Little Tokyo: no meat no sushi
I'd appreciate suggestions for a low-key birthday dinner in Little Tokyo this Sunday evening for some one who eats neither meat nor sashimi.
Believe me, Jeff, if these people weren't my family, their culinary prejudices would have excluded them as suitable dining companions a long time ago.
We ended up going to Koreatown, to Yongsusan which I'd wanted to try for a long time and had a fabulous meal (of course, the finicky eater in question ordered a la carte [dak gogi]). My father, who loves pumpkin porridge, thought theirs too sweet, and my brother objected to the persimmon punch (characteristically) but all agreed the gimchee (which has been hailed here and in Counter Intelligence [has anyone on this board acknowledged how clever the title?]) was exceptional; my father ordered one to take away for his wife (not present, small favors). I ate all the black cod (I'd love to see a discussion here about black cod. Has anyone else tried Shin Jung's?). I was puzzled by the waitresses' insistence on removing items from the table as subsequent courses were served. Is this an attempt at American service?
The sweets were exquisite: candied walnuts, chestnut stuffed dates and what is the other?
I did crawl under the table when the waitress summoned the host after I'd moued incomprehension when she asked if we were ready for the cake; he had asked me how many candles when I handed it to him surreptitiously (so I thought) upon arrival. When both stood before us wringing their hands I had no choice but to acknowledge that the game was up and said, it was supposed to be a surprise. Thereupon they turned off the lights and left us sitting in the dark for some 2 minutes.
The cake, chestnut cream from Frances Bakery, was lovely, although the inscription read: Happy Birthday Gaddy and Douglas (my father's name is Dong Myung; a Japanese bakery, go figure).
Final note on Frances Bakery: They carry marrons glace.
Suehiro Cafe @ 337 E. 1st St. is a low key spot, offering cooked fish and non-meat entrees. It's popular with japanese tourists, artists living in near-by lofts, civic employees and others who appreciate a good meal at a fair price.