First Bite: Uh Wool Lim Korean Restaurant

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I happened to be flipping through that old rag the Scene a while back, and came across an ad for Uh Wool Lim, a Korean restaurant in Antioch I hadn't heard of before. Since I love Korean food, I felt compelled to try this new place immediately. So I closed the paper and promptly forgot about it for weeks. But eventually I remembered! I hopped in the hatchback with my life partner and a good friend to check it out. Turns out it's just across Antioch Pike from Hai Woon Dai, which made me realize it's been a while since I've eaten there. (Pronunciation note: In both names, Uh Wool Lim and Hai Woon Dai, the "w" is silent. The car company Daewoo, for example, is pronounced "Dae-oo." Anyway.)

I suppose some people would call Uh Wool Lim a dive, as it's not particularly fancy inside, and an area just off the dining room was dedicated to a small child, presumably belonging to one of the restaurant's owners or wait staff, who rolled about, gurgled and generally made cute noises.

None of the food pictures turned out, so heres the front door!
  • None of the food pictures turned out, so here's the front door!
The banchan (side dishes) that came with the meal were pretty standard fare — the cabbage kimchi, importantly, tasted fresh and crisp, which is always a good sign. We ordered three entrees. My friend, as he usually does when in a Korean restaurant, ordered the bi bim bap (literally, "mixed rice"). A sturdy choice. Bi bim bap is kind of like a hamburger, in that it's basic, leaves some room for interpretation, and there are only a few ways to get it wrong. (And if a Korean restaurant can't get it right it reflects poorly on the enterprise as a whole.) Uh Wool Lim got it right. Nothing spectacular, mind you, just a solid dish of rice, veggies, meat and hot sauce. My friend gave it a 6 out of 10 on his personal bi bim bap scale, and dude has eaten a lot of the stuff, so I trust the calibration there.

My life partner ordered the jahp chae, the sweet-and-savory sauteed noodle dish with onion, carrot and, usually, thin-sliced beef — she ordered it meat-free. Jahp chae, like bi bim bap, is a Korean restaurant staple and pretty hard to mess up. Again, Uh Wool Lim delivered a solid dish. A little on the oily side, but that's how I like it.

It being quite hot outside, I ordered mool naeng myun — buckwheat noodles served in a cold beef-based broth with sliced brisket, Asian pear, and horseradish and vinegar as seasoning. It wasn't on the menu, but mool naeng myung is a fairly common dish, and often available at Korean restaurants to those who ask. (It's also only served in the summer, so 'tis the season to try it if you never have.) Uh Wool Lim went three-for-three, serving up a tasty bowl (even if the large chunk of ice was a bit distracting).

Service was a bit on the slow side, but very pleasant, and the atmosphere, while not a problem for me, may not be for everyone. Based on one visit, I'd say Uh Wool Lim isn't quite as good as So Gong Dong, but will definitely do the trick when you need a Korean food fix — something that happens to me pretty often. Next time I will try the kalbi, the dish by which all Korean restaurants must be judged! Well, not really, but barbecue is important stuff.

Uh Wool Lim is located at 940 Richards Road, Suite 102, in Antioch. Their website isn't much to look at, but they do have a downloadable menu (in PDF form) there.

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