Chefs/Owners: Leemo and Leeto Han.
Signature: Ssam platters and fusion bar snacks, like mini burgers with kimchi.
Price: $25 per order for ssams, $5–$8 for bar snacks.
Open: Monday–Saturday 6 p.m.–2 a.m.
Assessment: Opened by Leemo and Leeto Han, the restaurateur siblings responsible for the St. Lawrence Market area’s Swish By Han, OddSeoul presents resounding proof that development on the Ossington strip is far from over. It also provides further justification for what food writers have been saying over the past few months: westernized Asian cuisine is going to be big.
OddSeoul itself is hugely unassuming. Nestled in between Levack Block and Delux, the restaurant has no exterior sign, website, or even phone number. Inside, the low, red-tinted lighting, exposed brick, and tattered reclaimed wood décor make the late-night bar look more like a dockside dive than a trendy new haunt on one of the city’s hottest strips. But what the place lack in interior decor is made up for by the creativity of food on offer.
The menu is divided into two parts: ssams (family-style Korean meals, traditionally using lettuce leaves for wraps) that are available for dinner, and “extras” (bite-sized, fusion-y snacks) that are served throughout the night (and until late). There are a half dozen ssam platters (all $25), like pork shoulder and beef short rib, though the standout is the pork belly and shrimp. Tender, fatty slices of belly and spicy shrimp are served on a large, cheap metal plate with hoisin, Sriracha, and sweet chili sauces, and accompanied by cilantro, lime leaves, bean sprouts, and rice wrappers that you can fashion into fresh spring rolls table-side. The snack menu is loaded with stellar bites, like The Loosey ($5), a mini cheeseburger made with juicy short rib, processed cheese, kimchi, mayo, and ketchup, and which tastes like a delicious Korean-inflected Big Mac. The tempura prawns ($7) come deep-fried, skewered, and drenched in a spicy mayo-based sauce (similar to an ebi mayo dish you’d get at an izakaya), and the bulgogi cheesesteak ($5) features a tiny baguette topped with tender sugar- and soy-marinated shredded beef and scallion kimchi. Provided OddSeoul is a success, the Hans have plans to expand the restaurant, with a patio out back, a new 25-seat eatery/events space on the second floor, and a nore-bang (Korean karaoke joint) above that.
- The food is excellent and affordable, and the snack menu is served until 2 a.m.
- A bar in its own right, OddSeoul has a decent list of draft beers, wines, and original cocktails.
- The lack of website or phone number might be a bit daunting for dinners looking to check details before a meal.
Bottom Line: A great new addition to the Ossington strip, and one that’s sure to be a hit with Korean food fans and late-night eaters, alike.—Jacob Rutka
90 Ossington Ave., @TO_ODDSEOULS
CORRECTION, JANUARY 11, 2013: This post originally stated that OddSeoul only accepts cash. Though this was true when the article was first written, the restaurant now accepts credit and debit cards, as well as cash. The post has been changed to reflect this, and a new lead image has also been added.