Ovation for Oiji…

Oxtail
Oxtail

I am partial to Asian food, but I don’t dabble that frequently in Korean food.

I had read about Oiji, a new restaurant whose cuisine was described as refined, authentic Korean.

Oiji Interior
Oiji Interior

I loved the look of the place…slick, cement floors, gorgeous custom casement windows, cool lighting, a beautiful communal table. Peace and serenity prevailed.

We had a 7:30 reservation, but we were early because we wanted to get downtown before the predicted downpour. We found a parking spot near Oiji which is in the east village on 1st Avenue and 7th Street.

We waited out the deluge in the car and as it is written in the good book, the sea parted, the sun shone brightly and we made our way to Oiji.

Our server was a delight and the pacing perfect, although I noticed that as soon as your fork hit a partially emptied plate the runners were at your elbow ready to clear.

Did my mother institute clearing classes for Manhattan restaurants or are peeps trying to subtly indicate that I should not to finish what is on my plate?

Soju
Soju

We were introduced to traditional Korean Soju similar to sake (bottle $36)…Hwa Yo Premium Soju which is 23% alcohol …why didn’t I know about Soju?! It is compelling, but proceed cautiously.

wild Sesame Soup
wild Sesame Soup

We started our intimate party for two with wild sesame soup with oyster mushrooms and truffle ($9). It had an earthy rich flavor…very different, but delicious.

Jang-Jo-Rim
Jang-Jo-Rim

The next dish was Jang-jo-rim with buttered rice and a soft boiled egg…it rocked ($12). I don’t know what I was truly eating, but it was delectable. They put the thinly sliced beef on the side for me and it was mild and tasty.

Jang-Jo-Rim Beef
Jang-Jo-Rim Beef

I went out on a limb and ordered slow cooked oxtail with root vegetables. The dish was amazing.

Oxtail
Oxtail

The meat tender and tantalizing, the broth sensational and the veggies exquisite ($24).

Smoked Mackerel
Smoked Mackerel

David ordered the pine leaves smoked mackerel with citrus soy ($14). He loved it. The presentation meticulous and creative.

Assorted Kimchi
Assorted Kimchi

We also included a side of assorted kimchi ($6). It was okay. Kimchi, I can live without.

Truffle Seafood Broth
Truffle Seafood Broth

David was still craving more so we ordered truffle seafood broth with sizzling crispy rice ($18). The rice was terrific, the mussels fragrant and flavorful.

Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken

The fried chicken is a house favorite ($13). The table next to us ordered two fried chickens and insisted that I try it.

I was not blown away so I am very happy that I went for the oxtail instead. With meat and poultry dishes I am on my own so I need to choose wisely.

Oiji recommends sharing and ordering 2-3 dishes per person which is spot on. Some restaurants just want you to keep ordering, but Oiji has realistic expectations.

I have to admit that I have never indulged in such delicate and flavorful Korean food.

Oiji
Oiji

The heart and soul of Oiji is the co-chef/co-owner team of Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku. Born and raised in Korea, both worked in restaurants in Seoul before moving to the United States to attend the Culinary Institute of America.

They quickly became friends and roommates, discovering a shared vision to bring a new perspective on Korean cooking to New York City.

Kim and Ku cooked at Bouley and Gramercy Tavern respectively before creating Oiji.

Oiji is a winner…step outside your traditional comfort zone and indulge in some kick-ass Korean food.

Oiji 119 1st Avenue at 7th Street Open Tuesday-Thursday 6-11pm, Friday and Saturday 6-12am, Sunday 5-10pm. Closed Mondays. Reservations over the phone or on OpenTable.com.

2 Comments

  1. kristen kulas says:

    yummy

  2. Sounds delish!!!! Wish I was there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*