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Frozen sashimi at Odaesan?

Pei Jul 25, 2006 04:47 PM

Went to Odaesan the other night and ordered the Odaesan sashimi plate. $150 was enough food for five and included:

-sashimi plate of four or five kinds of fish
-another sashimi plate of lobster, sea cucumber, and abalone
-lobster soup with vegetables
-miso soup
-squid stuffed with fish roe
-braised fish and daikon in a dark sticky sweet sauce
-oranges and lychee for dessert

I might be missing one dish, but it was a lot of food.

HUGE question lingering in my mind: do Korean Japanese restaurants make a habit of serving fish partially or fully frozen? We had some bluefin tuna as well as tuna belly that was crunchy in the center. Then we had some white tuna that was frozen solid--as in it was impossible to bite into it.

We called the waitress over to tell her, and she insisted that Koreans serve sashimi frozen because that means it's very fresh. I personally think that her English was poor and she just meant to say that sashimi imported to the US has all been previously frozen, but my friend thinks the waitress was BSing because she didn't want to take the plate of food back to the kitchen.

Our Korean friends have been no help: some say that Korean restaurants like to serve sashimi with a bit of frost on them (colder than a Japanese restaurant would), others say that's not true.

In any case, the pieces that were served rock hard are a mystery to me. Odaesan regulars, what do you think?

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  1. f
    FED RE: Pei Jul 25, 2006 04:49 PM

    i've had that same experience.

    1. Mrs Fang RE: Pei Jul 25, 2006 04:59 PM

      I just called my brother who's gone to Odaesan a lot since it opened and he confirmed that the fish sashimis are always served partially frozen. His wife is Japanese and this drives her crazy, so if they do order sashimi, they plan on eating it last. The restaurant's draw is the cooked fish, apparently. And, says brother, "the entertainment."

      I've been to other sushi shops run by Koreans (one in San Pedro, several in Garden Grove) and have not been served icy fish.

      1. m
        monkey RE: Pei Jul 25, 2006 04:59 PM

        We have found this at Odaeson and Busan and was told by the owner of Busan that it was normal with the softer sashimi to serve it this way to give it texture.

        1. modernist RE: Pei Jul 25, 2006 05:32 PM

          i have had this experience too, and it drives me bonkers. however, i'd rather have it slightly frozen, waiting to let it thaw, than to have it served defrosted in the microwave with slightly cooked edges (at noshi sushi, another korean sushi restaurant)

          my korean friends were hating on odaesan, and saying that arado on wilton and wilshire was better.

          for me its only a lesser of two evils...

          1 Reply
          1. re: modernist
            weebie RE: modernist Jul 25, 2006 06:57 PM

            Pretty sure NOSHI has a Japanese owner [not a Korean one]. Luckily I've never encountered the scorched-edge sashimi you describe there... that's pretty bad.

          2. p
            PayOrPlay RE: Pei Jul 25, 2006 09:49 PM

            I've never run into frozen sashimi at Odaesan, but we have been served the, uh, "crunchy style" fish at other Korean places. It never occurred to me that it might actually be a cultural preference, and the first time it happened I was sort of appalled, but have learned since that most sushi everywhere is frozen at some point so I guess I'd be more open-minded than before.

            Still, I don't think I would be thrilled to have this happen at Odaesan, which is fairly high-end and where we have always had first-rate food. I wouldn't agree that the "cooked fish" is the draw--for us it's generally the panchan (sea squirts!) and the caviar-rice dishes, but I've also seen people order and receive huge slabs of freshly-sliced fish and seafood, supposedly just out of the tank.

            Modernist (or anyone), if it's a challenger to Odaesan for higher-end Korean-style seafood, I would love to hear more about Arado.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PayOrPlay
              modernist RE: PayOrPlay Jul 25, 2006 11:44 PM

              i havent tried arado yet. i've been to odaesan about four times, never really liked it although you do get a lot of food. i guess i just prefer japanese style. my dad and i had a hankering for sushi but it was a sunday so most japanese spots were closed and i called a korean foodie friend and she asked her friends and they all said not odaesan, but go to arado. (it too ended up being closed so we ended up at the japanese restaurant in the chapman market which also sucked). i believe they serve live octopus and live shrimp at arado. although generally the live shrimp costs about 10 bucks for one which i find overpriced. i'd rather kill the suckers with my own bare hands (which i did a few months ago after buying them from ktown galleria supermarket). i think the sashimi bi bim bap at odaesan is a perfectly fine lunch meal though.

              i dont know if arado is "high end" it doesnt look as fancy from the outside and it looks much more homier and smaller... but i kinda like that...

            2. s
              smssms RE: Pei Jul 26, 2006 12:18 AM

              i haven't hit up a korean sushi place in about a year, but arado is/was considered one of the better places. but i will say ginza sushi (not urusawa under previous ownership) is better, or it seemed on a few occasions a couple of years ago. very fresh and tasty.

              as an aside, i was once served live uni at busan. (imagine what appears to be half of a mutant coconut slowly crawling on your plate.) needless to say, that trumped the various other sea creatures (shrimp, lobster, etc.) that i've sampled live and severed at various ktown joints.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smssms
                WBGuy RE: smssms Jul 26, 2006 01:29 AM

                As an aside to an aside, you can get live uni at Quality Seafood at the Redondo Beach Pier. They'll crack it open, clean it for you and give it to you with its spines still moving. Watch the horrified looks on passersby as you enjoy your delicious treat.

              2. Cicely RE: Pei Jul 26, 2006 06:59 PM

                When I had sashimi in Korea, it was served that way (partially frozen). At the time I wasn't very sashimi-knowledgeable and I enjoyed it - it does seem very fresh that way (ironically?). Rock hard is crazy, though. I think it's a good call to just eat it last. Or, if you really don't like it, don't order it there! I really like their hwe tup bap - kind of like a sashimi salad.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cicely
                  Cicely RE: Cicely Jul 26, 2006 07:27 PM

                  also, my boyfriend, who was in Seoul last week, says:

                  Similar thing happened to me in Korea a few weeks ago. We
                  ordered a huge platter of sashimi at a client dinner. I remarked that the sashimi is "cold" which was my polite way of saying it's frozen and therefore served at the wrong temperature. The Koreans all laughed as one remarked in a slightly condescending tone, "That's the way it's supposed to be." I think they thought that that was the first
                  time I'd tried sashimi.

                2. s
                  smssms RE: Pei Jul 26, 2006 08:17 PM

                  i've been meaning to check out quality seafood. ain't nuthin' better than some live sea urchin gonads... ehem roe, i meant roe...

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