O-Ku 

Dining Description:  A modern twist on Japanese cuisine. Try the yellowtail carpaccio, Yukiniku duck legs, and specialty sushi rolls.

User Rating:  ★★★★★ ★★★★★ by 20 Users

Hours:  Dinner (daily)

Price:  $$$$, $$$$

Features:  Best Of, Staff Pick, Menu, Image

Dining Features:  Online Reservations, Dinner, Late Night

Neighborhood:  Downtown

Specials:
• Half-off all rolls and select bottles of sake. $3 off specialty drinks.
   Mon, Weds, Fri, 5pm-7pm

Reviews / Comments (30)

Showing 1-25 of 30

I'm not gonna give this a star rating to throw anything off, but it seems like it is time to point out that the GM of one Indigo Road restaurant shouldn't be going around giving glowing reviews to other Indigo Road restaurants. It really destroys any credibility that this forum might have. Copied below is Jas's comment on Cocktail Club's CP page, and my comment should post right above her "review" of O-Ku. Steve Palmer seems to know what he is doing and should really get his staff in line.

Concernicus411, I am so sorry to hear you had a bad experience at The CC. I am the general manager and we are fully committed to superior service and using the freshest ingredients to craft our cocktails. Please join us again, as our guest. Please bring your friend as well and allow us to provide the service and quality of which we are known for. You can reach me directly at jbeck@theindigoroad.com
REPORT 2 OF 3 PEOPLE LIKE THIS. LIKE DISLIKE
Posted by jas on January 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

report 16 of 22 people like this.   
Posted by BNP29412 on January 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I know it was 10pm on a Sunday. But, that's no reason for the hamachi nigiri to be almost room temperature and the wasabi to be dry. And the olives in the martini were absolutely tasteless and lacking pimentos in 2 out of 3. This place needs a good scrubbing in the back of the house. Men's restroom in serious need of attention. Also suggest covering the window in the kitchen door. Seeing food scraps all over work surfaces and general unsightliness is disturbing.

report 10 of 11 people like this.   
Posted by Guy on June 4, 2012 at 6:18 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I had a terrible experience - I was disappointed and underwhelmed by the food quality and service. The staff is unfamiliar with the contents of the menu and do not communicate clearly. My order was incorrectly delivered and they served poor quality dishes. When I showed the piece of sashimi that looked as if it had been torn off by a dog, the waitress did not offer to replace the dish. The sushi roll just falls apart and they served lettuce that was not fresh. Not to mention that they had a repairman clinking and clanking in the dining area while customers were still present and eating.

report 8 of 8 people like this.   
Posted by Jfood on November 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

This place makes me laugh..I mean, barf! When there when it first opened, was decent. Went there the other day and was like, WHAT THE F HAPPENED? How can this place last, really? It feels off...like its all fake. There is this image that O-ku is trying so desperate (oh good, the word desperate is PERFECT here) to maintain feels like a sham. There is nothing much to back it up.
I guess trendsters and wannabe trendsters keep going there, tho. And there is nothing worse than hanging out with people who so so desperately WANT to look and act cool. Its just isnt, tho. Sorry.
And Sushi no good, seriously. The wait staff was outright dumb, and did not know a thing about a thing. O-ku is busted, imo.
Just keepin' it real.

report 7 of 10 people like this.   
Posted by Joey Mama on September 3, 2010 at 7:18 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I couldn't agree with johnscott and elam1234. O-ku is the biggest disappointment for me this year considering all the hype. The one good thing we had was not on the menu - it was oysters with delicious mazutaki (sp?) mushrooms. All else was just OK, and OK is definitely not the kind of prices or atmosphere this place was trying to project. If you want better sushi, head over to Zen in West Ashley. I have been there twice now after the disappointing meal. Our server was not knowledable on any of the sakes or dinner choices, which is not really acceptable for the prices and atmosphere. Train the waitstaff before they hit the floor. By not doing so, you shoot yourself in the foot.

report 5 of 5 people like this.   
Posted by Megs on July 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Pretentious, dreadful, so noisy that it was hard to place our orders and we were hoarse when we left. Food mediocre and overpriced. Voting with my wallet, never again.

report 5 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by cdfs on November 22, 2012 at 9:48 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Underwhelming and faux. Food is good, yet overpriced. Just another bar scene, but not nearly as horrid as Hall's...

report 4 of 5 people like this.   
Posted by johnscott on April 5, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Whoever led Brett McKee into this venture gave him bad advice .. Pricing is out of whack with Chucktown. Execution here is like his other recent venture 17North -- less than very good. McKee has lost his way -- and meanwhile the prices at Oak Steakhouse have risen beyond most local folks except vacationing tourists and recently divorced grifters .. Another very fine chef whose ego has been inflated beyond what he once enjoyed. Moral of the story is keep your own counsel.

report 4 of 5 people like this.   
Posted by OlinMac on August 19, 2010 at 4:32 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Great happy hour with great sushi and cocktails.

report 2 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by another cofc student on August 12, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Service gets an A+, Jacob gave excellent recommendations and was spot on with timing, his personality really shined and the bf and I didn't feel like we were being served, we felt like we were being hosted. The Harvest Roll was unique, it tasted like fried chicken and mashed potatoes in a sushi package. The other rolls we tried were filled with crisp vegetables and buttery fish, they had great texture and clean flavors. I had the Manifesto Zin and the bf had the Bell's Brown, great drinks for a crisp night. The decor and atmosphere are a great balance of industry and nature. There is wood, metal, and stone which creates a comfortable modern yet contemporary feel. With many other sushi competitors, the atmosphere of O-Ku would bring me back, it is pleasantly devoid of the sushi bar cliche environment.

report 2 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by danadominata on December 20, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Re: “Coming to America Party

Who is this person and why is this an event? My aunt is having her birthday dinner at Red's in Mt. Pleasant next week...can that be in the city paper too?

report 2 of 3 people like this.   
Posted by LizB on February 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I've been to Oku a number of times for drinks late-night, but finally ate there during a happy hour one Friday night. The hostess told my friend and I that they could seat us right away (somehow even though it was packed) and then our waitress warned us the food may take a while since happy hour was so busy. The sangria was delicious and our food came out really fast. My friend and I each ordered two specialty rolls and it was some of the best sushi I've had in Charleston (and I've eaten a lot of sushi!). The manager came to our table to ask how everything was. The happy hour specials are great especially for the sushi rolls. The atmosphere is also nice and great for a girls night out or a more casual date. Overall it was a great experience and I would eat there three times a week if I could afford to!

report 1 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by Allie Mitchell on February 18, 2014 at 3:02 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

They have some solid sushi as well as cocktails at O-Ku. They 'defenetly' do not have the best sushi in the Charleston area (that's what Kanpai is for ;) ), but if you know what you are ordering, you will not be disappointed with the food/cocktails at O-Ku. The service is very hit or miss.

report 1 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by Dr. Giggles on April 17, 2014 at 9:47 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

lunch bento boxes=yum at very reasonable prices.
happy hour=yum sushi half off.
dinner menu= yum japanese unlike anywhere else in charleston.

report 0 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by chasgirl789 on August 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Excellent. I strongly disagree with other reviews. This place brings a fantastic menu and excellent service. Monday, Wednesday and another day i cannot remember now (thursday or friday) they offer a happy hour (from 5-7) half-price cocktails, and sushi. Nice atmosphere, and delicious food. My favorite sushi: potato roll, oh, and another one with scallops and mozarella!
There is also a Carpaccio of yellowtail...amazing!!

report 0 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by Aura on August 18, 2010 at 11:57 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I have to confess I only walked in as far as the middle of the bar. Stopped in for just a drink Thursday simply because we parked right out front. Outstanding bar staff. Eclectic martini menu. Interesting dinner menu as well. Pricey stuff, yes, but have you been to Oak? This isn't the place to go for dollar PBRs and a buffet. This place ups the bar for Upper King.

From the bar perspective, curious decor - black, brick, mirrors, splashes of oak branches. Darkish but good. Loud, but I enjoy a buzz in the air. As for atmosphere it felt a bit like it was hastily put together to get the doors open. Yes, I get the Japanese minimalism.

Can't quite put my finger on it, but compared to Halls, Rue, Chai's it doesn't have a "hangable" bar feeling for this feature to be so dominant. The place was packed and on a wait so if the bar does little more than sell sake martinis while people wait for a table, it'll do fine.

Absolutely wish them well - the unique menu fills a niche not entirely dissimilar to Chai's but where Chai's seems to attract the 20 to 30-something see and be seen crowd, this place will bring the upscale 35+ drinks and "something different" folks.

We'll be back.

report 0 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by StevePeck on April 6, 2010 at 10:24 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Great food, service, location, and atmosphere at reasonable prices. I hope it does well. Only criticism is that it can be a bit noisy when full of patrons ... maybe some sound softeners would help.

report 0 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by ReasonableDoubt on April 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

yep, pretty good but there are places equally good and not over-priced as long as you don't mind not being "scene"-ha

report 0 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by mickey d on June 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Is defenetly the best sushi in Charleston!!!I love the food ,staff,atmosphere i would eat eat here every day if i can afford it .LOL

report 0 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by Cristina Oana on March 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Best ever

report 1 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by Isisnah on February 24, 2011 at 3:32 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

I went to O-Ku for the first time last night and it definitely will not be the last time. The half-off happy hour prices meant half-off our premium bottle of sake. What a great start! I found a new favorite cold & dry sake with the help of the knowledgeable bar staff. (Tozai Living Jewel brand, but I still love my Bishonen at Sushi Hiro too)

I enjoyed the high-quality sushi cut with skilled precision and seasoned so well I enjoyed the yellowtail carpaccio and toro five ways without insulting it with soy sauce or wasabi. Push both aside and use it on the sushi rice rolls if you must. Neither dish is served with rice or nori and I did not miss either as that is not what these expensive but oh-so-worth-it amuse bouche plates are about.

O-Ku is not cheap but it is all about quality, presentation, freshness and Umami.

Our bartender was pretty and I hate to admit my prejudice that in my past experience at other restaurants, “pretty face” usually meant I got mediocre service and lack of knowledge. So imagine my delight to find that at O-Ku, she not only knew her various premium sakes like the back of her hand but she also had a great knowledge of each dish and served it by explaining each piece of the toro and what seasoning was used on it. I hope the other restaurants read this & realize that the server's knowledge of their food & bev does make a difference to those of us that care about our dining experience. How refreshing not to get an answer back like "um, I don't know, I don't eat that" or "Um, I don't know, I've only been here two weeks" or any answer that implies it's all about them and not the customer.

O-Ku seems to be about quality and not making sure you're so full you have to be rolled out of there. If you want lots of cheap & dyed farmed-fish served with tons of rice & dyed picked ginger, then O-Ku might not be your cup of green tea.


I really ejoyed my O-Ku dining experience and can't wait for my tax refund so I can go back for more. Sushi Hiro, (my other favorite sushi bar) you've got competition!

report 2 of 5 people like this.   
Posted by Lee Haskell on February 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

flippin fantastic. rolls are great-higher quality fish that they talk about is evident but we were in the mood for something different... the small plates that they do- we had the spring rolls (not what you're think-not fried has raw fish), sashimi tacos, 4 toros,scallop pork belly slider were ridiculous! had the sashimi platter too- yummy. they have tasmanian salmon thats so clean and fresh.
tried their mojito that won the challenge this week- jasmanian angel- another yum.
we'll be back. soon.

report 1 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by chasgirl789 on June 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

I have Been to O-Ku several times - I have NEER been disappointed - from the professional & friendly staff to the creative entrees of Sean Park. Check it out - five deep at the bar this friday night will echo my praises.

report 1 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by csmithii on February 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Freshest seafood in town. Most creative menu I have seen in a Japanese restaurant, try the Seabass if you like cooked food, they also have an incredible rock shrimp salad.
Happy Hour Monday, Wen, Fri 5-7, half off sushi rolls and cocktails! get there early, it gets busy!

report 1 of 9 people like this.   
Posted by jas on January 2, 2012 at 6:44 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Visited Oku for the first time last Friday night.

Our reservation was for 7:15 P.M. We arrived just before then and the first thing I noticed was how packed the restaurant was. Looking at the crowd it was no surprise that our table wasn't ready yet, so we cruised over to the bar and ordered drinks.

And we waited. We waited for quite some time until about 7:40 when we were seated. Our table for two, well it sucked. It was right up against the bar and I felt boxed in by the bar patrons on both sides of us, and had to ask for space more then once.

Our server was very sweet, although it was very apparent that she was extremely rushed and stressed. She went flying through the evening specials and about halfway she admitted that she forgot exactly what they consisted of.

We ordered appetizers and sushi rolls. I was impressed with the apps, they were unique and not something I would find at just any restaurant. The sushi that we ordered was tasty, however I wasn't blown away by the quality. Personally I feel the sushi at Bushido or Tsunami is just as quality, if not better.

Feeling a little underwhelmed at this point, Oku did something completely unexpected that brought us back. Earlier in the evening the manager stopped by our table to chat, and we informed him that our visit was a birthday celebration. After dinner was served he brought out cake and champagne for the two of us, on the house.

We left feeling satisfied and happy. I would like to return for happy hour to give Oku another try.



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Posted by twa318 on June 14, 2011 at 11:32 PM
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