San Soo Korean BBQ has opened earlier than first anticipated along Milwaukee Avenue in River West giving a fun spin to a restaurant that’s been around for 26 years. Christopher Kim hopes to augment his family’s formula with cocktails, outdoor grill tables while modernizing the service. He’s teamed with Zach Friedlander and Alvin Kang from Aloha Poke Co. and Angry Crab to give Chicagoans more charred and marinated meats in their lives; they want to eventually open more locations.
They’ve shortened the restaurant’s name, added a bar, and gone with cast iron grill tables. That combined with improved ventilation means customers on a busy Saturday night can chew on bulgogi and not smell like smoke on their next step during a busy weekend bender.
San Soo aims to nail the classics like kalbi, while upping the cocktail game with Korean-inspired drinks. While charcoal cooking is San Soo’s signature, the indoor tables are strictly electric. The outdoor patio will feature charcoals for those who want that char. And don’t worry, there’s still plenty of banchan.
There are quirks starting with a Nintendo-inspired mural featuring Mega Man outside. Inside they’ll have disposable cameras inside. Ownership hopes these little touches help endear the restaurant to a broader audience.
Walk through the restaurant below. San Soo isn’t officially open until Monday, but they won’t turn customers away if they happen to be in the neighborhood.
San Soo Korean BBQ, 401 N. Milwaukee Avenue, open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.