The Unvegan

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Kogi BBQ Revisited at the Alibi Room

Still one good-looking burrito
Still one good-looking burrito

A while back, many of you may recall, I visited the Kogi BBQ taco truck at The Brig. I guess this was before they got big, because I ordered in two minutes and only waited another two to get the food. Soon after, I began hearing stories about how people would be waiting in line for 45 minutes to get in on that Kogi and there was even an article written about them in the New York Times! In response, they added a second truck, and finally expanded into the kitchen at the Alibi Room.

Eager for another piece of that Kogi, I went to the Alibi Room to see the new offerings. Everything was slightly more expensive, as I suspected it would be. In addition, Kogi expanded their menu to include such unvegan no-nos as kimchee quesadillas and the vegan sesame leaf taco platter. I was mildly intrigued by some of the new unvegan offerings like the sliders, but in the end settled on the burrito.

Then came trouble. The set-up at the Alibi Room is such that you can only order food from the bar. And this isn’t some small, divey bar, this is one big, triangular bar with only two bartenders, so everyone looking for a drink or a Kogi has to jostle with everyone else looking to do something similar. Maximum efficiency is certainly not their strongest suit here.

After about 20 minutes (seriously) of waiting to place my order (on a Thursday at 7:30!!), I finally got it in. Despite the fact that the menu doesn’t list any vegetables, I was savvy from the taco truck experience and I told the bartender I didn’t want any vegetables in my burrito. He seemed to know what I meant, noting to me that there was also “kimchi and stuff.” I told him I didn’t want any of that either. I was a little surprised because kimchi wasn’t a component of the burrito at the truck and I hoped that wasn’t the reason for the jump in price. He handed me an oversized playing card, and I waited with my seven of spaids in hand hoping my food could be prepared faster than I had been able to order.

In about five minutes, the lovely waittress began walking around, searching for the patron wielding a seven of spaids. This seemed to be another inefficient process. There must be some way to let the waittress know the general vicinity of whoever placed the order rather than having her walk around the entire bar.

Nevertheless, my burrito had arrived. It was bigger than the burrito at the truck, which made me happy as I bit in. Inside, I found the same wonderful ingredients that had jump-started my affair with the original Kogi taco truck. But one thing was missing. Where was that delicious spicy sauce that came in ketchup bottle but wasn’t actually ketchup? I remembered that sauce taking my burrito from delicious to orgasmic, yet it was nowhere to be found in the Alibi Room. Anyone who had never had the sauce would be happy in their ignorance, but I had been spoiled by that saucy delight and without it, Kogi at the Alibi Room could not be enough for me. It’s nice to know that Kogi has a permanent location, but I’ll take the taco truck over the Alibi Room any day.