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Sep 11, 2006 09:00 PM

Lee's BBQ vs. Ohgane or . . .?

Tomorrow I'd like to grab an early and quick dinner along the Telegraph corridor before a 7:30pm performance. Just the two of us, and we were thinking one of the Korean places in Oakland's Temescal might fit the bill. Haven't been to either Lee's BBQ or Ohgane and would appreciate hearing which one you prefer and why. Pointers for what to order, or other spots that we should consider would be much appreciated.

To give you a sense of my preferences, Pyung Chang Tofu House has been my favorite. I liked Koryo in the old days, and I've tried Jong Ga once but didn't like it enough to return.


Lee's BBQ posts -

Ohgane posts -

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  1. Ohgane's definitely worth a try. The salad of frozen beef with pears is the one dish I can say is great. I'm not sure which of the many BBQ dishes we ordered.

    Haven't been to Lee's.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks, your previous mention of that dish had caught my eye. Do you think we could get in and out in an hour at Ohgane for DIY grilling?

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Probably. I haven't been there that early so I don't know how busy they are but I've found them very efficient.

    2. Ogane or Lee's is definitely according to your preference.

      In terms of BBQ, I think that Samwon Galbi is better than both. I haven't tried a lot of Ogane's dishes but for the most part nothing really stood out and all the dishes were fine. The decor is much better at Ogane than Lee's but the service was spotty. The BBQ is good though not great. Ogane is like a Korean restaurant I would take someone who never had Korean food before to slowly introduce them to it.

      Lee's doesn't have at your table BBQ, but that isn't their strong suite anyways, although their spicy chicken is pretty tasty and surprisingly pretty tender. I think Lee's has an overall advantage in terms of general dishes and I enjoy their Haejangkook over all the other Korean joints (hangover stew with beef, veggies, and coagulated blood).

      I do not prefer Koryo although the last time I was there their Spicy fish stew was really good, although the fish was a little lacking.

      One place that is always consistent is Seoul Gomtang. If you go get the Chadolbeagi Gomtang, thin slices of beef in a bone marrow soup with noodles. Their radish kimchee used to be better but is it still better than other restaurants in the area. hope this helps.

      5 Replies
      1. re: crimson

        Thanks for the advice, crimson.

        A couple years ago I tried Seoul Gom Tang in Santa Clara. Loved the radish kimchee but had mixed results with the soups.
        I've heard conflicting stories about whether the Oakland restaurant is affliated or not.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I've been going to Seoul Gom Tang regularly since it opened. It must be atleast 5 years. The soups have been rock solid every visit. We broke our weekend routine by going to Noodles and Dumplings two weekends ago. After dining at Seoul Gom Tang this past Saturday, my SO said "this is so much wonder why we keep coming back".

          The only other Korean restaurant on my regular rotation is Sui Tofu.

          1. re: al88

            You're referring to the Santa Clara SGT? I'd agree that the chicken broth at Dumpling & Noodle is disappointing.

            Dumpling and Noodle Cafe thread -

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Yes, I'm referring to the Santa Clara SGT. Sui Tofu is just down the road.

            2. re: al88

              We ended up at Lee's, mostly because it seemed to be the road less traveled. Enjoyed it very much, more soon. I also walked over to Seoul Gom Tang (corner of Telegraph and Macarthur) to get a menu, which is identical to the one in Santa Clara in layout and content.

        2. Been going to Lee's for a few years, after my Mom's orthopedist (who is Korean) recommended them. The panchan is really good there... its where we head when we don't want to come out smelling like DIY BBQ. In fact, the last time I was there with friends the service was great -- they are really friendly.

          3 Replies
          1. re: S U

            Panchan quality and variety is very important to me. What are your favorite dishes at Lee's?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I went yesterday for lunch and the panchan is indeed very good. The cucumber kimchee is quite delicious with a strong but not overpowering vinegar taste. Other panchan included: kimchee, soy marinated cucumbers, shredded potatoes, fish cake, bean sprouts, and kim chee stems.

              You also usually get a green onion pancake for free as a starter.

              1. re: crimson

                Yum... I think its time for another visit. I usually hog the potato shreds, fish cake, & bean sprouts; and if I'm dining w/ non-spicy eaters I end up with those items too.

          2. Ohgane has both DIY and don't-DIY.

            1. I visited Ohgane recently. Did not DIY bbq but still came out smelling like it. Not complaining though, it was good- the kalbi was cooked nicely, mostly cut off the bone but only just before cooking, I think (the bones were included on the platter). Spicy chicken was a little on the sweet side. A standard suite of panchan of good quality except for the daikon kimchee which was squishy and too vinegary, not pickley enough. What really stood out to me was the lettuce plate that came with the bbq; besides lettuce it included thinly sliced vinegared daikon and a pickled leaf of some sort that kind of looked like grape leaves for dolma but had a strong, distinct flavor that I didn't recognize. I've never had that before.

              I've been to Lee's a couple of times for lunch, you won't smell like barbeque afterwards. It's fine.

              7 Replies
              1. re: twocents

                I think those are sesame leaves.

                Ohgane has two huge dining rooms, usually no need to sit anywhere near a grill if you'd rather not.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Thanks. Wikipedia on sesame leaves suggests that it might also be perilla.

                  1. re: twocents

                    I think they told me they were sesame leaves.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It's shiso (which is in the same family as perilla). Aka in English beefsteak leaves. They're used in Korean and Japanese cooking often. I love chicken wrapped in shiso and fried.

                      1. re: pockyjunkie

                        Not shiso. It's a much thicker leaf with a very different flavor. If you cooked shiso the way they cook this stuff it would dissolve.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Chow has this recipe which suggests ther are all the same:


                          Says that the leaves are usually translated as sesame but lists (perilla, shiso) in parentheses. The version of this that I think you can get at Han Kook market in Sunnyvale, the leaves look very similar to shiso leaves, but I never would have said they tasted the same. What twocents describes are called perilla leaves at Han Kook. Super addictive. I think something about the leaves in the marinade toughens them up, and they are usually wadded together in a pile, so when you pull them apart they seem a lot thinner than at first glance.

                          1. re: P. Punko

                            Checking my reference books, sounds like "sesame leaf" is pickled red shiso (Perilla frutescens var crispa).