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Crystal Korean Restaurant [Pictures]

Crystal Korean Restaurant [Pictures]
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  • Crystal Korean Restaurant [Pictures]

    Post #1 - November 6th, 2006, 9:35 am
    Post #1 - November 6th, 2006, 9:35 am Post #1 - November 6th, 2006, 9:35 am
    LTH,

    When Lincoln Noodle House closed it left a little void in my default dining spots, it was in steady rotation as my wife loved the steamed dumplings and, especially, LNH's house made hot sauce. After four visits to Crystal Korean Restaurant I may have found a replacement.

    Crystal Korean is bright, clean as a whistle, comfortable seating, inexpensive and a nice selection of well made home-style Korean, with an out of the box touch or two.

    Not to be missed are the terrific made in-house Man-Du, steamed or fried.

    Crystal Korean Man-Du
    Image

    And when I say made in-house, I mean in-house. :)
    Image
    Image

    A slightly out of the box appetizer, which works surprisingly well, is Seaweed w/noodle. Nori wrapped around potato starch noodle and mozzarella cheese with a light coating and deep fried. Odd as this may sound, the interplay between noodle, mozzarella cheese and nori is delicious.

    Seaweed Noodle
    Image

    I'm a mackerel fan and Crystal's Go Dung Eo, slightly salty broiled mackerel, satisfies.
    Image

    Kimchi Syuk Bokkeum, stir fried pork with kimchee and slices of tofu on the side verges on spicy and, especially with rice, seaweed soup and panchan, included with every meal, is a nice sized lunch for $6.99.

    Kimchi Syuk Bokkeum
    Image

    A few other dishes I've tried are tasty deconstructed bibimbap, kimchee fried rice and tonkatsu. No pictures though :shock:

    The one small tv is keept relatively quite, service is good and, in what I take to be a good sign, many of customers seem to know each other. One late lunch there was so much table hopping I felt like I was at the Korean Myron and Phil's. :) I quite like Crystal Korean, good food, with clear, clean, distinct flavors, no pretensions and low price.

    Crystal Korean Restaurant
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Crystal Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-275-0489
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - November 6th, 2006, 2:19 pm
    Post #2 - November 6th, 2006, 2:19 pm Post #2 - November 6th, 2006, 2:19 pm
    How was the panchan at this place, Gary?
  • Post #3 - November 6th, 2006, 3:26 pm
    Post #3 - November 6th, 2006, 3:26 pm Post #3 - November 6th, 2006, 3:26 pm
    Thanks for pointing out this place! I've been missing Lincoln Noodle House and can't wait to try Soo Jung!

    -gtgirl
  • Post #4 - November 6th, 2006, 6:37 pm
    Post #4 - November 6th, 2006, 6:37 pm Post #4 - November 6th, 2006, 6:37 pm
    titus wong wrote:How was the panchan at this place, Gary?

    Titus,


    Quantity of panchan is not in the San Soo Gap San category, Crystal typically serves 5-6 out of a rotating line-up, but the panchan is quite good quality. Last time out there were soy bean sprouts and small dried anchovies* included in the mix**.

    Crystal Korean
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    * Attention Cathy2
    **Not pictured
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - November 7th, 2006, 11:16 am
    Post #5 - November 7th, 2006, 11:16 am Post #5 - November 7th, 2006, 11:16 am
    Are those dumplings deep fried? If so, that's an interesting twist I have not seen before.
  • Post #6 - November 8th, 2006, 12:13 am
    Post #6 - November 8th, 2006, 12:13 am Post #6 - November 8th, 2006, 12:13 am
    fenger wrote:Are those dumplings deep fried? If so, that's an interesting twist I have not seen before.

    Deep-fried dumplings were a favorite of mine growing up in a Korean home, though other preparations were certainly available on a regular basis (and we didn't pack 'em with as much stuff as the folks at Crystal Korean do). It's only been recently that I've come to appreciate steamed and soup-based dumplings to a similar extent as deep-fried. At any rate, the filling's what does it for me, so I have a hard time enjoying anything but handmade dumplings with fresh (and not processed) contents. Yeah, I'm a real dumpling snob. ;) Maybe if I craved Korean dumplings (aka mahn-doo) more, I'd have spent more energy finding some good ones out there, but I hope these are a good representation of the dish.

    Hopin' for the best,
    Dan
  • Post #7 - November 8th, 2006, 7:11 am
    Post #7 - November 8th, 2006, 7:11 am Post #7 - November 8th, 2006, 7:11 am
    fenger wrote:Are those dumplings deep fried? If so, that's an interesting twist I have not seen before.

    Fenger,

    Crystal Korean has both fried and steamed versions of their tasty house-made dumplings available.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - November 8th, 2006, 10:34 am
    Post #8 - November 8th, 2006, 10:34 am Post #8 - November 8th, 2006, 10:34 am
    fastfoodsnob wrote:
    fenger wrote:Are those dumplings deep fried? If so, that's an interesting twist I have not seen before.

    Deep-fried dumplings were a favorite of mine growing up in a Korean home, though other preparations were certainly available on a regular basis (and we didn't pack 'em with as much stuff as the folks at Crystal Korean do). It's only been recently that I've come to appreciate steamed and soup-based dumplings to a similar extent as deep-fried. At any rate, the filling's what does it for me, so I have a hard time enjoying anything but handmade dumplings with fresh (and not processed) contents. Yeah, I'm a real dumpling snob. ;) Maybe if I craved Korean dumplings (aka mahn-doo) more, I'd have spent more energy finding some good ones out there, but I hope these are a good representation of the dish.

    Hopin' for the best,
    Dan


    speaking of Mandoo, has anyone found consistent *gasp* frozen dumplings at any of the local groceries?
  • Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 2:12 pm
    Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 2:12 pm Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 2:12 pm
    jonjonjon wrote:speaking of Mandoo, has anyone found consistent *gasp* frozen dumplings at any of the local groceries?


    I can't speak to consistency, having only tried a couple of kinds, but have you been to H-Mart yet?

    It is truly comical the sheer volume of frozen dumpling choices they offer. If I recall, there's one freezer aisle with door-ed cabinets on either side and open chests down the middle, where all of those are predominantly filled with frozen dumplings, and then even after getting through that aisle, it seemed like around several other corners were more frozen dumplings.

    We tried two brands, one kimchee and one spinach. Neither were all that hot.

    Could be another charting project for someone with a bit of motivation and a bit of a hyper-focus problem :wink:
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 2:38 pm
    Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 2:38 pm Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 2:38 pm
    One of the many things that makes my head spin about H-Mart is the display scheme for dumplings (and other products).

    I can't figure out the strategy behind positioning them in several separate spots throughout the store.
  • Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 3:01 pm
    Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 3:01 pm Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 3:01 pm
    m'th'su wrote:One of the many things that makes my head spin about H-Mart is the display scheme for dumplings (and other products).

    I can't figure out the strategy behind positioning them in several separate spots throughout the store.

    Maybe an impulse-buy kinda thing, that is, placing Asian staples wherever shoppers might run into them? Of course, there's always the possibility that management simply ran out of shelf/freezer/chest space in the appropriate aisle and then plunked down the surplus goods wherever they fit (or paid for the product placement, Western grocery-style). Dumplings might not rotate in and out as quickly as the various exotic produce selections at H-Mart, but the proprietors might prefer the flexibility in store layout this arrangement affords them.

    Just trying to find a reasonable explanation :),
    Dan
  • Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:01 am
    Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:01 am Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:01 am
    petit pois and I were pleased to join G Wiv and MsWiv recently for a simple, weeknight dinner at Crystal Korean.

    Crystal is one of those places that makes me enthusiastic about Chicago's landscape of ethnic cuisine. We have a plethora of simple, family-run places like this that serve fresh, hand-made food at extremely reasonable prices (bordering on criminal).

    The flavors at Crystal, as Gary said above, are clear and clean. Nothing is aggressively seasoned or over-spiced. The dishes taste of exactly what they are made of: meat, starch, and vegetables. The mandu were quite enjoyable (if not a tad over-stuffed for my taste) and I preferred the steamed to the fried version (as I usually do with Korean dumplings). Dolsot bibimbap was simple and delicious, forming a near-perfect golden crust of rice on the bottom of the bowl. The panchan selection reflects the restaurant in it's modesty, but is extremely enjoyable.

    Crystal is a nice place to have as part of the landscape of Chicago Korean cuisine. It's simple and homey like a family-run diner (not at all a "greasy spoon"), and the price is right. I look forward to returning and checking out more of their menu.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #13 - December 7th, 2007, 4:02 pm
    Post #13 - December 7th, 2007, 4:02 pm Post #13 - December 7th, 2007, 4:02 pm
    Is this place still around? I'm looking for a homestyle (non-bbq) Korean place (like the Korean version of Sunshine Cafe). I searched and found Kokeeri and this place and was wondering if they are still in business. How are these places in comparison to the fare offered at the Snack Shop in Chicago Food Corp. ?
  • Post #14 - December 8th, 2007, 9:00 am
    Post #14 - December 8th, 2007, 9:00 am Post #14 - December 8th, 2007, 9:00 am
    binofhay wrote:How are these places in comparison to the fare offered at the Snack Shop in Chicago Food Corp. ?

    Binofhay,

    Crystal Korean has more of a restaurant feel, albeit casual, and a wider choice of hearty meat centric dishes, Kokeeri is a restaurant in they have waitress service, but's more casual about it and focus more on dumplings and soups. Chicago Food Corp's snack shop is a favorite of mine for a quick snack while shopping for Korean Popsicles or the ingredients to make Kimchee Chigae.

    Another home style Korean restaurant you may wish to try is Lincoln Restaurant, small, think corner coffee shop, with Korean home style cooking.

    Crystal Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-275-0489

    Kokeeri
    4346 W Lawrence
    Chicago, IL 60630
    773-205-5680
    Mon-Sat 10am - 10 pm
    Closed Sunday

    Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60659

    Chicago Food Corp
    3333 N Kimball Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-478-5566
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - December 8th, 2007, 9:41 am
    Post #15 - December 8th, 2007, 9:41 am Post #15 - December 8th, 2007, 9:41 am
    Why, thank you, G Wiv! I was under the impression Lincoln Restaurant had closed down (I don't know why I'm so paranoid about good places going out of biz... :? ) CFC Snack Corner is also one of my faves -- I always get dukkboki and for dessert, a bag of Banana Kicks.
  • Post #16 - December 8th, 2007, 11:02 am
    Post #16 - December 8th, 2007, 11:02 am Post #16 - December 8th, 2007, 11:02 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Another home style Korean restaurant you may wish to try is Lincoln Restaurant, small, think corner coffee shop, with Korean home style cooking.

    Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60659



    G Wiv, are you talking about Korean restaurant or Lincoln Restaurant?

    Lincoln Restaurant
    5501 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-784-5225

    Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60659

    (addresses taken from your Lincoln Restaurant thread.)

    thanks!

    -Laura
  • Post #17 - December 8th, 2007, 1:17 pm
    Post #17 - December 8th, 2007, 1:17 pm Post #17 - December 8th, 2007, 1:17 pm
    comradelaura wrote:G Wiv, are you talking about Korean restaurant or Lincoln Restaurant?

    Laura,

    It's a little confusing, but actually both.

    Lincoln Restaurant is the corner coffee shop home style Korean at 5501 N Lincoln.

    Lincoln Restaurant (5501 N Lincoln Ave)
    Image

    Korean Restaurant is also known as Crystal Korean Restaurant 5800 N Lincoln, even though the sign says Korean Restaurant.

    Crystal Korean Restaurant (5800 N Lincoln Ave)
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Lincoln Restaurant
    5501 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-784-5225

    Crystal Korean Restaurant
    5800 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-275-0489
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - December 8th, 2007, 1:28 pm
    Post #18 - December 8th, 2007, 1:28 pm Post #18 - December 8th, 2007, 1:28 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Ahh... ok. Now I get it. You had the 5800 N. Lincoln address twice, once as Crystal and once as Korean and no Lincoln restaurant address in the post above.

    [Note: comradelaura wrote the above, not G Wiv]

    Laura,

    OK, now I see. Crystal Korean Restaurant and Korean Restaurant are one in the same, I meant to include Lincoln Restaurant address as well.

    Funny thing, in reading the posts on Crystal Korean Restaurant I was moved to have lunch there today with Steve Z. Exactly as it was last I was there, but everything seemed a half-step tastier.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #19 - December 8th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    Post #19 - December 8th, 2007, 2:03 pm Post #19 - December 8th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    I'm just back from meeting GWiv for a dumpling-centric early lunch at Crystal Korean which, despite having had a car ram through the front of the restaurant making it necessary to enter from the alley, is open and firing on all cylinders. We started off with both fried and steamed mandu, which are made in house by the owner whose picture has been posted before.

    Fried Mandu
    Image

    Steamed Mandu
    Image

    We followed that up with kimchee fried rice with egg.

    Kimchee Fried Rice With Egg
    Image

    And for a soup course keeping with our dumpling-centric lunch, some Mandu Geongol which was quite good despite being a completely different soup from that which is described on the menu.

    What we were served had no beef, but instead some fake krab, fish cake, tofu and some very good soba noodles in a spicy broth. I enjoyed this very much and will gladly order it again.

    Mandu Geongol
    Image
    Image

    I had only been to Crystal one other time, and it was shortly after they opened. I enjoyed that visit, but if anything the food has gotten even better. Since I live in the area, I'm going to have to put Crystal Korean in my regular rotation.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - December 8th, 2007, 2:09 pm
    Post #20 - December 8th, 2007, 2:09 pm Post #20 - December 8th, 2007, 2:09 pm
    comradelaura wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Ahh... ok. Now I get it. You had the 5800 N. Lincoln address twice, once as Crystal and once as Korean and no Lincoln restaurant address in the post above.

    Laura,

    OK, now I see. Crystal Korean Restaurant and Korean Restaurant are one in the same, I meant to include Lincoln Restaurant address as well.

    Funny thing, in reading the posts on Crystal Korean Restaurant I was moved to have lunch there today with Steve Z. Exactly as it was last I was there, but everything seemed a half-step tastier.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Is Gary making up his own friends to "talk to" now??!?! :wink:

    Did the software mess up? How'd Gary's words come out of ComradeLaura's mouth?
  • Post #21 - December 8th, 2007, 2:28 pm
    Post #21 - December 8th, 2007, 2:28 pm Post #21 - December 8th, 2007, 2:28 pm
    I think gary might have edited comradelaura's post accidentally, instead of replying :)
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #22 - December 8th, 2007, 4:03 pm
    Post #22 - December 8th, 2007, 4:03 pm Post #22 - December 8th, 2007, 4:03 pm
    Just wondering: Do they have veggie mandu?
  • Post #23 - December 8th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    Post #23 - December 8th, 2007, 4:05 pm Post #23 - December 8th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    Jay K wrote:
    Is Gary making up his own friends to "talk to" now??!?! :wink:



    Ahhh the meals I would enjoy if I were Gary's imaginary friend...
  • Post #24 - May 24th, 2008, 8:54 pm
    Post #24 - May 24th, 2008, 8:54 pm Post #24 - May 24th, 2008, 8:54 pm
    LTH,

    Hadn't had Kimchi fried rice in a good long while, not since Lincoln Noodle House closed down, and it really hit the spot. Just a simple stir fri topped with a thin omelet and, implausibly, ketchup, but flavorful and filling.

    KimChi Fried Rice
    Image

    Kim Bap, Korean style maki rolls, and house made mandu, either fried or steamed, make for inexpensive and tasty starters.

    Kim Bap
    Image

    Steve Z had Jiol-myeon, spicy noodles with veg, served cold with a half hard boiled egg, very high crunch factor, which I like. Jiol-myeon seems a spot-on light summer lunch.

    Jiol-myeon
    Image

    Crystal Korean is a terrific low impact neighborhood lunch or casual dinner spot, reliably good food, inexpensive and heartfelt, if not bilingual, service.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - May 25th, 2008, 6:10 am
    Post #25 - May 25th, 2008, 6:10 am Post #25 - May 25th, 2008, 6:10 am
    Lunch was (as usual) very good, but in reviewing this thread, it appears that they have changed the prep for the kimchi fried rice.

    Kimchi Fried Rice 12/8/07
    Image

    Kimchi Fried Rice 5/24/08
    Image

    As good as the ketchup infused version was, I think I might prefer the old version made with a fried egg.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #26 - May 25th, 2008, 9:49 am
    Post #26 - May 25th, 2008, 9:49 am Post #26 - May 25th, 2008, 9:49 am
    Your most recent kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice) actually looks more like omu-rice オムライス (often found in Korean restaurants as well) - wonder if they started serving omurice as "kimchi fried rice" instead.

    Does the menu list it as kimchi bokkeumbap or omurice? Or is it just called "kimchi fried rice?" You certainly shouldn't get the latter for the former if ordered "in Korean."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omurice
  • Post #27 - May 25th, 2008, 11:45 am
    Post #27 - May 25th, 2008, 11:45 am Post #27 - May 25th, 2008, 11:45 am
    Jay K wrote:Your most recent kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice) actually looks more like omu-rice

    Yeah, that looks exactly like Korean-style omurice.

    And putting ketchup on eggs is common in Korea, though I still recoil in horror whenever my wife does this.
  • Post #28 - May 25th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    Post #28 - May 25th, 2008, 1:35 pm Post #28 - May 25th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    DY wrote:
    Jay K wrote:Your most recent kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice) actually looks more like omu-rice

    Yeah, that looks exactly like Korean-style omurice.

    And putting ketchup on eggs is common in Korea, though I still recoil in horror whenever my wife does this.


    My Russian Grandmother did this as well. It never caught on with me, but it certainly was a familiar flavor when I tried GWiv's dish.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #29 - May 25th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    Post #29 - May 25th, 2008, 3:15 pm Post #29 - May 25th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    stevez wrote:Kimchi Fried Rice 5/24/08
    Image

    Wow. Words fail me so I'll quote.

    stevez wrote:God, that is disgusting looking...

    stevez wrote:That looks aweful. Thanks for taking one for the team.

    stevez wrote:From the looks of things, it doesn't look all that good.
  • Post #30 - May 25th, 2008, 4:51 pm
    Post #30 - May 25th, 2008, 4:51 pm Post #30 - May 25th, 2008, 4:51 pm
    being a Chinese person who was born in Korea, I am very used to ketchup on not only eggs, but on fried rice also. I believe this is a fairly common Asian thing that westerners can't understand (much like having Spam in many Asian dishes).

    My friends always freak out when i put ketchup on my fried rice! :)

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