When a spot like E.M. Bop opens up with a funny name in a strip mall in the Atlanta burbs (Alpharetta), the tendency would be to not to take it too seriously, but you’d be missing out on a fantastic Korean restaurant with a CIA trained chef.
Before opening up E.M. Bop, a delicious hidden gem in Alpharetta, chef Yoon Choi worked at some of the most prestigious hotels in the country. The Four Seasons Chicago loved him but he was pulled away by another high end hotel – the Beverly Hills Hotel. Here, chef Choi worked as the Sous Chef for six years.
So how did he end up in Atlanta? His business partner had family in Alpharetta and they both wanted to share their passion for Korean food with the Atlanta / Alpharetta community. Hence, E.M. Bop was born just a short while ago.
Besides a menu of almost every classic cocktail you’ve ever heard of like Gimlets, Midori Sours, Mai Tais and more, they’ve got specialty Sochu cocktails. If you aren’t familiar with Sochu, it is a liquor similar to vodka. While I didn’t have a cocktail, I did have a shot of plain Sochu which I really enjoyed and paired extremely well with our starters. With dinner, I chose a Hote beer, the Budweiser of Korean beers, but crisp, light and refreshing.
Fried chicken wings KFC ($10) – They are a hot mess but so worth it. They are very filling so its perfect to have with four people but great with two.
Seafood Pancakes – ($15) – These are filled of shrimp and calamari and are a unique find compared to what you’ll find on other menus. Something about this dish reminds me of the Sobban dishes that were so creative.
For mains, the dishes are divided into two sections: more traditional Korean dishes like Bibimbop and Korean barbecue and then more Americanized dishes with a Korean spin, like the burger topped with kimchi or the chicken Bulgogi pasta. We stuck to the traditional at rice bowl: Bibimbop ($15) and Korean barbecue (Bulgogi – $22).
What’s different about E.M. Bop vs. other Korean restaurants that I’ve visited is that the food is not cooked in front of you (there are no grills on the dining tables). All the food is cooked in the open kitchen and served to you as a normal restaurant. The portions here are huge. My Korean barbecue of Ribeye Bulgogi was so huge, it made two more meals for me after dinner.
There are is also a lunch menu at E. M. Bop Korean restaurant in Alpharetta that promises to have you in and out in a hurry.