Mediterranean-inspired salads loaded with a variety of vegetables and grains, fluffy gyros-style “burgers,” shakshuka and rice plates (Chick Peace)
Chick Peace, a Mediterranean-inspired fast casual spot, seems to have mastered the art of serving healthyish, gourmet-inflected fare with the speed and convenience of fast food.
Diners can swoop in and, from one of several automated machines, pick and choose from salads, pita bread “burgers,” shakshuka and rice plates, adding on sides of their choosing.
Portions are generous and everything is flavorful and solid.
These are fluffy gyro-style “burgers” and hearty salads loaded with a variety of pulses, vegetables and grains.
The avocado salad, for instance, features a dollop of in-house hummus, several falafel balls, avocado, pickled carrots, pickled red cabbage, green and black olives, chickpeas and couscous with a cucumber and tomato salad, all colorfully arranged over a bed of crisp lettuce.
On that base one can go ahead and add some succulent, roast chicken or slices of meaty, tender fried eggplant.
The key to Chick Peace's meaty, tender fried eggplant is the quality of the eggplant itself, says owner-chef We Won-jun. (Chick Peace)
“We wanted to deliver an approachable, fast, but quality Mediterranean joint,” Chick Peace head of strategy and operations Ryan Park, 24, said in an email interview.
Park explained the aim of Chick Peace is to provide a place where vegans, vegetarians and nondietary-restricted diners could enjoy food together.
“Anything that is labeled vegan is undoubtedly vegan,” Park said, adding that separate fryers are used “as this is a priority for many vegan eaters.”
“Our omelette dishes are lacto-ovo and marked accordingly,” Park said.
Chick Peace's second location in Seongsu-dong, Seoul (Chick Peace)
Chick Peace first opened in Sinsa-dong, Seoul two years ago, before opening a second location in Seongsu-dong this July as well as offering delivery via Coupang Eats.
Park explained how it all began when owner-chef We Won-jun spent a year and a half in New York studying at a culinary school and accumulating experience with Israeli cuisine. When he returned, chef We took his experiences and channeled it into Chick Peace.
“Chick Peace serves to provide high-quality Mediterranean food at an affordable price range,” chef We, 39, said in an email interview.
Mediterranean cuisine is often used to refer to the cuisine from the Mediterranean Basin -- a region that includes the Southern European coast, the Levantine Coast and the Northern African coast, spanning everywhere from Spain to Greece to Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.
Mediterranean eats, which are incredibly diverse in range and scope, also include falafel, hummus and gyros, which all appear on the menu at Chick Peace.
While both the falafel and hummus at Chick Peace are respectable, the chicken, which is crisp and flavorful on the outside and moist and juicy through the center, the fried eggplant and the overall package --- a gorgeous combination of greens, saline olives, meaty chickpeas, crunchy red cabbage and carrots, creamy avocado -- make this the kind of spot that could easily attract regulars who want to chow down on satisfying and healthyish food.
While the inspiration may be Mediterranean, chef We and his team do not limit themselves to a singular cuisine, drawing inspiration from India to create a “yogurt-based, tandoori-inspired” marinade for their chicken, which is “freshly oven-baked in multiple batches throughout the day,” said Park.
In keeping with the wholesome attitude that seems to have spurred Chick Peace’s success, fans of cauliflower steaks can dig into Chick Peace’s version, which is boiled, baked and paired with a tahini and a green chile sauce, Park said.
Earlier this month, Chick Peace remodeled its Sinsa store and, chef We added, recently shifted “away from plastics to eco-friendly, paper alternatives.” Park also said he plans to explore expanding delivery options for 2021.
540-18 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
101 Bluestone Tower, 302-9 Seongsu-dong 2-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Open daily from 11:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A la carte dishes cost 4,000 won to 12,000 won, salads cost 10,000 won to 15,000 won, rice plates cost 10,000 won to 15,000 won, burgers cost 9,500 won and shakshuka costs 11,000 won to 13,000 won
All menu items are available for takeout or delivery.
Delivery is available via Coupang Eats.
By Jean Oh (email@example.com