Google it: rumors of Yum Bunz, a Korean steamed buns place from Guy Wong and Michael Blum, have been circling in the Atlanta food press since April 2011 — and the “Opening Soon” signs have been up in West Midtown for a while now, too. Yum Bunz has been so long in the making, in fact, that The Optimist’s chef, Adam Evans recently tweeted:
I don’t believe you anymore. pic.twitter.com/pt3hnXuYFz
— adam evans (@AdamHEvans) June 21, 2013
But here’s the thing: it opens today.
This past Saturday, Guy Wong invited a couple hundred of his closest friends to check out the restaurant and the menu.
The restaurant itself is bright and spacious; the walls are lined with booths for cozying up with friends or family, and there are stand-alone tables which will, no doubt, find themselves filled with the books and laptops of the returning Georgia Tech student body next month. The kitchen will be led by Chris Lee, who worked with Blum at The Real Chow Baby, an establishment that Yum Bunz owes its counter efficiency to.
But the food’s the important part, right?
Right, but let’s put this out there first: Guy Wong is a fantastic chef. If you’ve ever been to Miso Izakaya in the Old Fourth Ward you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t…why the heck not? From ramen to pork belly, to a great selection of sushi, you can’t go wrong.
But back to Yum Bunz… It’s a home run, and is chock full of Wong and Lee’s delicious food. The steamed bunz are soft and filled with your choice of yellow chicken curry, mongolian bbq, szechuan chicken, char siu bbq pork, chicken teriyaki, or a seasonal vegetable selection, and none of them weigh in at more than 180 calories so your diet will survive.
Dumplings are available with a couple of fillings, and available steamed or griddled with a choice of dipping sauces. Then there are curry bowls. Pictured is the Teriyaki Beef with White Rice.
I sat with Atlanta foodies, Jason Dominy, Angela Hansberger, and Broderick Smylie, and heard praise being heaped on everything from the dumplings to the chicken coconut soup, Thai green curry, and every single flavor of bao. The only thing that didn’t hit the high bar Wong has set was the Asian Slaw, which wasn’t really different from regular Southern coleslaw.
But that was the purpose of this gathering — to iron out the kinks, the few minor ones that there were, before the grand opening.
Yum Bunz opens today at 11:30am and will be open until 9:30pm. It will be open from 11:30am-9:30pm Monday through Saturday, with Sundays “Coming Soon,” according to the menu. Pretty sure Sunday hours will get here faster than this welcome addition to West Midtown dining got here.