Full disclosure, I’m writing this post on a full stomach from the tastiest bowl of purple rice, flavorful steak, a mountain of veggies and a medley of serve yourself sauces so it might be filled with drool worthy sentences. Bibibop, a Columbus based and fast casual restaurant is opening their 8th store in the past two years and I totally understand why. Their food is based off the Korean dish, bibimbap, but is streamlined just a bit for our American taste buds.
They invited The Beard and myself to learn about their family owned restaurant while also nomming on our Bibibop creation with some other Columbus bloggers. We had eaten here once before about a year ago but I have to say that today was even more delicious. I’m not sure if it was the royal treatment or if they’ve just really nailed their menu, but I wanted to keep going back for more. The style of their restaurant isn’t a new concept, it’s pretty much a Korean style Chipotle with a very reasonable price tag. The cost of your creation would cost you about $7 or around $10 if you add a soda or side like their kimchi, edamame or miso soup. No bad for the penny pincher in me.
Now onto the point of this post, the amazingly fresh, delicious and seemingly healthful food. Since it is set up like Chipotle, you get to pick whatever you’d like in your bowl, salad or roll which is fun for me because I love customization. You get two rice options, white or purple. Ellie, their Marketing and PR Director, told us that this was their healthier option but honestly, I just ordered this one because it’s prettier. Once you pick between the pretty or boring colored rice, you get to add a protein: spicy chicken, marinated chicken, steak beef or organic tofu. Then, you get to choose a few warm toppings: black beans, bean sprouts and/or potatoes. We didn’t know you could choose more than one of these until today so obviously I got potatoes and black beans. Moving on down the line, you get to choose from their cold toppings: lettuce, daikon, corn, cucumber, carrot, kale, cheese and egg. To top it off, you get to choose from four sauces which you can put on top or get on the side. I will always choose on the side because I’m obsessed with sauces and want to mix and match with each bite. I know, I’m a weirdo.
Then, voila you get a gorgeous, instagram-worthy bowl of fresh, healthy food that is actually enough food for a meal and a half if you can restrain yourself. Joel and I both got different bowls but agreed that all of it was scrumptious. They described the steak as a play on Korean bulgogi, it was tender, flavorful and juicy. If you aren’t a big condiment person, you could probably get away with just adding the steak and no extra sauce to your bowl. But, then you wouldn’t get to sample the sweet teriyaki sauce that I wish I could drink with a straw. Okay, that might be a little much but it’s amazing. All of the recipes featured at Bibibop were created by Ellie and her mother which means their family dinners must be outrageously wonderful.
With seven locations around Columbus, one in Cincinnati and more to come in Ohio, you aren’t going to have to travel far to get a yummy lunch for under $10. If you are in the neighborhood of Sawmill Road tomorrow, I’d suggest popping by their brand new location from 11am-2pm for a free bowl or wrap. I’d suggest the purple rice, steak, kale, teriyaki sauce and toppings galore for a comforting bowl of Korean mixed rice.