Korean Concept ‘Rice Crook’ Opens at Cross Street Market

| September 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Fast-casual Korean concept Rice Crook opened over the weekend at the newly-renovated Cross Street Market. Rice Crook is located in a new stall location near the middle of the market and is adjacent to Gangster Vegan, Cans, Annoula’s Kitchen, The Sweet Shoppe, and the soon-to-open Sobeachy.

Owner Scott Chung owns Bun’d Up at Union Market in Washington, DC and Rice Crook at Ballston Quarter in Arlington, VA. Rice Crook’s Cross Street Market location is a marriage of both businesses as it will offer the bao (steamed bun sandwiches) from Bun’d Up and bibimbap (Korean rice bowls) from the Rice Crook in Arlington. It will also sell salads.

Chung, who grew up eating Korean dishes made by his mother and extended family, initially thought about going to culinary school, but decided to attend college instead. He later changed direction and enrolled in the pastry program at L’Academie De Cuisine. Chung had a bread making internship, helped open a couple of ramen shops, and later started working at River House with Chef and Owner Nathan Sowers. Sowers saw Chung’s talent and encouraged him to sell his bao on the weekends.

Chung started Bun’d Up as a farmer’s market business and it quickly took off. Chung combines his background in bread baking and his family’s Korean recipes in his bao sandwiches. Chung hoped to open his first brick-and-mortar location at Cross Street Market, but as the redevelopment of the market experienced delays, he opened his other two locations first.

The rice bowls at Rice Crook have the option of white jasmine, brown barley, or wild purple rice. Unlike some bibimbap places where you build-you-own-bowl, Rice Crook offers set combinations. There’s the Korean BBQ Beef with kimchi, spinach, daikon, carrot, scallions, sesame seeds, nori, and ssamjang; the 5 Spice Pulled Pork with daikon, carrot, cucumber, onions, fried shallots, cilantro, and cilantro lime aioli; the Pork Belly with kimchi, crushed peanuts, pickled onions, cilantro, fried garlic, and fried shallots; the Miso Chicken with daikon, carrot, cucumber, fried garlic, shallots, cilantro, and cilantro lime aioli; and the Tofu or Mushroom with kimchi, spinach, daikon, carrot, sesame seeds, nori, ssamjang, and micro greens.

The bao buns come with three per order and options include the Korean BBQ Beef with kimchi and ssamjang mayo; Pork Belly with kimchi, crushed peanuts, cilantro, and fried shallots; the Miso Chicken with daikon, carrots, cilantro fried shallots, and cilantro lime aioli; and Mushroom with micro greens, fried shallots, and cilantro lime aioli.

The salads can be topped with chicken or tofu on top of arugula, kale, purple cabbage, carrots radish, Korean sweet potatoes, almond slices, and fried shallots with the choice of a creamy ginger miso or ginger miso vinaigrette.

Rice Crook will offer different food specials each week.

Rice Crook sources its meats locally from J.W. Treuth & Sons and its produce locally from King Mushrooms and Little Wild Things Farm.

Rice Crook also offers soft drinks, Asian teas, and water.

While Chung did not grow up in Maryland, he is excited to open his first business in Baltimore where he has a lot of friends, and to be near Oriole Park at Camden Yards where he has attended a lot of baseball games. He thinks Rice Crook is a good concept for a small space in a market and that it will complement the other businesses well.

Rice Crook is open Monday to Thursday from 11am to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 930pm, and Sundays from 11am to 7pm. Rice Crook will have 7 to 10 employees.

Read SouthBMore.com’s articles detailing the different aspects of the Cross Street Market redevelopment here.

Photo below courtesy of Rice Crook 

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.