Korean Food in Cleveland: Bonchon Delivers

Bonchon | 7581 Broadview Rd. | Seven Hills

Raise your hand if you remember the old dine-in Pizza Hut in Seven Hills. I loved that place. My mom used to always take me and my brother there—we reveled in the lunch buffet, personal pan pizzas and, of course, BOOK IT.

What does this have to do with anyone, you ask? It’s simple—Bonchon sits in the old Pizza Hut at 7581 Broadview Rd in Seven Hills. 

A South Korean-based franchise, Bonchon is a casual restaurant that specializes in Korean fried chicken and traditional Asian fusion. Korean fried chicken is typically lighter and crispier than its American counterpart. Common accompaniments are pickled radish cubes and beer or soju (a Korean liquor).

Bonchon sits on Broadview Rd., near Pleasant Valley Rd.

At Bonchon, the chicken is hand-brushed with a signature sauce and then double fried, creating a crispy outer layer. 

Menu highlights include traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap, bulgogi, Japchae, tteokbokki, pork buns, tacos and house fried rice. Dishes are à la carte and range from $8 to $15.

An interior view of Bonchon

Like Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino, Bonchon is a restaurant I’ve frequented over the years but, for some reason, never wrote about … until now.

Tiffany and I visited on a recent Saturday night. The service and atmosphere proved stellar, but the food was just average. We ordered chicken tacos and chicken sliders. 

My tacos—three flour tortillas with spicy chicken, lettuce, coleslaw, ranch and red onions—were uninspired. Outside of being spicy, the tacos suffered from a lack of balance and flavor. They could have used more coleslaw and red onions and less lettuce. The tortillas did nothing to elevate the dish.

Chicken tacos

Tiffany, in describing her sliders, had the line of the night: “They had a good amount of heat. I didn’t feel violated by them. But anything else would have been too much.” Otherwise, nothing stood out about her meal.

Chicken sliders and a smirk

I’m chalking up our experience to an off night in the kitchen, as I’ve been impressed by Bonchon’s offerings in the past. My favorites include pork buns, sweet crunch chicken strips, potstickers, shrimp shumai and boneless wings. Those items get my personal stamp of approval.

Bonchon may be a chain (they have locations in the United States, Asia and the Middle East) but Applebees it is not.

Sporting a sleek, contemporary vibe, I view it as a kind of upscale, family-friendly sports bar. The restaurant features modern decor, an attractive bar and a sizable garage-door patio.

Another look at the restaurant’s interior

Bonchon may not offer pizza buffets or BOOK IT, but that’s okay—it’s nice to have a restaurant like this in Seven Hills. See you on Broadview Road. Cheers.

Coming tomorrow: A look ahead to the weekend in Northeast Ohio. You can bet we’ll take a look at Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week.

J.P. Sorma will be the subject of our first interview.

Coming Friday: Batter up! Our interview series with interesting Clevelanders will begin. We’ll talk to baseball star, model/actor, engineer and entrepreneur J.P. Sorma.

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