Restaurant Review: Oshio
For a strip mall joint, the Fifth Avenue address that hosts Oshio has enjoyed a robust culinary history. It was once a Hawaiian joint, and then a GoCupz Korean place. Now it’s a sushi stop.
The basic bones of the place are similar to its former incarnations, but with clean lines and a neutral color palette. The new Oshio is sleek and chic. The counter that once took orders now frames an open kitchen and sushi bar. The address has grown up.
As is befitting a grown-up restaurant, the place has a more upscale feel and an accompanying more upscale* menu. The treatment of the ingredients matches the prices. The items in the dishes have come across as super-thoughtful, and downright delightful.
Case in point, the relatively simple Kimchi Pancake ($11) is more than just pickled kimchi and Bisquick. The rust-colored pancake holds a defined savory, roasted flavor as it cradles its embedded leaves of kimchi, carrots, painfully fresh corn kernels, and bits of green onion. The pancake itself never gets boring enough to fully justify use of its accompanying sauce, but it’s there for you, if you require extra brine.
The Stone Pot Bimbimbot ($14) was one fun thing after another. Based on nicely clumpy rice, the choice of meat determines the price, and the selected chicken took a distinct backseat to the vegetable elements. Memorable were the the velvety slices of flavor-infused zucchini, and the pillowy mushrooms with an almost fermented flavor: the duo were impossible to stop eating, and it was frankly upsetting when the last morsel was gone. Not that the rest of the pot is disappointing: you can’t live on squash and mushrooms alone, so there are sprouts, carrots, greens and a fried egg speckled with toasted sesame.
For bulgogi junkies, no opportunity to partake can be passed up. Bulgogi is on the menu ($19). The kitchen builds it on good-quality beef (there is a chicken option, though), so every bite delivers the sweet and salty satisfaction for which the dish is famous. The kitchen also adds vegetables to the mix, including broccoli, mushrooms, bok choy and carrots, which break up any possible textural monotony.
In the sushi department, there are a wide range of options. You can piece it out with something modest such as Tuna ($3). There’s also a selection of fancier, funkier sushi rolls. The Grandview Roll ($15) offers a heady, heavy combo of shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado, and it’s topped with a spicy crab salad and crunchies.
While the selection of edibles on the menu is not particularly huge, it can feel paralyzing when the options also include a bevy of tempting-sounding items such as ramen, tempura and teriyaki. There’s also a special menu at lunch, and a brunch menu (at the moment, labeled “coming soon”) that will feature breakfast tacos made with bulgogi, Spam & eggs, and something adventurous-sounding that involves tater tots and kimchi.
You can find Oshio at 974 W. Fifth Ave.
For more information, visit oshioskb.com.
*Oshio is “more upscale” but still casual: you can wear a t-shirt and shorts and fit in just fine.