Kobi-Q's green curry is coconut-based with a choice of chicken or tofu and vegetables, along with a side of rice. Joyce Smith | jsmith@kcstar.com

Korean 'comfort food' restaurant now open in the Crossroads

Kobi-Q's Spicy BBQ + Rice Cakes has grilled pork or squid with chewy rice cakes in a house-made red pepper paste. Joyce Smith | jsmith@kcstar.com

The Crossroads' new Korean "comfort food" restaurant has softly opened its doors as it waits for its liquor license.

New York-based artist Mila Lee and former Kansas City ballet instructor Huy Ku Kwon teamed up on Kobi-Q at 1531 Grand Blvd.

kobi-q map

They offer such items as spicy cakes (chewy rice cakes and fish cakes in a spicy red paste topped with mozzarella cheese), noodles including Japchae glass noodles (gluten-free) with vegetables and beef, garlic Mama chicken, green curry and Kobi-Q Sweet + Sour (Chinese-Korean-style sweet and sour beef with a tangy glaze and rice).

"I came to do the design, it is mostly Huy Ku. But then I got sucked into it. The time is right to open a Korean restaurant, people are more open to trying to different spices," said Lee, who grew up in Overland Park and is considering moving back to the metro.

"The menu is Korean-heavy. We have the Korean barbecue that everyone is familiar with and the pork with the rice cakes that is really good," she said. "But we have a Vietnamese dish, a Japanese dish, and some novel items like the spicy cakes."

"Sharing" dishes include the Dragon Pot (described as a fiery red pepper stew topped with rice cakes, ramen, dumplings, a Korean fish cake and vegetable tempura) and Shabu-Shabu (a Japanese-style fondue with a choice or raw meats or seafood, served with fresh vegetables and a choice of Sukiyaki broth or miso-based broth).

Kobi-Q also has such sides as edamame, spring rolls, dumplings, white kimchee, seaweed and octopus and cucumber.

Other menu items include Tonkatsu fried cutlets (Japanese fried pork or chicken cutlets served with a tangy Worcester sauce and rice) and Toshi Bowls (a Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl topped with grilled pork, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs, lettuce and a Vietnamese vinaigrette).

Kobi-Q soon plans to offer beer, wine, saki and soju, and then later specialty cocktails.

The space, once a bank, also formerly housed Czar Bar and then Vault for a short stint.

Kobi-Q took out the wood floors to expose the bank's original marble. A new skylight and hanging flower baskets give it a lighter atmosphere and a server station has an entrance through the vault to the kitchen.

Korean 'comfort food' restaurant now open in the Crossroads