Oiji

Restaurants, Korean East Village
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (Filip Wolak)
1/6
Filip WolakOxtail at Oiji
 (Filip Wolak)
2/6
Filip WolakTartare at Oiji
 (Filip Wolak)
3/6
Filip WolakChil-Jeol-Pan Seven Flavors at Oiji
 (Filip Wolak)
4/6
Filip WolakFried chicken at Oiji
 (Filip Wolak)
5/6
Filip WolakOiji
 (Filip Wolak)
6/6
Filip WolakOiji

The ultimate Netflix-binge, couch-potato snack has arrived, New York—it’s the honey-buttered chips at Oiji, an instantly craveable take on the cultish South Korean junk food that coats thin-cut potato crisps in a salty-sweet, nectar-of-the-gods glaze. It’s the last thing that comes out of the kitchen during a meal here and the first thing you’ll order when you return.

It’s not the only successful Korean retooling that South Korea–born fine-dining vets Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku (Bouley and Gramercy Tavern, respectively) put forth at their neoteric East Village nook, a kind of moodily lit, Lou Reed–soundtracked soul sister to across-the-street Hawaiian outfit Noreetuh in both spirit and scope.

Bibimbap is deconstructed into a DIY “seven flavors” ($14), whisper-thin rice-flour crepes joined by a range of toppings that include julienned carrots, shiitake mushrooms and egg whites. Craggy Korean fried chicken is reborn as arguably the most ethereal chicken cutlet ever ($13), trading grease traps of batter for a delicately crisp tapioca coating, and slow-braised oxtail ($23) is a handsomely refined rendering of the home-cooked classic, highlighting sweet, gelatin-rich meat with the loosest of grips on the knobby bones it’s served on. The artful beef tartare ($16) looks like tweezer food, with its dainty, deliberate installations of pickled mustard seeds, crunchy daikon batons and pats of ramp aioli nestled atop rosy cubes of beef, but its liberal sesame-oil dressing summons traditional Korean raw-beef yukhoe.

Missteps are, graciously, few and far between. Pork proves to be problematic, with slips of brined trotter arriving rubbery beneath preserved Meyer lemon and coins of red chilies ($13), and slow-cooked pork belly stewed with kimchi lacks that lusty fattiness desired from the cut ($16).

But then you get a spoonful of the truffle seafood broth ($18), embellished with a few supple, fresh mussels, calamari rings and sizzling slabs of puffed crispy rice that wondrously don’t sog while soaking up the flavorful stock. And the only problem you’ll be able find is that there isn’t more.

By: Christina Izzo

Posted:

Venue name: Oiji
Contact:
Address: 119 First Ave
NY
10003
Cross street: between 7th St and St. Marks Pl
Opening hours: Tue-Thu, Sun 6-11:30pm; Fri, Sat 6pm-1am
Transport: Subway: 6 to Astor Pl
Price: Average main dish: $18. AmEx, MC, V.
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|3
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tastemaker

I would go back here in a heartbeat.  Everything I ordered at Oiji was insanely delicious, from the pork belly and kimchi to the braised chicken (with a spicy sauce that had the perfect amount of heat).  I loved that it was tapas-style so you can sample a host of offerings as opposed to just one. The staff was incredibly kind and helpful - they walked us through the menu and recommended specific dishes based on what we liked and what we were drinking.  Just to make sure you can eat here when you want to, make a reservation.  It's completely worth it!

moderator

My visit to Oiji left me with one of my most memorable meals, ever, in New York. The small dining room creates an intimate, quite dining experience that's often hard to come by in the city. But the meal is the real stunner. Everything we had was flavorful, beautifully presented and was an inventive take on traditional Korean food. Don't miss the pine leaves smoked mackerel, jang-jo-rim, the fried chicken and the Ssam platter. We didn't order the butter chips, so I'll definitely need to go back and try the rest of the menu!

tastemaker

Usually when I think of Korean food, K-town BBQ is what comes to mind. Oiji skates around this preconceived notion and classes it up..a lot. From this sleek restaurant you can expect prompt service and beautiful, tidy presentations. The jang jo rim is a must order (and by must order, I mean you must order two), and the Ssam platter is great if you don't mind making your own lettuce leaf wraps (you shouldn't), but I thought some of the other dishes fell short and I left hungry. The homemade tofu and wild sesame soup were underwhelming and the butter chips were overrated in my opinion. Would I go back? Yes, but it wouldn't be my first choice.