The Mexican scene in Seoul has come a long way since I first arrived several years ago. Restaurants such as Vatos and Don Charly have really upped the ante in terms of quality. Coreanos has now fully entrenched themselves in this category. However, they could use a little work in the service department.
How to get there: One of the only frustrating parts of the experience was actually finding Coreanos. Once you know where it is, it’s quite an easy find. The easiest way to get there is to take the subway to Apgujeong Rodeo Station (K212) and depart from Exit 5. You will pass the Johnnie Walker House on your right and should see a building with a Toms and Toms Coffee. Once you see that building make a right. You will go down this street for about 400 meters and Coreanos will be on your left beside a Burt’s Bees.
Atmosphere and Service: Down the stairs, in a dim abyss with the faint glow of soccer on the big screen television, entering into Coreanos was a little bleak. However, as you explore the restaurant more, you begin to appreciate it’s simplicity and authenticity. The walls are decorated with various pieces of Mexi/Americana and their articles from their time in Houston are displayed with pride. The simple wooden table and chairs adds to the authenticity of Coreanos. It’s a contrast to other fusion places I’ve visited here in Seoul. Restaurants such as Vatos and Grill5Taco try to be more urban and hip. Coreanos is a nice change of pace.
Service was okay, if not a little underwhelming. The food got out to us quickly and the server seem a little tired, on the border of being malaise. Most of the servers were watching the World Cup and taking it easy. We decided to order some takeout for later and they gave us the wrong food. We ordered three chicken tacos and three galbi tacos, but we received three Al Pastor pork tacos instead of the chicken.
Food and Drink: Today we ordered Guacamole and Chips, Kimcheese Fries (Get it?), two Flour Shrimp Tacos, two Flour Al Pastor (pork) Taco, a Chicken Taco, and a Flour Carna Asada Taco (beef). For takeout we ordered three Chicken Tacos and three Galbi Tacos with corn tortillas (sorry no pics). For drinks we ordered two Cokes.
Pork Kimcheese Fries (12,000KRW): We decided to order the Pork Kimcheese Fries for an appetizer. Kimchi fries seem to be popping up everywhere in the last year. Vatos really popularized it, and now other Mexican fusion restaurants are inventing their own version. In my opinion, I really enjoyed the pork kimcheese fries at Coreanos more than I did at Vatos. The caramelized kimchi added a hint of sweetness to the fries which resulted in a delightful balance between sweet and spice. The sweetness of the pork and the caramelized onions lesser the heat from the kimchi and in my own personal taste I found it more appetizing. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of flavor, but it was not overwhelming like the kimchi fries at Vatos. I would definitely go back just for the fries alone. It a was a great opener.
Guacamole and Chips (10,000KRW): It’s not Guacamole Live ala On The Border, but it is fresh and equally delicious. The guacamole is made from fresh avocados, onions, tomatoes and a little cilantro served in a stone pot. A refreshing appetizer for a hot summer afternoon.
Grilled Shrimp Taco (4,000KRW): The shrimp tacos came out first. I would have preferred some more shrimp in my taco. I counted only a couple of pieces of shrimp, and they seemed a little rubbery. That said, they still were grilled nicely and had good flavor. Of the four tacos we tried, these were my least favorite.
Flour Al Pastor Taco (3,300KRW): From the worst taco to the best taco, the Flour Al Pastor is a taco stuffed with slow-cooked pork shoulder that is topped with adobo sauce. The taco is topped with grilled pineapples, onions and cilantro. The grilled pineapples were awesome! I’ve never imagined a taco with pineapples on it, but it really complimented the adobo sauce well and added a little citrus hit to the pork. A very well done taco, and I’m looking forward to consuming many more in the near future. If you are to try one taco, do yourself a favor and over the Al Pastor Taco.
Carne Asada Beef Taco (3,300KRW): The Carne Asada Beef Taco was delicious as well. The taco was filled generously with beef. The beef is marinated in lime, but they might want to up the dosage on that. The lime wasn’t that distinguishable. That said, it was still a good taco with excellent toppings and a little bit of spice. I really enjoy cilantro on my taco, and the guys at Coreanos used a perfect amount.
Citrus Chicken Taco (3,300KRW): Jill said the Chicken Citrus Taco was her favorite. She ordered it and let me have a bite. Although it wasn’t as good as the Al Pastor Taco, it still had a nice citrus flavor. The heat on the chicken taco was not overwhelming despite the scorcho sauce. The chicken was generous and the toppings well placed. I really enjoyed the flour tortilla as well. Although corn is more traditional, I found that the flour tortilla allowed the flavors of the taco to come out. When we had our corn tortilla, we found that the corn interfered with some of the flavors of the taco. I would go flour again the next time I visit.
Value: The whole bill, including six tacos to go came to 68,000KRW. We really enjoyed Coreanos despite the subpar service. The food was worth every won. My only complaint would be that maybe they could provide a little more guacamole for the the nachos, especially since you are paying 10,000KRW. However, everything else on the menu was very much worth my hard-earned money, and I will definitely return again.
Who Should Visit Coreanos: People still looking to jump aboard the Mexican-Korean fusion bandwagon! Also, this a great place for a quieter and more laid back night as opposed to Vatos, which sounds like a disco club some nights.
Who Should Avoid Coreanos: Looking for Tex-Mex? GTFO.