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Member Since 29 Mar 2006
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#1144304 Paris Bistros, Restos

Posted by Chambolle on 31 May 2011 - 01:04 AM

Spring is low-60s, I believe. With matching wines, 120. My matching wines were just fine, not special. No Vincent Dancer! A COS white. a COS red. Hey, are we in France or Italy? Pretty modest pours, in fact. It's an enjoyable place, but a bit over-hyped in my view. No bargain either for what it is.

I would go to Saturne for lunch if you are looking for a lunch option. Just eliminate from you mind that it's anywhere close to a 2-star Michelin. Think hopefully-good modern bistro and you'll probably have a good experience. You'll probably enjoy the wine list, too.

#819289 Sashimi - Korean Style

Posted by Chambolle on 23 July 2007 - 05:16 AM

So I was Tsukushing with a cute Korean, going so far as to allow her to be shochu-ing from my private bottle.

And during this homey little affair, the cute Korean smiled and told me something that got me really excited. “Chambo, you do know of course that Korean sashimi and Japanese sashimi taste totally different, don’t you?” (I state for the record and my dining dignity that this exchange did not occur over any Tsukushi sashimi because I specifically requested that I do not want any of their mediocre raw fish and I wanted an alternate cooked dish instead.) Sensing the beginnings of a raw and raunchy post, I pursued her fishy flirtation. How so, my dear? I would love to learn everything there is about eating Korean sashimi.

Unfortunately, she was a sweet and shy one for she didn’t seem to take the bait. As best as I could tell, she immediately changed the subject towards fruits and vegetables. Pineapple this, cucumber that and before long, I was totally and thoroughly confused. Until, of course, Inspector Chambo made extra efforts to understand the words that were coming from her soft, sweet lips. And those extra efforts were fully rewarded, the additional research turned out to be a work of pure pleasure and I will now share with you all the juicy, gory details as best I remember them.

Koreans eat their sashimi totally, completely fresh. Alive even.

Japanese, in general, do not. Japanese sashimi is usually “aged” for a bit.

This aspect yields to a considerable taste difference.

In Korea, most sashimi restaurants have tanks of live fish and you choose the specimen that you most prefer. Maybe that frisky 4-pounder over there and the guys that you pointed towards will be immediately prepared for you. Depending on the number of people in your party, maybe you’ll choose 2 fish. What I found quite interesting, is that very experienced Korean sashimi chefs have such delicate slicing skills that they can cut into the live fish, prepare it for you and serve it up, when all while the fish is still alive, mouth still movin’, even its tail a wigglin’ as you help yourself to those fine fresh morsels with your chopsticks.

Even octopus is served live in these Korean restaurants.

Of course, after your chosen fish was pulled from that live tank and carted away to be carefully carved up, you will have some time on your hands. Hence, what to do in the meantime? Well, that brings us back to those fruits and veggies that originally had me so confused.

In fact, at Korean sashimi joints, I am led to believe that it is quite common to start with various small dish appetizers, often free. Common offerings would include small sashimi plates of sea cucumber innards and Meongge aka sea pineapple innards (served Japanese style, not the Korean kimchi style described within the link). Another typical, free side dish would be Turban Shell, usually in the shell, sometimes not.

A couple of lovely quotes to wet your appetite.

Sea Cucumbers

Sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in Far East countries such as Malaysia, Singapore,China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. It is also highly valued for its supposed medicinal properties.

Sea Pineapples

Sea pineapples are known for both their peculiar appearance, described by journalist Nick Tosches as "something that could exist only in a purely hallucinatory eco-system" and their peculiar taste, described as "something like iodine" and "rubber dipped in ammonia." However, aficionados claim that the taste is well suited to serving with sake. The flavor has been attributed to an unsaturated alcohol called cynthiaol, which is present in minute quantities.

Once done with those small dishes, your fully intact, pre-sliced, yet still alive fish arrives on the table and you proceed to eat the possibly floundering, possibly smooching live sashimi. Maybe even wrapping the sashimi in lettuce or that special-smelling Kkaennip (Korean translation: Kkae = sesame, Nip = leaf) aka Korean Perilla. For the Perilla-obsessed, here are some additional details.

Korean-style sashimi, which you wrap in a lettuce leaf with raw garlic, sliced chiles and bean paste, is a revelation. The chefs are fond of converting live fish from the tanks into a meal’s worth of demonstrably fresh sashimi. Raw squid, luxuriously creamy, with a small bit of crunch at the center, only tastes alive. Although almost alarmingly so.

Think you’re done after consuming all that sashimi? Not quite yet, my friend.

The fish carcass is whisked away and they then cook it up their own special way. And then out comes a delicious Maeuntang (Korean translation: Maeun = spicy, Tang = stew / soup)

This soup is one of Korea's most popular dishes while drinking soju. If ordered with sushi or sashimi at a restaurant, the soup is often then made from the leftover parts of the fish.

And there you go. Korean sashimi 101, or at least as it was relayed to me.