Located near about a block away from both the Krannert Center for Performing Arts and the Spurlock Museum, Bab Plus Korean Restaurant is nestled in a row of boutique clothing shops, coffee shops, and restaurants. Having passed the restaurant a few times previously on my way to get coffee after visiting Krannert, I decided to meet a friend and try out some of the traditional Korean dishes.

When trying new restaurants, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide what to order. I walked up to the line forming by the cashier, and I noticed that there were trays with dishes to the side of the cash register being prepared for customers to pick up. Looking at the menu and the dishes, I made a quick decision as to what looked good (which was pretty much everything) and prepared to order.

The menu was in Korean and English with numbers next to each for easy ordering, which was convenient as it became fairly busy around noon on a Friday. I started with #26, the fried dumplings (twi gim man doo) at $4.99 for an order of six. I also ordered #18, the shrimp fried rice with shrimp, egg, and green onion for $9.99. My friend ordered #19, the marinated beef and vegetable fried rice (bul go gi fried rice) which was also $9.99, and an order of the dumplings.

We were each handed a buzzer and found a seat. After about ten minutes, our buzzers went off, and we picked up our trays which contained our main dish, the dumplings, a light Miso style soup, yellow pickled radish, and some soy based sauce with sesame seeds for dipping.  First off, I was impressed with the portion size of the entree and the aesthetically pleasing arrangement of the condiments and side dishes. I knew I would definitely have food left over, as my shrimp fried rice took up most of my tray.

Overall, the dish was flavorful. The rice was a perfect texture with just the right amount of green onion, shrimp, and egg throughout. The dumplings had a crisp finish on the outside with a soft interior, and the dipping sauce was amazing. I wish I had asked for more of the sauce to put on everything. Both the soup and the pickled radish were nice to have in between bites of the fried rice and dumplings. The yellow pickled radish has a nice sweet and sour finish and brought some much needed acidity to the dish. My friend’s marinated beef was also delicious. Her dish came with an egg on top and was also very visually appealing. After we finished our meals, we both went to the side table by the front counter and picked up to-go containers to store all of the leftover rice dishes. 

Having been satisfied with my first visit, a few days later I came back to try one of the larger soups. With cold and flu season in full swing, I wasn’t feeling one-hundred percent and thought a large bowl of soup and a book sounded like the perfect remedy.  This time I ordered #22, the beef soup with dumplings (man doo gook) for $9.99 and another order of the dumplings. My entree, the beef soup with dumplings, came with a side of rice, my extra order of fried dumplings, and a side of Kimchi pickles. The soup was huge! I was actually worried I would drop or spill the entire bowl before I could get back to my seat. It was exactly what I needed, though. The dumplings were flavorful and the broth was hot. I was expecting the broth to be a bit darker and richer, but it was still delicious. Like before, I ended up taking some of my dumplings, rice, and half of my soup home.

There are several other dishes I would like to try. I did not get to taste the pork cutlet, but it looked very appetizing. There were several other noodle and fried rice dishes I would like to try next time I visit. For those interested, they do have delivery, as well, which would definitely sound tempting on one of those cold fall nights where you don’t feel like venturing near campus for a quick bite to eat. 

Bab Plus Korean Restaurant
700 S Gregory St
Urbana
11 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily 

Photos by Amber Laquet