Osaka is not an obvious restaurant. Tucked like a dull-covered book in a strip mall of randomized titles, it conceals itself despite a big ol’ sign shouting “Osaka” on its brown façade. With a name like Osaka, it’s certainly not an obvious Korean restaurant as those of you versed in Japanese geography surely realize.
The humble digs bills itself as a sushi bar and grill, one of many such eateries distributed across Lafayette’s burgeoning foodie cosmopolis, so it’s further obscured by its commonality. You’d be forgiven for assuming the average of such a place.
But with a nod, two winks and a rap on the bar to the tune of “shave of and haircut” — or a normal, human oral request — you will receive Osaka’s hidden gift, replete with exotics like bulgogi and bibimbap.
Served in a scalding stone pot, bibimbap doesn’t so much sizzle as it shimmers with spice. A base of rice crusts to the pot’s interior, adding an uncanny crunch that balances the sauté of veggies and the plump chew of the chili-garlic pork.
Thankfully Osaka is not doing such a good job of keeping the Korean menu a secret — it’s printed out and laminated. Pork this good should never be kept under wraps. Definitely don’t put good pork in wrap. Put it in bibimbap.
Pro Tip: Osaka posts mini-vids to YouTube of dish preps and specials. It doesn’t even keep its recipes a secret.
Osaka Sushi and Grill is located at 2809 Johnston St. in Lafayette