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4.331 Special Nigiri Sushi Set

-Cycle 4, Item 331-
2 (Mon) December 2013

-Japanese-
Special Nigiri Sushi Set

3.5

at Tuna Momotori Sushi

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Dominic

Momotori is a Japanese restaurant. Specializes in sashimi/sushi.  The latest addition to the ever-growing Oksu dining scene.  Just a few tiny tables plus an itty bitty bar, seating capacity of maybe a dozen customers packed in.  Mid-range, prices from 15,000 to 40,000 won, such as the "special ("teuk")(특)" nigiri sushi at 23,000 won for 15 assorted pieces.

On this third attempt, I finally got a table.

With our apartment complex looming in the background, this is the closest restaurant to home that I've eaten at.

The initial plan had been to eat at the place next door, even closer to home, but unforeseen circumstances forced us to go another way.

Not really a tuna joint, despite what the English on the signage would suggest; the Japanese and Korean don't mention tuna.

The nigiri sushi was largely hit, slightly amiss.  As shown in the featured photo above, the special set comprised (we seemed to have scored an extra piece) (clockwise from bottom left): 3 sake, 2 torched/broiled sake (whatever that's actually called), 4 engawa, 2 toro, 4 hirame, 1 piece ama ebi.  The pieces were cut extra thick, at least double in size--"traditional-style," the manager explained--making the platter a decent value.  However, each piece was  so big that, when taken in a single bite--the only proper way to eat nigiri sushi--it was quite literally a mouthful but not a very pleasant mouthfeel.  Particularly the hirame, which is inherently chewy and thus "traditionally" sliced thin.  And being so big, the fish totally overwhelmed the rice, negating the whole point of sushi, as opposed to sashimi.  That said, the quality of the fish was excellent: briny/sweet in taste, juicy/succulent in texture, and of course irreproachably fresh.  So, when cut into smaller pieces and eaten as sashimi, I couldn't complain.  While I liked the torched/broiled sake, Dominic absolutely loved the engawa.  We'll definitely be back for more.

For a complimentary appetizer, deep-fried anchovy (2.0).

A newfangled 10-year-old soju from Jinro, similar to Hwayo (see generally 4.006 Broiled Jaban Godeungeo), but maybe better?--a blind taste test is in order.

Overall, the food was great.  In addition to the nigiri, we also ordered uni sushi, which was served deconstructed without laver wraps in individual mini-bowls.  While the uni did stand out, I kinda missed the laver.  Dominic's been wanting to try uni ever since watching Monsters University, which features "stinging glow urchins."  Next, perhaps because of my camera--the chef half-jokingly said, while I was crouching to tabletop level for a good angle on the soju, that I was making him nervous--in Korea these days, restaurants are painfully conscious of the influence that internet reviews can have on business, especially from food bloggers--we were also provided with a complimentary plate of deep-fried fish in sesame sauce.  I wouldn't mind paying money for it.  Good eats all around.

uni nigiri sushi (3.0)
--good but way overpriced at 9,000 won.

deep-fried fish in sesame sauce (3.0)
--not much fish per se, but the crispy coating was quite excellent, more English fish & chips than Japanese tempura.  

6 comments:

  1. yum. this looks great. there's one place where i can get hwaro in LA, and it's not sold in any stores. would love to try the ilpum jinro sometime though i've never seen it anywhere here.

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  2. one place = one restaurant. not too crazy pricey though - i think the 25% hwaro was about $18.

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  3. 25 Hwaro here goes for about 25,000 i think.

    so scandalous how korean things are cheaper abroad (ie in US) than here. that's been the latest thing in newspapers these days, comparisons of various product prices. generally, korea tends to be about 40% more expensive. sellers/importers claim that it's the higher taxes, but the articles suggest that, in many cases, the margins are also higher, simply because koreans are willing or even want to pay more for so-called premium products. pisses me off.

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  4. hwaro = hwayo. anyway, i went to that restaurant specifically to have hwayo with some of my friends and they were out of hwayo 23. if they had it, it would be $17. hwayo 17 was $16 and hwayo 41 was $23.

    i read that koreans were complaining about the black friday sales of samsung and other korean electronics but many of those are doorbusters/loss-leaders just for those few hours. as for the soju, well believe me i don't enjoy paying $4 per bottle at the grocery store for my chamisul ($1.50 in Korea) or $12 per bottle for the same in restaurants (maybe $4 per bottle in korea). so if we happen to get hwayo at one single restaurant in all of western US (word has it that there's one place in NYC that also sells it) for a few bucks less, you all should stop whining about that.

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  5. i shall never stop whining. about anything.

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  6. come to think of it, though, i'm surprised that hwayo is so unavailable there. not that it's the hugest thing here--i know many people who've never even heard of it--but it's pretty common at mid-to-upper level pub-like establishments, and serious drinkers do like it, or at least have all tried it, so it seems like something that many folks in LA would want.

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