Chef John Lee lords over a traditional barbecue grill at KUI Korean BBQ, his face illuminated by flames rising up from the oak-wood charcoal. Gingerly, he sizzles thin slices of tender bulgogi beef, plump galbi short ribs, and strips of spicy chicken. He then assembles the smoky meats on beds of rice alongside nests of carrots, tufts of bean sprouts, and a bright-yellow fried egg. To craft authentic Korean gimbap, he folds rice, egg, pickled radish, and fish cake into a seaweed roll. As John labors in the kitchen, his wife bustles about the casual dining room, greeting customers, handing out glasses of fruity soju cocktails, and refereeing sporadic games of musical chairs.
With more than 20 years of culinary experience under his belt, the chef at MaTaNe Japanese Dining is a master of crafting quintessential Japanese cuisine. He expertly slices sushi-grade fish for sashimi, stirs buckwheat noodles into simmering soups, and plates chilled soba noodles with flavorful dipping sauce. But beyond these Japanese classics, the chef also prepares Korean dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap?which considering his stints cooking at the Radisson Seoul Plaza Hotel and other South Korean hotspots is a natural fit. The feasts from his multifaceted menu unfold in a wood-lined dining room, which is decorated with persimmon-orange walls and orchids that turn to face the bar whenever the bartender cracks open a bottle of sake.
The Song family behind O! Wing Plus infuses wings, wraps, and salads with a touch of Korean flavor. The menu's nine signature sauces swaddle succulent poultry and range in heat from the fiery Beast Mode to the Bee-Bee-Q, a smoky, sweet, and mild concoction. O's Original sauce, made with caramelized brown sugar and spiked with red-pepper flakes, hovers in the middle of the spectrum and clings to wings ($6.59–$58.99) and boneless strips ($6.99–$23.99), which can be purchased alone, in combos ($5.99–$16.99), or in family packs ($14.99–$28.69).