SEAReview

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image
8.5

Best New Restaurants

2023

Dark Room

KoreanBar

Greenwood

$$$$Perfect For:First/Early in the Game DatesDrinking Good CocktailsDrinks & A Light BiteEating At The Bar
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Shelled pistachios. Utz Pub Mix. Flash-fried popcorn chicken that once had enough ice crystals to inspire another Frozen movie. Bar snacks are called snacks for a reason—because they’re not dinner.  

Unless we’re talking about Dark Room. This Greenwood bar is not just a place to stumble into, for a cocktail and something crunchy. It’s a fun hang where the bar snacks make for a great meal.

The menu is a small but mighty lineup of Korean dishes that vie for your attention like tween thespians at theater camp. We must be fair to all of the kids, and in this case, to Dark Room too—everyone gets equal kudos, and ordering multiple dishes (if not the entire menu) is the only way to roll. Dip Ritz crackers into kimchi-spiked Beecher’s pimento cheese with one hand as you tear into a teriyaki Spam rice bowl with the other. Let a friend spoonfeed you sticky gochujang meatballs. And then, there’s the sandwich. The milk bun is a total star that holds up to its fillings—a shrimpy pork patty, Kewpie mayo, and pickled vegetables. Fine, this sandwich is the standout dish. Please don’t tell the other children.

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Dark Room image
Dark Room image
Dark Room image
Dark Room image
Dark Room image

You could come here just to eat, but there’s also some nifty sh*t happening behind the bar. Cocktails are booze-forward, often blending multiple spirits together, though there’s a wonderful balance between alcohol and not-alcohol. The Mai Tai Knee Dic is a textbook grab bag of different rums with just enough orgeat and lime to soften the blow. The Carrot Gold N’ Arms, with herbal genepy and celery bitters, is like inhaling a garden after heavy rain. 

This is one dark room that’s perfect for a moody drink or two. Yes, Dark Room has a loose photography theme, as evidenced by both its name and the lambrusco-based “Pisco & Paparazzi” flute that comes with a Polaroid of yourself. But really, it is a cool cocktail spot that the neighborhood needed. Use it for a low-stakes date or friend catch-up when you’d like the place to be nearly packed but not too noisy. Just don’t spoil your appetite beforehand.

Food Rundown

Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Kimchi Pimento Cheese

Replace jarred pimentos with kimchi and no-name cheddar with shredded Beecher’s Flagship, and the result is genius. Where there’s heat, there’s also a cooling cabbage crunch. Where there’s vinegary tang, there’s also buttery cheese. Swipe it all on a Ritz cracker and don’t look back.
Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Pork & Shrimp Sandwich

If we decided to let our intrusive thoughts win, there would be a lot of missing stop signs in the world. We’d also tear off the spectacular, yeasty milk bun from this sandwich to eat by itself. But that would be ignoring the rest of the stack, like a juicy ground shrimp and pork patty, a happy heavy hand of Kewpie mayo, and tart pickled vegetables. This is one of the best sandwiches in town.

Korean Meatballs

These delicate beef and pork gochujang meatballs in rice porridge are a home run. They’re squishy in the middle, sticky-crisp on the outside, and we’d gladly fill a Camelbak with the rice porridge to bring to music festivals and the DOL.
Dark Room image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Rice Bowl

It’s simple—fluffy rice, gingery cucumbers, slaw, and a pleasant potato salad make a great base. And while the soy braised beef has serious pot roast energy, we prefer the teriyaki-glazed Spam cubes, which have an impeccable snap.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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