You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Live Octopus

Live octopus (San Nakji) is a delicacy in Korea. They pull it out of the tank, humanely kill it, chop it up, and serve it with sesame oil and salt. I had it once in Incheon about 20 years ago, and finally got to have it again in LA. We went to Masan Restaurant, which I assume is named after the coastal city of Masan. Here's the video:

It's very tasty, but it's hard to pick up because the suckers stick to the dish. I had to use my chopsticks and my hands to encourage them to let go, then dip them in the sesame oil-salt mix, then pop them in your mouth. The texture is chewy and crunchy. They'll stick briefly to your mouth but come off easily. And they're very tasty to me.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Matsuhisa Sushi Los Angeles

(By Jim)

Sometimes a trip can be a fortunate accident. This happened to us on Monday. We were in LA for a work conference for me that would be happening on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we came out early to see LA and go to a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (BTW, look at the 12/9/2010 episode at the end of Lucy Liu's segment to see the backs of our heads.)

After seeing La Brea Tar Pits in the morning, we headed over to the Apple Pan for lunch. Unfortunately, after driving 30 minutes, we found it closed on Mondays. Bugger. OK, there were several sushi places we saw on the way back. So, we stop at a big one on La Cienega. And it's closed. And Barbara's getting anxious. Buggershitpisswee. But there's another place across the road that looks like sushi. Matsuhisa Sushi. OK, whatever, sounds Japanese.

I walked in, and realized that it wasn't any sushi place, it was Nobu Matsuhisa's sushi place. Damn, this will be expensive. But we get in, look at the menu, and find some things that were both a good value and incredibly tasty.

Nobu's well known for his black cod with miso sauce, but we were both in the mood for sushi, so we decided to both go with sushi-bar-style food. I know, but we were both addled.

Anyway, so we both got set meals. Barbara got the sushi plate, 8 pieces, a roll, and miso soup. I got the sashimi and tempura plate.

Miso soup

Sushi plate
(from top by line: tuna roll;
Tuna, yellowtail, salmon, squid;
halibut, mackerel, shrimp, egg omelet.)

Salad and mixed tempura (shrimp, pumpkin, onion, zucchini)

Tuna and halibut sashimi

My opinion? One, this was excellent. But to really experience the excellence of Nobu Matsuhisa, you need to order more exotic things, like the crab legs with a knob of crab meat, deep fried, that the ladies who lunch ordered next to us. They were talking about houses (For $8 Million, it's a Steal!!!) Ehh, whatever.

Also, you need to remember you're in LA. The menu is expensive. And cash is the great leveler. They don't care how you're dressed, as long as you have the cash. Barbara was worried about how she was dressed, and we might have ordered more had she been more comfortable.

Nobu was in the house, and came out to visit some of the diners, so we know he was present for quality control.

Finally, there are many places in LA with excellent sushi and cooked Japanese food. These places are usually called izakaya, and have small plates and drinks. We also visited Izakaya by Katsu-ya in Manhattan Beach and Japonica Dining in Redondo Beach. For the price, these two were better deals.

Bottom Line: Matsuhisa is excellent sushi, but you really need to get off the basic plates to get the real Matsushia experience. We'll go back, and we'll do that next time.

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