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O-Ku celebrates authentic Asian cuisine with a southern approach with a menu that focuses on unique ingredients and sophisticated presentations. From petite plates to sushi specialties, O-Ku showcases the freshest fish from the world’s finest markets and producers in areas such as Norway, Scotland, Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as local sustainable sources. Chef Dung “Junior” Vo’s focus is to offer high-end traditional sushi and making it approachable to any interested diner.

Focused on incorporating authentically Japanese flavors into the fare, O-Ku’s menu is comprised of signature contemporary Japanese entrées and traditional sushi of the season reflecting the uniquely designed space. Guests can enjoy chef specialties including kurobuta pulled pork don-buri, braised short rib with shiso pesto, coconut curry, and hakozushi a box-style sushi. A wide variety of nigiri, sashimi and crudos are also available. The beverage program at O-Ku is a sophisticated blend of specialty cocktails, premium sake, bubbles, red and white wines and unique beer selections.

The interior is modern yet offers a reminder of Charleston’s charm and unique history with its exposed brick and high ceilings. Located on Charleston’s bustling upper King Street, the large expansive windows allow the perfect place to watch the action during the day or night. O-Ku has been named one of the Top 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010 by Esquire magazine and a Best Sushi Restaurant in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure in 2013.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer, managing partner of The Indigo Road, formed the Charleston-based hospitality group in 2009. In addition to managing the acclaimed Oak Steakhouse on historic Broad Street, Palmer brought Japanese cuisine to the Lowcountry when he helped open O-Ku on upper King Street in early 2010.O-Ku, the first upscale Japanese restaurant on the peninsula, was named one of Esquire magazine’s 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010.

Building on his passion for the upper King Street area of Charleston, Palmer opened The Cocktail Club in June, 2011. The Cocktail Club is a throwback to speakeasies of the 1920s and features craft cocktails made with fresh ingredients grown on site.

Kimball Brienza

Kimball Brienza

Kimball Brienza comes to the Lowcountry from Upstate New York. Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Cooperstown, N.Y., Brienza’s eclectic mix of cultures led him to culinary school in New York. He moved to Charleston in 2001 with a firm understanding of the food-services industry, and quickly added southern food to his culinary repertoire as a server at Carolina’s.

Brienza met executive chef Jeremiah Bacon of the Indigo Road’s Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh at Carolina’s, where the two worked together for almost 5 years. Over those years, Brienza worked his way up to bar manager and then assistant manager. He worked at the Boathouse for a year before moving to Oak Steakhouse and after two years there, Brienza was thrilled to join O-Ku and celebrate his Asian heritage with the restaurant’s team.

Named one of Esquire magazine’s 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010 and featured as a Travel + Leisure Top Sushi Restaurants in 2012, O-Ku has flourished under Brienza’s guidance with its commitment to showcase upscale, authentic Asian cuisine with a contemporary twist.

Dung "Junior" Vo

Dung Junior Vo

Executive Chef

O-Ku Charleston Executive Chef Dung “Junior” Vo was born In Vietnam and grew up in the coastal city of Nha Trang before moving to Atlanta in 2006. He joined the Indigo Road team while attending the Art Institute of Atlanta. Upon graduation, Junior made a move to Charleston to join the O-Ku Charleston team where he would later excel to executive chef. As a chef in the tight-knit Charleston community, Junior finds joy in the coming together to work with and support the fellow hospitality community. 

With his first F&B experience being in a traditional hibachi restaurant, he first fell in love with the idea of providing a personalized and memorable experience for guests. With an infectiously vibrant personality, Junior welcomes guests at O-Ku with the best experience possible whether a local friend or first-time visitor.  

When not preparing signature Japanese cuisine at the popular and award-winning Upper King Street restaurant, Junior enjoys taking Ballroom dancing lessons and supporting his fellow Indigo Road chefs in kitchens across the Southeast.