Saturday, August 05, 2006

Culinary Adventures in LA: Part 2: Ode-San

Ode-san is located in Koreatown in Los Angeles. It serves Korean-style sushi/sashimi and it got a great review by one of LA's prime critics, Jonathan Gould (of LA Weekly). It was high on Paul's list of "restaurants to eat at" and so we went. G was disappointed that there was no Kalbi on the menu and that we were pressuring him to forgo the regular-sushi menu and order something that was Korean-style. We ended up ordering a "crunch" roll to share (mock crab, cucumber, avocado and crispy tempura bits), three fresh shrimp, sushi-style (they were swimming in the restaurant's tank minutes before we ate them), and each order a "bowl" dinner. Paul and I ate the sashimi bowl and G ordered the barbecued eel bowl.

The typical Korean side dishes arrived first.

We all love these little plates and dug into the kimchi, garlicky broccoli, bean sprouts, sweetened potatoes and dried fish. Shortly after we demolished most of the side dishes, the bowls arrived. I have to say I was a little disappointed with my "sashimi bowl". It was a big bowl full of lettuce (no detectable dressing) topped with all the scrappy end pieces of fish. It is known that the shape of a piece of food contributes to the taste on your palate. Some foods are more sensitive to the shaping than others. Sashimi is one of those sensitive foods. The fish can't melt on your tongue if it's a big chunk of fish rather than a delicate slice. I suppose the price reflected the use of scrappy end pieces, but honestly I would rather have had less fish that was cut well. Those end pieces could have been excellent inside a roll. Anyway, I ignored the salad and ate most of the fish with the bowl of rice provided.

G enjoyed his barbecued eel dish, which was over rice, not salad.

The shrimps arrived next, having just moments before sacrificed their lives in the kitchen.

They were ok, rather bland, and I'm not sure they were worth the $10 price tag (per shrimp!). Once we ate the shrimp, the waitress swooped by and grabbed the plate on which the shrimp heads resided and brought them back a few minutes later, tempura-fried and golden brown. It was my first time eating a shrimp head, and although I was hesistant, it tasted good.

The crunch roll was tasty, especially with the myterious brown sauce that was squirted over top of it.

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