Kosmo's Bop Shop
Quick Bite: January 2019
by M.B. Lewis
From the January, 2019 issue
If ever a restaurant communicated both fresh attitude and local history in just a three-word name, Kosmo's Bop Shop is it. "Bop" celebrates the bibimbap that owner Don "Kosmo" Kwon developed at Kerrytown's Kosmo Deli, but its contemporary Korean offerings also include the "Seoul Dog"--a crispy, bacon-wrapped deep-fried hot dog tucked in a soft bun with kimchi, mustard, and mild cheese--and the "Bogie," a charismatic cheesesteak-style sandwich with lightly spiced bulgogi beef, fresh-grilled mushrooms and onions, a bit of kimchi, and melted cheese piled on a "hogie" (haha) bun. There's even a dollop of white rice in there.
The offerings and the bold decor--bright-colored walls painted floor to ceiling by Ann Arbor and Detroit graffiti artists--seem aimed at a young crowd, and late-night hours (until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays) are proof of that. But that doesn't mean kiddos and mature diners aren't welcome. During a recent worknight dinner hour, the music was turned low enough to encourage conversation, and little ones scampered freely. The pace was relaxed enough to support special orders at the grill, like chopping the beef more to be less chewy, and cooking the fried egg atop the bibimbap beyond the au courant sunny-side-runny. The "bop" comes in sturdy stainless-steel bowls when you eat in, and it always comes with your choice of vegetables and a side of hot sauce made delectable by an undercurrent of nutty sesame-oil flavor.
Kosmo's Kerrytown lunch counter was scheduled to close at year's end (see Marketplace Changes), but lunches should be available at the Bop Shop by the second week of January. The delectable aroma of grilled marinated meat should seem familiar, even if the decor is bolder. And the deli's deep-fried original twigim have circled back onto the menu here. Newbies note: these battered fries come with whole green beans and sweet potato strips in every batch.
If there's a better local mix of traditional and Korean-inspired quick-casual fresh food at reasonable prices, I have yet to find it. But I recommend sitting facing the street. Otherwise, you'll be staring at a big, socket-eyed skull mural while you eat.
Kosmo's Bop Shop
308 S. Ashley St.
[Originally published in January, 2019.]
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