As with so many East Village restos, this one is a real labor of love. It was created by two young Korean ex-pats, Tae Kyung Ku and Brian Kim, who developed their mad skills toiling in some of the city’s most high-status kitchens, before deciding to team up to follow their own culinary dreams. And after wolfing down the scintillating fare here, I can only imagine what a gloomy day it must have been when these rising stars gave notice at their former places of employment. Because these two are magicians. Who knew, for example, that the skin on chicken would turn into crisp bubbles simply by being dredged in tapioca before frying? Or that cold buckwheat noodles could be elevated to a sublime realm by a broth of preserved ramps? And you may find yourself planning a return trip to NYC just for another tasting of Oiji’s silky mackerel (served on a bed of smoking pine needles) or its ice cream embedded with honey-chili potato chips.
New York City
New York City› Restaurant
119 First Ave. (btw. 7th St. and St. Marks Place)
Our Rating Neighborhood East Village Hours Tues–Thurs 6–10:30pm, Fri–Sat 6–11pm, Sun 5–10pm Transportation Subway: 6 to Astor Place; L to First Ave. Phone 646/767-9050 Prices Main courses $16–$28 Cuisine Type Korean Web site Oiji
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.