“Personally, I don’t like big chickens,” says Andy Kwon, chef-owner at Oseyo in Centreville. “When you order chicken drumsticks, it’s too big, like a turkey leg.” A personal distaste has turned into a compelling innovation.
At Kwon’s restaurant, the Korean fried chicken isn’t chicken. The Oseyo Chicken Platter features a whole Cornish game hen, divided in two and fried. Tearing the petite bird apart brings to mind a visit to Medieval Times, but far more fun, even with Korean pop music in place of jousting. The hen reposes atop a pile of breaded onion rings and crispy tater tots. But there are traditional sides, too. Two kinds of pickled radish wait on the table for those craving a zippy, vegetal crunch.
But to call Oseyo a chicken (or game hen) restaurant would be hitting only the wing tip. Its large menu includes all the casual Korean eats diners might want. The menu is best defined as serving anju, or food designed to enjoy with beer or soju. But you don’t need to order a Chum Churum to savor the fare that Kwon, a former Rosslyn deli owner who came to NoVA from Philadelphia in 1997, is cooking up.
However, if you order the spicy carbonara tteokbokki, you’ll certainly need something to sip. The rice cakes have just as much heat as the fiery-red chile-sauced version most casual Korean restaurants serve. But thanks to the creamy, cheesy sauce filled with bacon, you won’t know what hit you until you’ve had a few bites. At Oseyo, diners can top their tteokbokki in practically anything they can imagine, from ramen noodles to fried calamari.
For those seeking something a little less indulgent, kimbap, or Korean seaweed rolls, provide a flavor-filled alternative. Kwon says that his original plan was to open a Korean barbecue restaurant before realizing that the market was craving something different.
Diners can taste what might have been by ordering the bulgogi kimbap. The chunky rolls are stuffed with lightly marinated beef contained in a ring of nori, rice and red-leaf lettuce. Inside, Fibonacci-esque rosettes of omelet add billowy body to a crunchy mix of grated carrot and pickled daikon. Different kimbap iterations are accompanied by different sauces. The bulgogi one, for example, benefits from a sweet miso-based dip, while a fried shrimp roll has a sriracha-based sauce.
The eggs in the kimbap aren’t the only ones on the menu. Ova play a leading role at Oseyo. Japanese omurice is an omelet stuffed with fried rice and topped with a buttery sauce that’s sweet with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. There are also rolled omelets filled with meat or cheese. And sunny-side up eggs appear atop noodle dishes like jajangmyeon, the Chinese-Korean black-bean favorite.
With or without that sip of soju, a meal at Oseyo is designed to make guests happy. There’s little chance you’ll leave without your head bobbing to a BTS song and a belly full of game hen and rice cakes. // 14260 Centreville Square, Centreville
Open daily for lunch and dinner
White brick walls and an extra-large screen go with the good K-pop vibes.
Oseyo Chicken Platter, bulgogi kimbap, spicy carbonara tteokbokki