Han Oak: Portland, OR, USA
Pure honesty on this one, as I was very surprised (and disappointed) by my visit here during my trip to Portland two weeks ago. This came highly recommended, by both YELP and by personal friends of friends whom happen to know people at this establishment. I would first like to say that after my trip to Portland and in noticing the limited diversity, this type of cuisine works well for the population. If however, you are expecting something more traditionally or even close to Asian, much less Korean, you will be severely disappointed. I came here with a friend who is Korean, from New Jersey which has probably one of the largest Korean populations in the USA. I personally came from Atlanta and recently New York city, both also known for not only their large Asian but Korean populations as well as their amazing Asian (and Korean) cuisine.
The things we tried in pro-con format as usual include:
Chive Dumplings (mandoo): wrapped in the traditional korean style.
– great quantity: the dumplings are very large and are definitely filling.
– well stuffed: they were definitely not stingy on the meat filling inside
– (not so much of a con) it will fill you up if you are a light eater so unless you are sharing with a party larger than 2 or you plan on making this 50% of your meal, it will be difficult to eat other things.
– it was a regular Korean dumpling. Many of which I have had, if not better, at a cheaper price but elsewhere.
Fried Chicken: three pieces but they were so nice to add a 4th piece so that both my friend and I could have two pieces each.
– fantastic quantity: the chicken pieces were large, including the wings. No doubt they are generous with their food portions here.
– SO SALTY. It was like eating a salt lick. It was so salty, I drank about 4-5 cups of water, and we couldn’t finish this dish. We attempted to take back what we didn’t finish, but to be honest, I would have had to have access to a full kitchen to completely re-use the ingredients and make it something different.
– the “house” daikon pickles were salty and briny: if this is your thing then suit yourself but the chicken was so salty, I honestly would have preferred the normal yellow packaged pickle daikon because they are a bit sweeter, or even sweet gherkins would have done a decent job at balancing out the salt content.
Soon Dae: blood sausage — do not be fooled, this is not the traditional form of soon dae. There is blood sausage but it is served in a loaf form and a fried egg on top. Truth be told, this was probably my favorite out of the four dishes we tried.
– good slice of blood sausage loaf: this is already super heavy so anything thicker or multiple slices would have been too rich.
– the yolk of the egg provided a really nice texture to the loaf itself
– would be nice to balance out the heaviness with something lighter, and more tart/sweet maybe a garnish, relish, or some sort of slaw.
Garlic Noodles: this was recommended highly by our server. It was to say the least, very disappointing.
– good quantity, definitely shareable
– generous with the calamari topping
– overcooked pasta: it was mushy.
– calamari was nothing spectacular, similar to that of a basic Italian restaurant.
Disappointing to say the least.
- mandoo dumplings: *** (3 stars)
- fried chicken: 0 stars. – I can’t rate it if I can’t eat it.
- soon dae blood sausage: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
- garlic noodles with calamari: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
Try them out if you’re all about “fusion” American cuisine, but it’s definitely not anything remotely close to “Asian” and it was not even that great for American cuisine. Honestly, I would not come again. We couldn’t eat the chicken. Sure it was crispy and great portions, but unless you can swallow a spoon of straight salt, I would not order it. Remainder of the dishes ordered were just not that great. Portland does have a good food scene too and so, for what we were eating given the pricetag, there were definitely other things we ate on our trip up that we would rather re-eat. Again, this is catered to a specific population and on YELP it does say “American” cuisine. However, the menu has such a distinctively Korean/Asian influence, I feel like this is somewhat misleading to those of us who are very well versed with Asian cuisines. Truth be told, I was debating between giving this a 1-star and I gave a 2-star for service and that the soon-dae was not too bad. Try it for sure if fusion cuisine is your thing, BUT this place is by no means “Asian” despite the influence it may seem to have on the menu. You can find them here:511 NE 24th Ave
Portland, OR 97232
Best of luck with this, you’re going to need it.