Sunday, January 21, 2007

Osaka

We're hopping and bopping to the Osaka rock.

Location: 13492 Research Blvd #160, Austin, TX 78750
Phone: 512-918-8012
Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-10p

So, it's the rush-hour dance that has become the catalyst for most of the recent entries. The Woman and I are in north Austin, we live in south Austin, and it's 5 pm. Not the time to get on MoPac or even 360. Solution: do some shopping, some eating, and then go home when the traffic thins out.

I was looking for some books on writing screenplays. I really wanted to go to BookPeople since I've been here for 9 months and haven't been, but it's downtown, the exact spot you don't want to go during rush hour. So it was a back-road trek to the Anderson Mill location of Half Price Books, a great place to blow some significant time without blowing significant cash. I actually found one of the books Darden recommended, so I was happy.

In the same strip mall there happened to be a place called Osaka. (Which is a city in southern Japan where I once bought a CD from a band called Cram-Bo playing on a bridge by the train station.) On the sign it said "Japanese - Korean." ?!?!? OK, so it's not THE Korean place. That place is in south Austin. But even so, it did say Korean. Yes, I am not ashamed to say the heart lept up when I beheld it.

Of course, if you go into an obviously Japanese place and order Korean, you're taking a chance. Just to be safe, we also ordered a spider roll. It was a pretty good spider roll, too. The table near us had some serious sushi action going on and it all looked great. But you can get sushi, even good sushi, lots of places. Not so with Korean.

Not sure the size of the servings, we ordered bulgogi and kalbi. We could have ordered just one and been satisfied, but they were both so great, we were glad to have them. Made for some nice bulgogi sandwiches the next day. And the sizzling platters were surrounded by 10 bowls of various sides, including kimchee, daikon, green beans, pickled seaweed, candied potatoes, azuki beans, bean sprouts and other things I can't remember.

It was the real deal, a table so crowded with dishes it was hard to find a place to put your glass down, and a mixture of flavors that you won't find anywhere else. The meat was moist, spicy and sweet. The photos are from my Rokr, so it's not easy to see detail. The kalbi was cut like this picture, with a thin cross-section of a single bone and an inch or so meat. In Hawaii the Korean fast-food places cut the meat more like shown in this recipie, multiple bone cross-sections per slice, only there tended to be less meat. The higher-class places had a 3-inch-wide section of bone with a nice, thick, 6-inch slab of meat hanging off it.

Since it was mainly Japanese, it wasn't set up for yakiniku, which involves grills at each table where you cook the meat as desired, or sometimes the server will start it for you. I'm hoping the other place is yakiniku. But until we have a chance to get there, we may find ourselves back at Osaka on our rush hour dates. If we go often enough, we might actually get around to ordering sushi.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This isn't the first time you've mentioned kimchee. I'll have to try it sometime. And what's a spider roll, anyway?

Brad Whittington said...

You must remember that kimchee is a side disk, not something eaten for itself. At least not by most folks. And you'll need to like hot stuff. Spicy hot, not temperature hot. It's served cold.

A spider roll is a fried crab sushi roll. Here's a picture on flickr.

Anonymous said...

Yummy with a capital Y. Or should I just sound like Bertie with:'Oh, I say. Capital, what?"

kelly said...

We once knew an OSAKA--
but it wasn't a quaint little restaurant. Imagine instead a "spa" where everyone parks in back and the occasional Police Raid has become quite routine...

I also had to ask random strangers for a kimchee recipe as part of a video scavenger hunt, once upon a youth group.

This would be my sum total of experience with Korean/Japanese related fare- unless you count certain relatives who married in via catalog and always bring a wok and seaweed to family gatherings--

Brad Whittington said...

Kelly, I think your Osaka/Japanese/Korean connections are better than mine. It would be funny to see a revised Osaka review with your rabbit trails instead of mine. (That catalog thing has got me pondering.)