Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Oiji: Adorable Korean Tapas in East Village

What?  Korean food outside of K-town?

And you should go.  To Oiji.  Soon. (Maybe put some pants on first.)

Take a seat among friends.  Share libations like rum & pepper cocktails with pepper syrup and blackberry shrubs.

Remark on the simple decor (it's really so cute) while you wait for your food - order several plates to share, it's the only way.

The fried chicken arrived first, and the waiter swiftly stated, as I grasped my camera with both hands, "You really should eat this as soon as possible."  Fine.  I know the tapioca flour batter waits for no one, but it really took no time to polish at all - the batter was almost ethereal, so light and crisp.

The smoked mackerel was a must order for us - one of my favorite fish.  We dressed it with a simple squeeze of lemon and citrus soy - it really didn't need the soy, so naturally flavorful, but who can resist using that charming brush made of chives?

The beef tartare, topped with a brilliant glob of slow-cooked egg yolk, was instantly the table favorite, topped with ramp aioli, sticks of daikon and immaculate cubes of sweet cantaloupe.  The beef was exceptionally light and amazing.

The truffle seafood plate with crisp rice is finished tableside with a pour of the hot seafood broth over crisp rice.

The rice soaks up a bit of the immensely flavorful broth, but maintains all the crunchy fun you'd want for the party in your mouth.  The soup comes with a few mussels, calamari rings and shrimp, and feels like spoonfuls of instant comfort.

The slow-cooked oxtail with root vegetables is a hearty, meaty plate with two thick pieces of oxtail.  The dish is unexpectedly sweet and would be wonderful with a nice bowl of steamed, white rice, which could be ordered on the side.  We didn't bother with any rice though, instead, we just picked up the oxtail with our grubby hands and chewed that braised meat clean off the bone.  (Okay, I wish we did that.)

We ended with the honey chips, freshly fried to order, unbelievably light and crispy, yet somehow glazed with honey and absolute magic.  The chips are just the slight bit spicy and sweet and all the bit as delicious as everyone says.  Apparently these chips are THE rage in Korea, and now you can get it for $5 in your very own city!

We ended up getting dessert in the LES later, because sticky toffee pudding is all the rage in my stomach right now, and we'll have more on that later, but next time I'll have to see what Oiji has in the sweets department, because there definitely will be a next time.

Han's Nonsensical Rating:    Best chips.  Best beef tartare.  And best water refills (gotta love these little things!)  So much more on the menu to explore and hopefully adore!

119 1st Ave, New York 10003