While Chinese and Japanese cuisines have been fully integrated into the American culinary experience, Korean food often remains on the outskirts. The eats—super spicy and hugely portioned—can be intimidating. Thank goodness, then, for Uoki, a cozy Korean-Japanese restaurant situated on the corner of Washington Street and Sixth Avenue.

Uoki’s Korean-born chef-owner, Mark Chun Park, serves up flavorful family recipes that make for an excellent introduction to the cuisine. Entrées come with a choice of soup, salad, or kimchi (spicy, pickled cabbage).

The menu focuses on crowd-pleasers such as bibimbap (a rice bowl topped with veggies and strips of beef), bulgogi (thinly sliced, marinated sirloin), and duk mandu gook (a pork-dumpling soup with chewy rice cakes). Using straightforward ingredients like carrot and spinach rather than soy bean sprouts and fern bracken, Uoki manages to be both Korean and familiar at the same time.

Once you master Uoki’s menu (which also features a full sushi bar), be sure to venture to Aurora’s Korean BBQ Sae Jong Kwan and Seoul BBQ for full-throttle Korean dining, with table-top barbecue and the complete cornucopia of tasty side dishes.

Bonus: Park sells take-home containers of his kimchi, which he makes from scratch using fresh red chiles grown in Pueblo.

Uoki, 701 E. Sixth Ave., 303-837-4380
Korean BBQ Sae Jong Kwan, 2680 S. Havana St. #B, 303-752-1338
Seoul BBQ, 2080 S. Havana St., 303-632-7576