Last night we decided to take a break from our usual Korean fix at Buk Kyung II, in Allston, and went around the corner to Color.
DC1 was in a meaty mood and ordered the kalbi, DC2 decided on something lighter and asked for the japchae. I was in a bulgogi mood, and ordered it after a firm confirmation with the waitress that there would be no sesame seeds sprinkled on my food, as I am very allergic. Iced barley tea took the place of ice water; it was refreshing on a hot evening.
We waited a good while before the panchan came out. These were three really disappointing dishes of run-of-the-mill kimchi which was very dried out, pickled zucchini (which I didn't try), and one strange dish containing a tablespoon of room-temperature macaroni salad.
The food finally came out, but apparently my no-sesame talk wasn't enough, because my bulgogi was covered in seeds. Language barrier apparently. :( While inspecting, I also noticed the bulgogi being very fatty and gristly - not the highest quality.
I attempted to order something else. I selected my usual standby, the pork kimchi bokkeum (with sliced chewy rice sticks, mmmm, one of my favorite homestyle dishes) but the waitress thought there might be sesame seeds in that as well. So, I decided on codfish chigae.
DC2 thought her japchae wasn't very good. Though I didn't try it (they were sesamified as well), her japchae lacked that vibrant sheen and clarity that the sweet potato flour noodles usually have. I suspect the noodles were perhaps overcooked or dried out.
DC1 said her kalbi was "good, but not amazing". DC1 and I have a rich history of kalbi consumtion, too. ;) I will note that the plate did appear a little sparse.
My chigae came out, in an unusually wide plastic bowl - I'm used to it being in a tighter clay pot. I wish it had come out still boiling, too, but it was just steaming. The broth was weaker than I would have liked, and lacked the robust peppery finish that a good chigae should have. Bars of medium-soft tofu floated in the murky broth, dotted with flecks of silvery cod. There were also a few odd slices of a round surimi fishcake, the kind that resembles a sliced radish - neon pink stripe around a pale white inside.
I liked the idea of a divey little homestyle Korean spot, but the mediocre food and eye-numbingly neon interior (blasting giggly K-pop, none the less) will probably encourage me to keep going to Buk Kyung II down the street. Plus, I've never ever had a problem with BKII accomodating my sesame allergy.
I really don't understand the enthusiasm this place gets on Yelp. Maybe it's just another reason to avoid Yelp.