Tag Archives: sashimi

Providence

11 Mar

Last year for annual mistress day, Bubby took me to Melisse. And if you remember, Melisse did not deliver the 2 Michelin stars as advertised. This year, Bubby took me to Providence– the other LA restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. I’ve heard wonderful things about Providence, except that contrary cunt Nibs was the only person who didn’t rave about the food.

SPOTTED: Rich, older lonely boys and the young gold diggers who love them. (Can you tell I just watched a marathon of Gossip Girl recently?) I tried to look for wedding rings on the fingers of both parties and spotted none. Bubby and I tried to discretely turn our backs 180 degrees just to find our favorite couples. Note to self, twisting at that exaggerated angle is never discreet.

Bubby enjoyed a beer while I enjoyed a glass of a delicious medley of juices including lychee, guava, passion fruit, and other exotic treasures that the bartender could muster. It was as delicious as the welcome juice given to the guests at Phuket’s Dusit Laguna Hotel — the most delicious standard for all juices.

This juice was so refreshing but cost more than Bubby’s beer.  Seven dollars of juice.

The amuse bouche

The spoon on the left was a yellow egg-yolk-like version of a screwdriver.  Refreshing and a nice burst of cold alcohol in your mouth.  The square jello on the right was a mojito.  The screwdriver was definitely better than the mojito.

The second amuse bouche

This trio was not as good as the first amuse bouche.  Sipping a luke warm soup from a straw is not a great way of starting a marathon of courses.  I hoped this was not an accurate representation of what was to come.

The bacon brioche

Bubby ate like 8 of these. He described them as bite size wonders that tasted like Jack in the Box’s sourdough jack burgers. He doesn’t even love bacon as much as I do, and he couldn’t get enough of these. I even caught him checking out the size of my purse to see how many miniature wonders I could confiscate safely from the premises. Unfortunately, I carried my small clutch.

Tai snapper sashimi, sake, caviar, salted cherry blossom

The sashimi was fresh and tasted more like yellowtail than snapper. It lacked that chewy consistency that sometimes accompanies snapper sashimi. The snapper’s texture was soft and the caviar, salty. There was a gelatinous layer that I didn’t even mind. In fact, I liked it. But I really loved the yellow rice cracker balls that added the perfect crunch.

Santa Barbara spot prawns, nori bread crumbs, spring herbs

That prawn looks like it’s on roids. It was perfectly cooked and succulent. I did not care for the random herbs, the bread crumbs, or the cat spit foam. In fact, I hate cat spit.  Why do these upscale restaurants find the need to add cat spit? Stop with the cat spit!  It’s not creative, and it’s no longer cool. But most importantly, it looks like the bile that Miso vomits.

Main lobster, charcoal grilled, smoked black truffle butter

This dish looks like Valentine’s Day. The arrangement of the lobster, the colors of my wedding, is perfection. And it tasted the way it looked. Thick pieces of fresh lobster made me want to cry like Homer did when he ate Pinchy.

I, too, felt that I loved Pinchy the most and should respect him by eating him all by myself. Piiiiiiiinchy!!!!!!!

Foie gras ravioli – a la carte

We ordered this dish separately because of the amazing reviews. Also, I’m trying to eat as much foie gras possible before they ban it in California in July. The waiter even recommended making reservations for a foie gras exclusive menu. I’m seriously considering arranging a small dinner party called a Farewell to Foie Gras. These raviolis made me want to cry.  It was like looking at a boyfriend knowing that it won’t last.  It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday…. Boyz II Men.

The pasta was perfectly thin, the foie gras rich and decadent.  I will have to cross some state lines to get my foie gras kick.  Trust.

Wild New Zealand john dory, foie gras, white port, spring vegetables

By the time we reached this course, I was busting out of my skirt.  The courses were separated by 15 minutes, and it only takes 7 minutes for my stomach to tell my brain, “Bitch, you full.”  I was fighting the good fight, and I had to have a bite of each dish.  The john dory was tender and flavorful, and I really enjoyed the crispy and crunchy skin.  I really regretted wasting stomach space on the amuse bouche trio.  Rookie mistake.

Duck breast, petit pois, pea greens

I love duck.  One of the perks of marrying a Chinese man is having Peking duck on the regular.  I literally sing my song of joy when the Chinese waiter brings that huge plate of crispy duck and its soft pillow friends.  It is on point just like the duck at Providence.  The duck at Providence melts in your mouth.  It felt like buttered bread that melts on your tongue.  I had to chew like three times before it was ready to be swallowed.  And to seal the deal, the fried ball of foie gras.

I love fried balls of anything, but fried balls of foie gras takes the cake.

Fennel, yellow chartreuse, Angelica root, yogurt

The yogurt was enjoyable and provided a great palate cleanser.  The plate in its entirety was just okay.

Chocolate surprise

The Valentine’s day menu included a dessert that was basically chocolate served with chocolate.  Earlier in the meal, I told our waiter that I wasn’t a fan of chocolate, so he brought me a special dessert that was completely chocolate free.

My surprise dessert

This plate of heaven was more than I could ask for with ice cream, meringue, and hints of lemon.  The fact that they substituted the chocolate madness with the perfect treat for me, I couldn’t be happier.  Well played, Providence.  Well played.

Our farewell treat

I left this box as is.  I could not eat another bite.  Bubby had to roll my fat ass out of that restaurant at 11:30 p.m.  Yes, the entire dinner took longer than 3 hours.  I was feeling a mix of emotions … full, sleepy, tired, happy, drunk with food.

Providence is exponentially better than Melisse.  I could also tell the difference of an All Star Chef and Top Chef based on my experience at Ink recently (review soon to come). If it wasn’t for the liberal use of cat spit, I would have given Providence a perfect rating.

Providence
5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

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Masan

6 Jul

I’ve been on this ridiculous wedding diet.  Blister was like, “You’re the only bride I know who is pigging out before her wedding.  Usually, brides want to look their best, not their fattest.”  And because of this, I’ve been going to wedding boot camp of four straight days of hell at Pure Barre.  More like Pure Hell.  It’s intense ballet, yoga, and pilates which definitely has reshaped my muscles.  But it’s so hard that the thought of eating food makes me feel horrible because it’s never worth the pain I feel in Pure Barre.  Well, some foods are worth the pain, but not all.  I have 4 weeks left of this intensive strength training, and then I’m back on the fat wagon.  Also, I want to look my best for my husband-to-be during our honeymoon in Barbados.  I told Bubby that my body will be at its ultimate peak during Barbados and after that, it’s downhill with post-pregnancy stretch marks, fat rolls, and flabby skin.  He seemed sad.

Although I’m not dining anywhere new until after our wedding, we have been to several restaurants that I need to post an update for, including Masan.  I’ve heard of Masan several times before, the restaurant where you can order san nakji (live octopus).  I’ve always wanted to try san nakji ever since I watched the movie, “Old Boy.”  While others in the movie theater squirmed with disgust, I whispered to Bubby, “That looks delicious.”

I gathered my family members, eaters of live things, and headed to Masan.  Masan is on the edge of Koreatown, closer to downtown.  It’s not the best neighborhood and the only available parking is valet.  Once you walk in, you’re greeted by fish tanks, drunk Korean men with red faces, and empty green bottles once filled with soju.  The decor is sketchy, and if you’re not Korean you might want to call your Korean friend to come with.  The front of the restaurant was moderately packed for a Friday night, and the hostess escorted us to the back of the restaurant.  The smell of questionable fish and the sight of the cluttered kitchen were not appetizing but required to endure as we made our way to the back room.  These back rooms make me suspicious … I think I’ve seen too many mafia movies but my dukes were up, ready to swing.  We were the only ones in the back room.  Now if I wasn’t Korean, I’d think this is some Rosa Parks shit.  But I genuinely feel they didn’t have an available table for 5 in the front of the restaurant.

Masan actually serves a variety of live underwater deliciousness.  Live shrimp, live uni, live sea cucumbers.  We opted for the family plan including sashimi, sea cucumbers, steamed monk fish, spicy fish stew, and more.

The sea cucumbers.

This looks more disgusting than how it tastes.  Yes, it looks like black phlegm hacked from the lungs of a chronic cigarette smoker, but it’s really good.  It has this interesting crunchy texture that you can’t really place.  Maybe like crunching on the cartilage off a chicken bone.  But it was my favorite of the night.

The live octopus.

The live octopus was anti-climactic.  It was nothing like the movie Old Boy.  Sure the tentacles moved around and stuck to your inner cheeks, but I wanted a fight.  I wanted these bad boys to fight without mercy.  I should have thrown several of these tentacles on my face just to reenact the famous scene.

Suckers with suckers.

A clam???

I’m not sure what this was, I believe it’s some kind of clam.  Blister, do you remember?  They were chewy, nothing special obviously.  I can’t even remember what it is.

Sea squirts.

First of all, the name of these things is disgusting.  Sea squirt.  Barf.  The waitress gave us these squirts as “service.”  In Korean, “service” means on the house.  So when these squirts landed on our table, squirts from Korea mind  you, my dad’s eyeballs popped out of his head as he popped these bad boys into his mouth.  Now the eyeballs were in the back of his head.  Homeboy was in heaven.  These bad boys are disgusting.  They taste like dishwater.  No.  The water from your spa pedicure after the lady grates the cheese off the bottom of your feet.  That water.

Steamed monk fish.

Masan is known for their aggu jjim, steamed monk fish, and rightfully so.  My mom makes a killer aggu jjim, but Masan’s was good, too.  The fish was soft and tender and super spicy just like it should be.  The best aggu jjim I ever had was in New York.  During college, my aunt would order it from the local Korean restaurant and magically, aggu jjim appeared at her front door.  Hot, spicy, tender, delicious.  Damn, I used to kill some good aggu jjim up in New York.  I miss it.  Masan’s aggu jjim is not even competition for New York’s, but it was good.

Fish stew.

So remember that spa pedicure water?  Throw some red pepper flakes in it, and you’ll get this fish stew.  This is the worst fish stew.  It was way too watery and the fish and spices didn’t have enough time to percolate to get that fishy aroma.  That sounds gross.  But it was elementary.  So elementary.

Fresh sashimi.

The sashimi was not fresh and not worth the price.  El Ninja’s sashimi is way better.  He buys a live flounder from the market and slices and dices that bad boy and serves it fresh.  Really good and way better than Masan’s.  It wasn’t even sliced properly. Look at those jagged edges.  No good.

Here are some of the side dishes served.

 Squid salad with red pepper/vinegar sauce

 Mung bean jelly with soy sauce and scallions

 Deep fried salmon bones — crunchy and delicious

 Roasted garlic — mm mm good.  I recently found out that microwaved garlic is really good, too.

 Egg — a Korean staple

I expected more from Masan and was seriously disappointed.  The sea cucumber and aggu jjim were the only items I would recommend.  Two sarcastic slow claps.

Masan
2851 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Sushi Murasaki

28 Feb

This is my first post about sushi which is really odd because I love sushi.  While other children ate cheerios and watched cartoons on Saturday morning, we ate fresh sushi and tied raw chicken legs on string to catch blue crabs.  My parents would wake us up at 3 am on Saturday morning so we could make our morning drive to Galveston for a full day of fishing and crabbing.  Half asleep, my brother, sister, and I would crawl into the back seat of our Cutlass Sierra Oldmobile and wake up to the smell of the ocean.  My dad and brother would fish all day while my mom, sister, and I would catch crabs with raw chicken and a net.  When we got tired, we would jump in the ocean like children do and play.   When I was 4 or 5, my sister and I jumped into the ocean and my right foot landed on a hard shell with jagged edges.  I’m not sure if it was an oyster shell or a conch shell but it cut deeply into my foot.  I lifted my foot out of the water, and streaks of blood ran down my leg.   I remember it clearly.  My mom yelled for my dad, and my dad ripped open a Marlboro, unpacked the tobacco, spit in it, and created a homemade Neosporin like a Korean shaman.  He packed the tobacco into the cut and it actualy healed nicely.  My Marlboro scar isn’t that bad.  I probably have nicotine permanently running through my veins but whatever.

Anyway, after our long Saturdays at Galveston, my dad would prepare fresh slices of sashimi from his catch of the day.  So at a very young age, we were spoiled with really great sashimi.  I crave and eat a lot of it, often.

We went to Sushi Murasaki in Orange County.

Bubby and I always order the agedashi tofu for our appetizer.  It’s a must.

Fried soft tofu in a tentsuyu broth made of dashi, mirin, and Japanese soy sauce.  The broth was warm and light.  I spooned it into my mouth until it was all gone.  Perfectly flavored.  The tofu was a good soft and silky texture.  Bubby thought there was too much broth to really enjoy the fried texture of the tofu.  I didn’t mind the broth at all.

Our nigiri arrived. Isn’t this beautiful?

Top row (L to R): fatty toro (x2), yellowtail belly (x2), salmon belly
Middle row (L to R):  mackerel, another mackerel, kohada, tuna, sweet shrimp, salmon roe with quail egg
Bottom row (L to R):  salmon, albacore, kumamoto oyster

Fatty toro is the best.  So fatty.  The best fatty toro I ever had was at Urasawa where you seared the outside of the toro on a hot stone rock and it sizzled in its own fat.  Amazing.

The yellowtail belly was also really tasty and fresh.  Bubby insisted I take note of the salmon, “It was most delicious.”  All of the fish was fresh, including the sweet shrimp.  It had a very clean taste to it.  The only piece I disliked was the kumamoto oyster.  I felt sick after eating it.  It did not sit well.

Our spicy scallop hand roll:

The scallops were fresh but instead of adding the spicy sauce into the Japanese mayonaisse and scallop  mix, they just added it on top.  It was okay, but the nori was crispy and good.  I probably would not order this again.

The next dish was the chawanmushi, Japanese egg custard.  The weird thing about this restaurant was the order the food arrived.  I’m used to the chawanmushi and miso served before the sushi.  Here, they arrived last.

The egg custard was soft and silky and super hot.  Mmmm.  I could do without the shiitake mushrooms, I’m not a fan of mushrooms.  But after spoonfuls of treasure, there were nuggets of shrimp and fish at the bottom of the rainbow.  Very good.

We ordered salmon cheeks but they were out.  Instead, they brought yellowtail cheek.  The consistency is similar to hamachi kama, yellowtail collar.  It was really delicate and flaked off in soft pieces.

The sauce was a ponzu sauce.  I could just drink it by the glass.  Try these cheeks, you won’t regret it.

Finally, for dessert, my miso soup arrived.

I would not order it again, it had a strange fish smell and taste to it that I did not appreciate.

When the bill arrived, Bubby noticed that they did not fry my sweet shrimp head.  I love my sweet shrimp head!  But by the time we realized this, I was too full to remind them to bring my head.

Damn it.  I shall not forget next time.  I shall not.

Sushi Murasaki had its ups (fatty toro, yellowtail belly, yellowtail cheeks, chawanmushi, agedashi tofu broth) and downs (kumamoto oyster, miso soup, spicy scallop handroll, no fried shrimp head).  The ups outweighed the downs, and for that, I’ll give 4 claps.

Coming soon: I’m giving 2 restaurants a perfect 5 slow clap rating.  Stay tuned.

Sushi Murasaki
2901 W MacArthur Blvd, Suite 108
Santa Ana, CA