Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blah-gging: Partying with bad fish and warm sake

My friend Greg's recent visit back to Southern California (he's lived in London for some years now) triggered a fun flashback: we reminisced about our crazy party days, and the name "Daemon" came up.
Now I haven't been to this Sunset Beach spot in 20 years or so, but that's because this is not a place to eat good Japanese food; it's a place to party with sun worshippers and beer guzzlers.

Perhaps the food has changed over the years, but let me tell you what it was like in the old days:
Oaf-ish fraternity guys and peroxide-blonde bimbos sucking down warm sake like it's sophisticated, catching shrimp flung from the knives of Latino teppan chefs, who also stir fry chow mein noodles in butter and douse them with grated parmesan cheese from a can.

Yep, refined dining this isn't. And sushi isn't what you have in mind if you go there.

A couple of other so-called Japanese restaurants that have given Japanese cuisine a bad name:
  • Sushi Studio in Long Beach. Don't let all the 5-star reviews on Yelp fool you; you'll see an occasional thumbs-down review, by obvious RawFishionados, flashing like a beacon to us sushi-snob bretheren. No offense meant to the Thai chefs there, but as I've said before, I want Thai food from Thai chefs, not Japanese food from Thai chefs. The 5-star reviewers sound like college students who don't have much of a clue, proving this place is closer to Daemon than to Koi.

    One friend of mine loves this place ... but then, he's a white guy who's originally from Florida, schooled in Kentucky. So what would he know about sushi, right? Don't they eat squirrel out there?

  • Mosun in Laguna Beach. Another trendy nightlife place that pretends to know something about sushi. But the mushy, low-grade tuna is a dead giveaway. Recent Yelpers confirm this.

  • There's a new place in Orange County that threatens to join the "party sushi" list: Irezumi, which just opened up in Costa Mesa near South Coast Plaza. Early reports from my reliable Sushi Scouts indicate this will be more of a nightclub than a respectable sushi place, though the fish served up at the opening party looks pretty decent.
    But then, this was the opening party - only time will tell if quality of fish will be a consistent priority.

This reminds me of all that talk about the Japanese government wanting to implement a "sushi certification" program; when I first heard this, I was ready to organize a Sushi Enforcement Task Force right here in California.

Anyone ready to be recruited?

1 comment:

  1. Hello nice to meet you.
    KO-N-NI-CHI-WA (^_^)v
    I am Japanese.
    I saw your wonderful site.
    Please link to this site !