Restaurant Peek: Uoki
One of the best things about living near Capitol Hill is stumbling upon a restaurant that does something different, one that has retained its loyalty to traditional cuisine but embraced the American emphasis on—surprise, surprise—the customer.
The experience at Uoki is better than most restaurants on Capitol Hill because of the hospitality. They treat customers like family and are patient with newcomers to Korean and Japanese food.
For example, the owner, Mark Park came to greet us, and from there we ended up talking for a while about different things, from the ingredients in certain dishes to how he came to own the restaurant 11 years ago and how it’s always been his dream to open a restaurant of his own. His passion to share his love for Korean and Japanese food became more and more evident as we talked and each time he left the table, I looked forward to chatting with Mr. Park more.
Park named his restaurant “Uoki,” which means happy fish in Japanese, and happiness is exactly what Park found when he began to train as a sushi chef over twenty years ago. Park is originally from South Korea, so it felt natural to include Korean favorites near and dear to his heart like bibimbap, bulgogi, and a variety of Korean soups, among others.
Of special note is the beef bulgogi, which is served on a cast iron skillet. The thin slices of rib-eye steak were tender and seasoned to perfection. The dish is served with grilled zucchini, broccoli, onions and a side of rice. The kimchi soup is also not to be missed, made with Napa cabbage kimchi, pork, tofu, and Korean rice cake; the broth is luxurious both in taste and color due to the chili paste used to make the kimchi.
On the other spectrum you will find an impressive list of sashimi and sushi rolls that gives Uoki its name. The cherry blossom roll is a must try. The roll comes topped with tobiko fish eggs, ginger sauce, and fresh lemon. The ginger sauce and lemon provide an acidic finish— a nice contrast to the amazingly tender tuna. Another favorite was the amigo roll, a nod to Southwestern flavors; this roll is on the spicier side with roasted green chilies, though, the combination of crab, avocado, and wasabi mayo, balances out the heat.
If you feel like having a little Seoul food and Japanese food, all in one plate, the combination plate, which comes with choice of two or three items, is your best bet. For instance, you can have bulgogi, tempura, and chicken teriyaki, all in one plate, which makes foodies like me very happy.
At Uoki, there’s something for everyone, from traditional Korean food to Japanese favorites like sushi, teriyaki, katsu and udon noodle bowls. And, with friendly service that feels like family at affordable prices, what more could you ask for?
Bibimbap | Lunch $9.50; Dinner $13.00
Six different vegetables prepared over steamed rice, served with a choice of beef, chicken or tofu.
Deep fried tofu with light soy sauce.
Beef Bulgogi | Lunch $9.50; Dinner, $14.00
Thinly sliced rib eye beef marinated in flavorful Seoul sauce.
Veggie Tempura $13.00
Onion, sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli, carrot and mushroom.
A traditional dish from the Korean countryside, served after a full day of work under the hot sun. Delectable pieces of marinated beef, onion, and rice. Wrap it yourself in lettuce leaves and season w/ spicy Go-Choo-Jang sauce.
Spicy Ramen $10.00
Korean home-style favorite noodles with onions, carrots, mushrooms and egg; served in a spicy red pepper broth.
Goon-Man-Du (5 pcs) $5.75
Mouth watering Korean dumplings stuffed with beef and Napa cabbage – served with zesty vinegar dipping sauce.