ohgane. help and tell you all about it.
tonight i'm going to ohgane in oakland for my birthday dinner. have about 12 people joining me, so i'm hoping to explore much of the menu, which is quite extensive. i'm mainly thrilled about eating grilled meat over wood charcoal, and i fully intend to report back on my dinner. i have a couple questions, though.
there is so much posted about this place, and i know it's good for bbq and for soups, apparently. but i'm curious about their haemul pajeon, or the seafood green onion pancake. is this done well here? is it crispy on the outside? should i order the bindaeddeok, or mung bean pancake instead? and i know sahn maru is best known for the black goat stew, but it's on ohgane's menu as well, but i haven't seen their version of that dish mentioned here. should i save that experience for sahn maru, then?
i really liked the kimchi chigae at jong ga house a few months ago, but i usually don't order this because i make it at home. but people seem to love it, and i'm wondering how ohgane's version stacks up. and no, my own take on it doesn't stack up.
i know this is super short notice, and i'll report back, but these three questions have been on my mind. any other recent tips about ohgane would be appreciated, as well.
i returned to ohgane a year later for my birthday dinner, and really enjoyed the experience again. we ordered mostly the same menu, and again, i really love the braised pork ribs with kimchi. we had the same two orders of kalbi and one order of the spicy pork (dwaeji bulgogi). came with the same baskets of lettuce, paper thin korean radish, and pickled perilla leaves. skipped the skate naengmyon and went for the bibim naengmyon, still spicy and sweet but with thinly sliced cold beef shank (i think), and cucumber and egg. and radish. still loved the black goat stew, rich and complex. the sundae (blood sausage) disappointed me a little. lacked flavor, and the stuffing was mostly tang myon, or the noodles used in chapchae. mandu were fine, and the seafood green onion pancake was sastisfying.
they asked us to move from one table to another to close an emptied section, and in return they waived the corkage fee for the two bottles of red wine my friend brought. i can't tell you about those, since french wine names and appellations escape me. but i was pleasantly surprised that there are red wines out there that don't offend a palate doused in kimchi.
i had the usual anxiety about the reaction certain friends would have to an unfamiliar cuisine, but everyone enjoyed it. everyone seems to gush in surprise when the panchan hits the table. "what are all...these things?" they were pretty good, but i didn't taste them all. good soybean sprouts, radish kimchi, regular kimchi, seasoned perilla leaves. everyone inhaled the tiny dried anchovies before i could get to them.
it has been a year since i've eaten at ohgane, and there are many oakland korean restaurants i've not dined in yet, but i still think this is my go-to spot in the east bay. hopefully it won't take me another year to get back.
went last night. there are lots of korean restaurants in oakland i haven't tried, but i think i may have found my go-to spot for korean food.
we had haemul pajeon (green onion seafood pancake), sundae (blood sausage stuffed with cellophane noodles), dwaejigalbi kimchi jjim (pork ribs braised with kimchi), two servings of galbi, one of spicy pork, one samgyeopsal (thinly sliced pork belly), a grilled yellow croaker, the spicy black goat casserole, and one order of hwae naengmyon, or raw skate with spicy cold buckwheat noodles.
with such a large party, i didn't get the opportunity to try all the panchan, so can't report much there, although i remember really tasty spicy soybean sprouts and radish kimchi, and the tiny dried anchovies were excellent as well.
stand out dishes for me were the braised pork ribs and kimchi. like a drier, much more substantial kimchi chigae, with whole leaves of napa cabbage kimchi, with tender, delicious pork. i also loved the black goat casserole, although this is my first experience with this dish, so i haven't tried the more famous version at sahn maru. but the broth was delicious, with whole mustard seeds, and strongly flavored with the perilla leaves. the goat meat was tender but quite mild, and i enjoyed gnawing on the connective tissue and skin.
the seafood pancake was good, with more variety of seafood than most versions, which often come with just squid. this had prawns and octopus as well. the sundae, served as bites cut on the bias, had rich stuffing almost bursting out of the casing. i only had a bite or two, but i would order this again, especially dipped in the dish of salt and chile flakes.
the grilled meats were a mixed bag. the galbi was solid, and not too sweet, a common flaw. the ssamjang, or bean paste sauce was clearly house-made, and not doctored up store bought. the spicy pork bulgogi was good, but restrained. not very spicy, but big on ginger. the pork belly was kind of a disappointment. they said that they had to grill it in the kitchen, unlike the galbi and the spicy pork, which was grilled at our table. the pork belly was sort of bland and i couldn't find the traditional dip of sesame oil, salt, and black pepper.
the grilled fish, the yellow croaker or corvina, or whatever a jogi or chogi is in english, was tender enough, and sizable, if plain, but i like it that way. the raw skate naengmyon was nicely balanced, the saucing bright and just sweet and tart enough, but when i got to the bowl all the skate was already gone.
the complimentary shikye, or sweet rice punch that ended the meal also had a subdued sweetness. well...for a dessert.
corkage is $10.
everyone in my party really enjoyed the meal, and those of us that dined at jong ga house a few months ago all agreed that ohgane was superior. and i think for my friends it was sort of an adventure because not many of them have much experience with korean food. i basically ordered everything, and would walk down to the other end of the table to explain what we were eating. it was tremendously fun but more to the point, ohgane is now my favorite korean restaurant in the area.
3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611
Thanks to all for the Korean posts in Oakland, I stopped by Ohgane with a French friend who loves Korean and had a nice meal there, though we could only order two dishes so I don't feel I got the full sense of the menu.
We ordered the naengmyon or raw skate over spicy noodles, and I liked the dish but I was disappointed by the skate. I wasn't able to taste the skate itself through the spice, and I found the cartilage more of a gimmick than an asset. For me, one of those dishes I'm glad I tried after reading about it, but not something I'd search out again. I'm sure the dish has a special place in the hearts of those who grew up eating it.
Naengmyun is often terrific, I have never had it with Skate before.
In Korea skate wing is really thought of highly. The best way to have it is super fresh mixed with pepper paste and other veg for a kind of kimchi/spicy fish salad. If done right, it can be great this way. Korean families usually get it in season only and buy a lot of it, eating it over a period as it becomes more and more gamey. I am not so fond of it in the later stages. Definitely a seasonal item, in the fall if I remember correctly.