new Things I Ate in Cambodia: OZ Korean Barbeque

Friday, June 22, 2007

OZ Korean Barbeque

Oz Korean Barbeque
3343 Bradshaw Road
Sacramento, CA 95857
(916) 362-9292

(All photos from Oz's website here.)

OZ Korean Barbecue serves excellent Korean food in a beautiful space. If you love kimchi, bulgogi, and other Korean flavors, you owe it to yourself to drive out to Bradshaw and grill some meat.

Korean meals begin with panchan, an assortment of delicious side dishes, usually focused around kimchi and other incarnations of pickled vegetables. (And it comes free with your meal!) The selection changes daily, and OZ is no exception, bringing out seven or eight different little dishes for your eating pleasure. I enjoy the spinach cooked in sesame, the spicy dried squid in red bean sauce, and the bean sprouts - and the delicious, spicy kimchi, infused with lots of garlic and chili pepper. This may not be the best date food.

OZ features a variety of appetizers. We like the fried pot stickers or yakimandu for $7.99, which are filled with beef and vegetables then cooked to an appetizing crisp - and the order comes with 10 pieces, so there's more then enough to go around. I especially love the vinegary dipping sauce, covered in a raft of crisp green scallions. If you're into noodles, jobchae ($8.99) is a great option, featuring sauteed rice noodles with beef and vegetables. Jobchae takes on a distinctive smoky Korean flavor very distinct from other Asian noodle dishes, and it's totally addictive, especially with the juicy chunks of beef. It's even better the next day, which is good to know since the portion is huge and you will probably have leftovers. Finally, I dig the seafood pajun ($9.99), a "Korean style pancake with green onion and assorted seafood" as the menu describes it. This is delicious and also bigger then your head, filled with crisp green onion, squid pieces, fish cake, and bits of crab. Dip it in the included ponzuish sauce and life is pretty good.

The standout entree here is meat you grill yourself at the table grill, and OZ offers a wide and very high quality selection. We like the OZ Galbi ($20.99), which is marinated beef short ribs cut in the Korean style. Another favorite is Bul-go-gi,($17.99), which differs from galbi primarily in that there are no bones. We've also tried the decadant but delicious Tokyo X pork belly ($17.99), which is swimming in tasty, tasty fat. OZ provides lettuce, red bean paste, and jalapeno to wrap up the meat in, producing awesome lettuce wraps. Have at it.

There's more then just grilled meat on the menu, though. I love the Korean-style crab "ciopinno" ($14.99), which bears no resemblance to ciopinno other then the red color, and is in my opinion far tastier. This is a bright red seafood soup full of various unshelled sea creatures, ripe for dismemberment. I happily chowed down on crunchy prawn heads infused with chili soup, finishing with the spicy tofu chunks left at the bottom of the bowl. It's pungent and delicious, like most Korean food. The sirloin bibimbap ($11.99) is another popular Korean dish, composed of various vegetables and mushrooms, covered in meat, egg, and red bean chili sauce. This is served in a hot skillet, which browns the rice to a wonderful consistency (and cooks the included raw egg.) If you like Chinese fried rice, you'll probably love this.

OZ's outside might look like a giant intimidating UFO (due to the smoke stacks off the grills), but the interior is lovely and expensive looking, with beautiful wood walls and a massive mural spanning the entrance way. Service is usually prompt and efficient, and our servers are always happy to recommend dishes to us or bring us refills on the kimchi. A lot of families frequent this place for various events, so the volume level is fairly loud - but Korean barbecue isn't exactly an austere kind of dish anyway. Loosen up and enjoy yourself. Korean food is worth it.

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