Let me just put this out there: I love KoMex Express. Okay, so the neighborhood isn’t the best and the décor is kinda lacking, but the place represents what’s truly great, culinarily speaking, about America’s ethnic melting pot. It’s what happens when Koreans open a Mexican market in the ’hood (it closed earlier this year after a decade-long run) and spin the concept into a restaurant (on Decatur just south of Washington)
KoMex—the name marries the menu’s two dominant cuisines—features Korean, Mexican and Chinese dishes, alongside standard American fare, soul food and even Hawaiian musubi. If you can’t find something you like here, you’re probably not hungry.
It’s best to start with a fusion taco ($1.29) or burrito ($4.99), as the Korean marinated meats are the stars of the menu. In particular, the bulgogi (beef) and daeji-gogi (pork) handily absorb the Korean marinade, providing more savoriness with each bite than the dak-gogi (chicken). Unless you’re on a health kick, steer clear of the fowl.
- KoMex Express
- 633 N. Decatur Blvd., 646-1612
- Tue-Sat, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sun, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Three loaded corn tortilla tacos—served, upon request, with kimchi (a traditional Korean condiment of fermented cabbage)—can make for a good meal. You’ll need no more than a single burrito per visit; the bountiful behemoth is made memorable by the way the subtle Mexican rice balances the sweetness of the meat. Make sure to throw on some addictive gochujang (Korean hot sauce) for extra bite.
The remainder of the menu is strewn with references to patrons’ favorite dishes, a compilation of customer requests that plays like an iPod on shuffle. You want a bulgogi sope? Sure! Dakgogi chow mein? Why not? If you’re hungry for carnitas chow fun or pastor fried rice, they’d probably be more than happy to oblige those requests, too.
The menu provided me with my own inspiration: bulgogi fried rice ($6). The result was a huge—we got three meals out of it—whirlwind of perfect smoky sweetness. I’m salivating as I write this.
If customer favorites continue to appear on the menu, it’ll be fun to see how the list morphs as the newborn joint grows. Here’s hoping Jim’s bulgogi fried rice makes it on the menu because I love seeing my name in print.