, spicy pork, spicy chicken, soy glazed chicken, or marinated tofu) atop Chi'Lantro's house salad. 

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But hopefully you've abandoned your new year's diet by now and can instead indulge in Chi'Lantro's famous kim chi fries. Crispy fries are topped with your choice of meat, carmelized kim chi, cheddar & monterey jack cheese, onions, cilantro, "magic sauce," sesame seeds, and sriracha. This dish is a stroke of genius and I find it difficult to visit Chi'Lantro without indulging in an order of these!

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We topped off the evening with an order of Chi'Lantro's dulce de leche'd, cinnamon-sugary churro tots - which I personally thought read more like super moist doughnut holes, but I most definitely did not hold this against them. They're outstanding.

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Congratulations to Jae and his crew for this exciting new chapter for Chi'Lantro! I'm very much looking forward to many more meals in your new digs.

1509 South Lamar
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 428-5269

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner: 
7a - 10p M-Th
7a-12a Fri
9a-12a Sat
9a-10p Sun

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