May 232008

We got a no-frills little Korean diner here that is the perfect joint for an informal lunch whilst running soulless, horrible shopping errands in the JoCo. Rainbow is located in that rambling and not particularly well-aging series of strip malls at Metcalf around 103rd. Directly across from the Sprawl-Mart. The restaurant itself is tucked back off the street in a smaller strip that includes a florist, liquor store, and a Jose Pepper’s Border grill and cantina.

For the record, I have never been, nor do i plan to ever eat at Jose Pepper’s Border grill and cantina. There is kind of a funny bio of the mythical Mr. Pepper on the front page of their website. But it only goes to prove that this place is about as Mexican as Chili’s. But they are local, which I didn’t realize. I’m thinking it’s like Taco John’s with beer. But believe me, I would LOVE to hear impassioned defenses of Jose Pepper’s on this blog. Why?

  1. Because I love when people love crappy places, it makes me me laugh. at them.
  2. Being unapologetic and self-deprecating about one’s tastes are attractive traits, and indeed are the hallmark of my generation.
  3. Sometimes I’m actually convinced.

Back to the matter at hand: a really drab, tiny little Korean lunch spot that sits down the walkway from Pepper’s. While the white people are down there eating deep fried tortillas filled with crap and covered in queso sauce, there are usually one or two tables of Korean folks enjoying a meal at Rainbow. Unfortunately for Mr. Rainbow, that’s usually about it. I’ve never seen the place even remotely crowded and I’ve been about 3 or 4 times.

Here’s where I fess up: I don’t know a hell of a lot about Korean food so I usually just guess at what sounds good. One time I went for something adventurous and wound up with a seafood stir fry in a black sauce made from what I can only assume was squid ink. Seriously. It was actually decently prepared but just not my personal taste or texture preference.

Yesterday I went safe and ordered bulgogi which is one of the more famous Korean dishes, along with Bi Bim Bop (which is great hangover food by the way).

Bulgogi is basically a beef and onion stir fry. Mine was really quite delicious and was accompanied by some steamed rice, and of course bok choy and daikon kim chi varieties. Korean food is really distinguished by its used of these pickled delicacies and really can’t be appreciated unless you partake. Korean dishes also have an affinity for the raw or lightly cooked egg which is another really great feature.

The atmosphere at Rainbow is…well…a little depressing. The booths came straight from an auction at a failed early 90’s Shoney’s restaurant and the decor is basically nonexistent.

However there is one highly entertaining and exciting exception: DORAEMON SAUCE BOTTLES! Who the hell is Doraemon? Shit I had no idea, but that’s what Google is for, unless you are some kind of creepy Japan-o-phile manga loving freak with a furry costume and some ilicit polaroids secreted in your mom’s basement. Anyhow, Doraemon is an insanely popular Japanese animated character who appeared in a series of 60’s-70’s cartoons. His charm and jaunty spriti quickly spread like wildfire across parts of Asia.

So every single table of the restaurant has a Doraemon-themed soy sauce bottle, rice vinegar bottle and matching tray. They are very informative as to who this Doraemon character is. The bottles read:

Doraemon the cat-like robot. he measures 129.3 cm around the belly. he was born on 3rd September 2112. He has many fantastic tools

Ok that explains it right? Well, check out the Doraemon episodes on Youtube, they are very inventive and funny. And he does have some crazy-ass tools.

Not sure if his birth in 2112 is related in any way to the most hilarious multi-part epic suite Canadian wackoids Rush ever made, but I’d be willing to guess that it is not. Doraemon would have a tool to destroy the Priests of Syrinx.

Back to lunch spots. Service here was extremely friendly and efficient. Kim Chi and water came out immediately, the food emerged lightening fast out of the kitchen and the bill was delivered as soonas I put the chopsticks down.

This is the only Korean place I’ve tried in the metro and I know there are others, so let’s hear about em.

Oh, and sorry for all the tangents, but you realize that rather than a restaurant blog, this is only a joke/humor blog, right?

Further reading: an more informed, discriminating and knowledgeable review over at Yelp

Read more:

Chung's Rainbow on Urbanspoon


  13 Responses to “Rainbow Korean Restaurant: 10326 Metcalf (OPKS) – CLOSED”

  1. I love tangents! They are tasty. This is probably my favorite lunch post. You made me giggle! Thanks!

  2. That’s the place I had in mind for our JoCo lunch. So the fact that you went 4 times means that you like it? I had an adventure of my own today getting Arab food.

  3. The reason why there aren’t many people at Rainbow Korean restaurant is because across the street there is another Korean restaurant called choga which is much better and a lot more authentic, try Choga and you’ll see the difference. And no, I don’t work for Choga, I just happen to love their food, if you are getting lunch, try to be there by noon, when it gets busy, the services tend to be quite slow, as there is only two waiters for all the tables there. But is worth the wait, the food there is so awesome.

    Choga Korean Restaurant
    6920 W 105th St
    Overland Park, KS 66212
    Phone: (913) 385-2151

  4. Wow! I not only feel like I got a restaurant review, but also a little bit of world education too. Score! I think I love Doraemon. Especially since he “measures 129.3 cm around the belly”.

    Tze beat me to it…I was also going to mention Choga – which is pretty much ACROSS METCALF from where you were. I really, really like Choga. Everything I’ve had there is yummy, although I don’t remember specifics.

    Regarding Jose Pepper’s – I used to think they were good, then I went to Mi Ranchito. I haven’t been back to Jose’s. They put too much pepper on everything and really dumb the food down for us Americcuns. Mi Ranchito adds some modern twists on the traditional dishes and is delish. The Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas and the Jalisco Chimichanga are my favorites.

    Okay…hungry now.

  5. Choga! Thanks guys…I knew there was another place around there but i never knew the name or where to find it. I’ll seek it out sometime soon.

    I’m very persistent when it comes to locating lunch spots, as my next post will reveal.

    Tze I’m glad you don’t work for Choga, because I’ve had too much of that lately.

  6. When I first moved to KC, I asked a co worker what the best Mexican restaurant in KC was, and she directed me to Jose Pepper’s. I ate there and the food reminded me of Chi Chi’s. Honestly, even Margarita’s and Manny’s are not that good. Sol Azteca, Mi Ranchito, Dos Reales and even Tarahumara all blow those three local “institutions” away when it comes to good Mexican food.

  7. That’s awesome! Most places only serve the general cabbage kim chi, so the fact they make their own is great.

    Surprisingly I have never had bulgogi (which I plan to remedy soon) or bim bam bop. I have enjoyed a number of other Korean dishes.

    As for Jose Pepper’s… lets just say I eat a lot with friends who live for On The Border so I am used to Americanized chain Mexican food. But it wouldn’t be my first choice.

  8. My husband used to work at that Jose Peppers. He started at Cactus Grill in Leawood before they moved him there…he was supposed to be in training to be th new kitchen manager for the Cactus Grill that was opening in P.V. last year, but the current kitchen manager at the Leawood location wanted the job. (I talked about it a bit on my blog last year…I think it was around June, or so.)

    He walked out of his Jose Peppers job after a month and a half. He’s never walked out on a job…not even the one that was failing to pay him years ago. But he walked out on his Jose Peppers job. They’re a bunch of ‘tards running those restaurants. Seemed like a good deal that they were local and family-based, but they don’t have a clue. We’ve eaten at the new Cactus in P.V. once since it opened, but we prefer Dos Reales if we’re gonna get Mexican, to be honest.

    We tried the Korean place down on Metcalf at about 127th, I think it is? It was delicious. Hard to figure out what you’re ordering, but good overall. We haven’t been back…it was a bit far from home for us. So it would be nice to try someplace closer…thanks for the tip!

  9. *This is all great, thanks.

    *I love kimchi, but I require near-immediate access to a men’s room if I indulge…

    *I dined at Jose Pepper’s a few months ago. I hadn’t been there in over decade. It was totally fine- the appeal seems to be the massive portions. And the place was packed.

    *The secret of life can be found down the street at Casa Paloma.

  10. We had lunch and Casa Paloma and it wasn’t that great. Not impressed.

  11. many people who wrote comments here seems like they dont know korean food at all. rainbow is probably the best korean restaurant in kansas . well if you know korean food, we will know for sure…and they usually get packed during the weekend luch time. try to avoid to go during the weekend.
    p.s their kimchi is unbelievable

  12. […] I posted about the pedestrian but serviceable Rainbow Korean Restaurant earlier this year, a few commenters suggested I try Cho-ga across Metcalf. Not long after, I had […]

  13. […] the best of the five or so Korean restaurants the Kansas City metro has to offer. Cho-sun, Choga, Rainbow and Kokoro Maki House are the only other places that offer decent Korean dishes in town, but I […]