O Asian Fusion

June 28, 2011Katie

O Asian Fusion
105 12th St Ave SE
Norman, OK 73071
Hours:  Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri -11 a.m. -11 p.m.
Sat 12 p.m -11 p.m.
Sun 12 p.m. -9 p.m.

Once only thought of as a science term, this word has become an entirely new experience for the world of cuisine.

For you see, culinary fusion has opened up possibilities for diners.  The possibility to enjoy more than one of their favorite cuisines all in one place.  Thanks to pioneers in fusion cuisine like Wolfgang Puck , there is now BBQ sauce on pizza, kimchi topped hotdogs and just about anything you can think of happening in restaurant kitchens across America. And, Asian cuisine seems to be a dominant cuisine to “fuse” with.

And in Norman, that place is O Asian Fusion.

Asian fusion is a big plus for restaurant diners.  Where many Americans won’t venture into an Asian restaurant with things on the menu like tripe, or walk past a glass case with roasted ducks hanging inside of  them, they will go to a hip and swank atmosphere to hang out and eat Asian fusion food.  Food snobs, just know ahead of time, that some of the dishes might not be totally authentic, but to many Americans, this is preferred.

Don’t worry, at O Asian Fusion, you won’t miss out on flavor.  With everything from a full sushi bar…

to Korean and Thai dishes, along with hand cut and aged steaks, you can find some incredible dishes on their menu.  Combined with a super cool decor, this place was packed when we dined and continued to fill up all evening long. From what I understand, it’s like this nightly.

What I’m trying to say is…if you’re a foodie purist, don’t be offended by the twists and turns on some classic dishes, just sit back and enjoy the ride.  It’s good stuff.

So let me tell you some things I learned about the story of O…
The restaurant opened in January 2008, after the partners researched and realized there was a need for an “upscale” restaurant on the east side of Norman, particularly Asian cuisine and sushi.
The partners being -Stephanie and Dirk O’Hara and also, Atthapol “Nui” Chuntarasoun (from Thailand).  You may recognize the name Atthapol, from Pad Thai fame.  He came to University of Oklahoma as a student in the late 90’s, opened Pad Thai restaurant and developed the menu for O.
The "O" Team -Stephanie, Dirk "Nui" and Ziayien
As we talked about before – the concept of O is “fusion” – featuring cuisine from all over Asia. Everything is made from scratch daily – stir frys, soups and salads are made fresh upon the customer’s order.
Stephanie has a restaurant background and received her Master’s in Human  Resources from OU, while Dirk received his JD/MBA from OU and is in the elder care industry. They are passionate about providing local, fresh food to their customers in a relaxed, yet upscale atmosphere. It is their goal to make customers feel as if they have been transported to Asia for one hour, providing them with an “experience”. Ziayien Hwang is also a partner, from Taiwan, and is a former Economy Professor from OU. Stephanie is the acting/managing partner of O.

Upon entering O, look past the former shell of a Pizza Hut restaurant and step through  the doors into a different culture..that of Asia.

I loved the central art piece of O’s logo embedded onto a large glass waterfall in the center of the dining room.

There are elegant touches like modern Asian place settings and benches lined with throw pillows.

Soon our server arrived.

Ross Schell, our server was super knowledgable.

He brought us a variety of Sakes to try from their extensive Sake menu.  Just for us Sake dummies, Ross lettered the platter so we’d know which was which.

We tried the Momokawa Diamond, Moon Asian Pear, Moon Raspberry and Silver were on this platter.  Ross also brought us some Nigori to try.  Sake is a rice based alcohol, sometimes called “rice wine” .  It was fun to taste all the different types and flavors. Mr. W and I preferred the bottle of Nigori that Ross brought us out and would probably stick to this on another occasion.  But all were fun and interesting to try.

And speaking of drinks, O has a nice bar at the front of the restaurant.

TO begin our meal, we received one of their sampler appetizer platters.

On the Sampler platter, we received a few of each of these – spring rolls, chicken satay, dumplings, coconut shrimp and crab rangoon.  This alone could have been a meal and we enjoyed sampling the crispy fresh spring rolls, and the largest crab rangoon I believe I’ve ever had.  The chicken satay was fun and drizzled with peanut sauce and well-spiced.  The coconut shrimp was crispy and wonderful and this is a great way to try just about all (with the exception of the tempuras and edamame) just about everything on the appetizer menu.

Next we got this…just look how pretty this is.  O’s Hiyashi Wakame Salad.

This salad is a bright and crunchy seaweed salad with a slightly spicy sesame sauce.  I loved this.

And then, onto the serious stuff my friends.

Behold the sushi bar and masters.

(Bao Lu and Matt Joplin -sushi chefs)

These guys were making up some fabulous sushi.  Our first roll arrived…and we ooh’d and aah’d.  Literally, this was Heaven (roll) on a plate.

This heavenly concoction had coconut shrimp, avocado and asparagus inside, tempura crabstick on top, along with lemon and scallions and 7 spices and garlic mayo.

I love the attention to detail O pays to things as well..check out the wasabi “leaves”.

Next arriving was a plate of wonder.   And eyes.

Yes eyes, looking right at me. From a beautiful roll.

O has a roll called the Question Roll, and it is a roll that the sushi chef will create for you on any given evening.  Called the Double Dragon Roll, tonight, ours featured sweet shrimp, cucumbers and avocado with spicy crab and shrimp on top, tobiko and some masago.

I think…(there was a lot going on in that roll)

Ross, our waiter pretty much gave us a disappointed look for not trying the crispy-fried shrimp head so we tasted that too..it was good. (Even though Ross admitted he hadn’t tried it after the fact).

Alongside of that were some samplings of their Nigiri (raw fish topped rice).  There was Maguro (tuna) and Unagi (bbq eel).

Both were delicious…gosh I love that bbq eel! It may be one of my new favs.

There was also an Angel Roll, which I believe was Mr. Wonderful’s favorite of the rolls.  This had Tuna ,  salmon, yellowtail and asparagus with white tuna (I think more escolar), scallions, red tobiko capped off with spicy mayo and eel sauce.

Stephanie and Dirk stopped by to say hi and Dirk insisted that Ross bring us some of their escolar nigiri (sometimes called white or marble tuna).

It is also sometimes called butterfish, because …well the texture and taste of it for a fish, is just…

Like butter.  And OH so good.

I closed my eyes on this one and just relished in this delicate and wonderful nigiri.

I would have died happy right then and there, but Ross was arriving with more deliciousness from the kitchen end of the restaurant.

This is O’s fusion version of Bulgofi -Stir fried beef, sesame seeds and fragrant vegetables served in their spicy house sauce with a side of Korean Kim Chi and Garlic Rice (fantastic for garlic lovers like me!).

They also brought us this…and oh my gosh was this good!  Spicy Basil Noodles.

Served with your choice of protein (chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, salmon, tuna or tofu)  the house-made savory and kicked-up basil sauce had absorbed into these noodles (they import from Asia) and I LOVED this dish!  If you know me, you know my favorite Thai dish is anything labeled Thai Basil.

And if that weren’t enough – we still had dessert to attend to.

This is a sampling of their two ice creams served at O.

The first is Green Tea and the pink one is their Red Silk.  Both were fabulous…and topped with toasted coconut.

And then for everyone who knows I love Creme Brulee, this capped off the evening.

O’s Creme Brulee is lighter than most, but I found this very refreshing after a big meal.

Ross also brought us some fabulous dessert sake to try as well. This is Zipang Sparkling Sake.

Almost like a wine and champagne mix, I thought this really brought out the flavors of dessert, and I am not a champagne fan..but maybe I am a Zipang fan now.

Of worthwhile mention is O’s patio.

Each Tuesday and Wednesday, O features live music from 7-10 P.M. for the summer.  You can view the schedule here.

Thanks to manager Jake Cross and the others previously mentioned for a great evening at O.

Tomorrow on my Rise & Shine segment, Sushi Chef Bao Lu will be coming on.

Chef Bao will be making the Heaven Roll deliciousness I described to you above.

You will want to tune in to Freedom 43 TV at 7:15 a.m. and watch ..and you will also be able to purchase a $50 gift certificate to try out O Asian Fusion for just $25.  What a deal…try out a great place for 1/2 off?

in closing, I have but one regret about going to O….really…and this is it….

It’s not closer to my house.

P.S. Watch for another O to open in the future on the West side of Norman!

Click Play to watch the video of Sushi Chef Bao and Manager Jake Cross as our guests today on Rise & Shine!


O Asian Fusion on Urbanspoon

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