Bibibop Asian Grill opened last week in Westwood, taking over the location previously occupied by ShopHouse. Much like the previous tenant, Bibibop is an Asian take on the build-your-own bowl concept made popular by Chipotle, but this time with a Korean flavor.
This chain, which started in Ohio, emphasizes how healthy their food is – organic tofu, purple rice (a mixture of black and white rice) and no artificial coloring. Oddly enough, Bibibop was started by a Korean guy that created the Charley Subs chain (he also happens to be named Charley).
As with other build-your-own bowls, you can choose your base from rice (purple or white), rice noodles, salad or a combination thereof. From there, you choose a protein, hot toppings, cold toppings and finish it off with a sauce. There’s even free miso soup to go with your bowl, available for you to serve yourself.
My husband got the tofu bowl with purple rice, bean sprouts, potatoes, carrots, daikon radish, eggs, kale and cucumbers, drizzled with a sesame ginger sauce.
The kimchi was on the mild side so he kicked it up a notch with the addition of Korean Red sauce, adding some heat.
When it comes to spicy food, I am a complete weakling, so I was a little hesitant to try the spicy chicken. Then again since the chain started in Ohio, I figured that it might not be that spicy. The guy behind the counter described it as a “5 out of 10” on spiciness. After trying a sample, I learned it was only slightly spicy, and once it was mixed with other items, probably wouldn’t cause me too much distress.
I likewise opted for the purple rice as a base, along with some salad, bean sprouts, carrots, kale, corn, cucumbers and topped it off with the “Yum Yum” sauce, which was described to me as “creamy” and their most popular.
As far as authentic Korean food goes, Bibibop’s is probably what you would expect Korean food from Ohio to be – less garlicky and less spicy. This bowl was about my speed – it tasted good, was filling and didn’t have me feeling like garlic was coming out of my pores. I especially liked the look and texture of the purple rice.
For kids (or those with smaller appetites), there’s a small bowl for a couple of bucks less. My daughter went with the basic chicken and whit erice with teriyaki sauce – a very kid-friendly dish with not one vegetable in sight (sigh).
Bowls at Bibibop top out at $8, making it slightly cheaper than the Mediterranean bowls at Cava, a few doors down the block. If you’re in the mood for authentic Korean food, head to Koreatown, but if you’re looking for a healthy bowl with an Asian flavor that won’t have you reaching for mouthwash, check out Bibibop.
Location – 1059 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles 90024. Additional location on Beverly, with locations in Santa Monica and Hollywood opening soon. Also outside California in Ohio, Illinois and Washington D.C.
Website – http://www.bibibop.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No, but they have small bowls which are perfect for kids.
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes