Big Oh’s opened on the north side of the square last December, breaking Jordan Lane’s stranglehold on Korean food in Huntsville. I had been impressed at the soft opening, so after letting them settle in a bit, the hubby and I dropped by for lunch one Friday.
We ordered and paid at the counter downstairs–Bulgogi for me, Spicy Pork for him, and order of Yakimandou to share and two drinks–before heading upstairs to grab a table. Just as in previous incarnations in this spot, there is seating downstairs, both at the bar where you can chat with the cook and in a handful of tables, but I’m always partial to the upstairs room. As we reached the top of the stairs, we saw a new addition–a bar has been added to the back of the seating area. I imagine on busy evenings this ensures faster service since there is always an employee upstairs watching over patrons.
The radio was on, a little loud for the quiet handful of diners present but not so loud that we couldn’t carry on a pleasant conversation. The glass table tops sat over beautiful black and white linens and small framed photos of Korean dishes, costumes, and parades decorated the walls. I was charmed by two wooden ducks sitting in the window near a plant. The fabric chair covers were the formal style you often see at weddings with sashes which matched the table tops.
Our Yakimandou arrived first, pipping hot still coated with a bit of oil. They had a little bit of crunch, an even texture and a mild, meaty flavor, the pork more of a presence than the vegetables. The accompanying dipping sauce was a blend of soy and sesame, tangy with a flash of heat. My husband enjoyed it, but I was happy with the Yakimandou as they were.
There was some confusion over our drinks, in part due to my mishearing our server, so they arrived after our appetizer was already on the table. It was caught and corrected before we had started looking for them, which speaks to the management’s attentiveness.
My Bulgogi featured beef that was a touch chewy, long slivers of crunchy carrots, thin slices of mushrooms, and sweet white onions. The onions still had a bit of a crunch and were lightly cooked, such that the larger pieces were still a bit punchy. The dish was coated with a sweet soy sauce based dressing which tied everything together nicely and served alongside a scoop of white sticky rice.
Accompanying my meal were two small cups of kimchi. The cucumber kimchi offered crunchy cucumbers and a quick, tip of your tongue burn. The cabbage kimchi was spicier, a “medium” hot according to my husband who enjoyed it.
My husband’s Spicy Pork (shown at the top of this post) was served with the same scoop of sticky rice and kimchi sidekicks. The pork itself was well seasoned with a nice texture. The veggies were crisp and he enjoyed the sauce. The namesake spice was a dry heat, the spiciness building for a slow burn.
Big Oh’s brings some welcome variety to the dining options downtown and some improvements to the space they are in. If you are looking for something different in the beverage department, check out the Soo Jung Gwa. Although I didn’t order it on this trip, I was able to sample some at the soft opening and the cinnamony flavor was a nice break from often overly sweet American punches. We enjoyed our lunch at Big Oh’s and will happily return.
Total for the meal: $38.66 (Included two entrees, one order of yakimandou, and two soft drinks.