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Woo Lae Oak
Posted by -X. on 05/08/2011
Took my Mom there and arrived over an hour earlier than I'd reserved, but not a problem -- we were ushered to our table and thus began a great evening. The host and waitstaff were friendly, professional, and extremely tentative without being intrusive. The ambiance was serene, with an eclectic blend of tunes playing in the background. All was clean, well styled, and set the perfect back-drop to enjoy a great meal. The food was the best part. Supremely recommended is the Jap Chae (glass noodle appetizer) which hit the table first, and being so tasty, was practically gone before our second appetizer serving of Shrimp Dumplings (Goon Mandu) made it on. To round out our trio of appetizers, the Dae Ji Jim (slow-roasted baby pork ribs) was succulent, fall off the bone satisfaction. For our mains, we went for the Korean BBQ and ordered the Kal Bi (Short Rib) and the Dak (Chicken Breast). The marinade was amazing as was the quality of meat. Growing up in Queens, I've had my fair share of Korean BBQ and I can say that, in addition to hitting it right on the button with the flavor-profile, I found the beef to be lean, tender, and rather thick compared to past experience at other restaurants. It seemed fairly top-notch and tasted even better. The chicken was just as good, and with the right amount of char from the flames and grill flare-ups, made for a tasty bite. Finally, accompanying our main courses was a healthy serving of beef Bok Kum Bap (wok fried rice), which we requested with a mild spice level. Super delicious and pretty endless as we spooned our way down the heated casserole in which it as served. I think one of the things I love most about Korean BBQ, is that you control the pace by mastering the grill, and the reward of eating a semi-sizzling (don't burn yourself!) piece of meat right off the grill offers a satisfying and unique dining experience, and it's actually pretty fun. I can't wait to go back and try some of the many other great things offered on the menu, and I highly recommend Woo Lae Oak to anyone looking for great food, ambiance, friendly service--and most of all--excellent and authentic Korean fare. Good times...
Posted by Anonymous on 04/18/2011
I just visited this restaurant with a group of my girlfriends. The staff did a good job accomodating a large group. The food was delicious- especially the appetizers. Try the shrimp dumplings.
Posted by Anonymous on 03/06/2011
I read all the negative reviews and it's too bad to see, cuz this is a great restaurant. The food is fantastic (and FYI it's not more expensive than koreatown), the service is good (who doesn't appreciate some man candy?) and the atmosphere is very chill and chic. It's been one of my favorite restaurants for years and while prices are a little on the high side, it's definitely worth splurging on. Def try the black cod...
Posted by I'm disappointed :( on 12/02/2010
I love Korean Food, but this place is completely "Lost in Translation" because they don't know what they are nor want to be. Granted the ambiance is nice, their food, service and execution are badly done. They need to get back to the basic and start cooking better food with good service. Otherwise, it's just another "empty-wannabe" establishment.
Posted by MJR-NYC on 10/16/2010
Love everything but service a bit slow, consistently. As long as you're not in a hurry it is an excellent place to eat and drink
Posted by Cusine Addict on 02/21/2010
I see all the bad reviews, but the food star category for Woo Lae Oak seems to be too high! I admit, the place has a nice ambiance, but that's it. The food sucks, service needs help and the price is too steep for what you are getting. There are so many better Korean Restaurants in the city, I don't know why this place still exsist.
Posted by BK Foodie on 12/27/2009
My gf and I are all about dining out and we frequent several restaurants weekly. We were recommended Woo Lae Oak so we finally decided to give it a shot. It started with the hostess not having our 9pm reservation (which we called to confirm). Next, our waiter seemed to be as frozen as the food they were about to bring out. We ordered a steak tartare to start. This was probably hands down the worst tartare both of us have ever been served. The meat came in big chunks as if it were put through a grinder. Aside from that, the meat was frozen. Literally there was a crunch when i bit into it. When i asked the waiter to send it back he responded, "its supposed to be cold". Im not sure if the chefs have instilled into the waiters heads that tartare is served frozen but they may need to brush up on things. Next came our Bim Bim Bop, which was beyond disappointing. It was served as a big pile of mush. Finally came our entree, the rib eye steak. Once again, the meat was frozen. When trying to lift one of the sliced pieces the entire pile of meat would go with it. We had to wait around 5 minutes just for the food to defrost. The place is located in the heart of Soho and the interior is chic, aside from that, totally subpar.