A PLACE IN MIRACLE MILE FOR ASIAN FUSION DELIGHTS
I have to admit that I am a big fan of Asian fusion cuisine, however, I am also a bit of a purist when it comes to my sushi fare. I used to be all about the tempura rolls and eclectic sushi dishes but now I’m more of a “simple is better” sushi lover, especially after visiting Tokyo where simple sushi is among the best sushi I’ve ever had. So when I dined at Slow Fish in Miracle Mile, where the eats are delicious and somewhat daring, I was slightly conflicted.
Founded by Korean entrepreneur John Lee, he and Executive Chef Sean An, friends since they were teenagers, have created a menu that features unique Asian fusion cuisine with a California twist “to take advantage of the astonishing array of fresh produce and fish available in Los Angeles,” explained Lee.
Chef Sean notes that Korea is the “Italy of Asia” since it is also a peninsula rich in fish, seafood and an abundance of fresh produce and it is reflected in An’s healthy, artistic Pan-Asian dishes with Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian and American touches.
With restaurants in Huntington Beach and Miracle Mile, step into the Mid-Wilshire location and you’ll be taken by its art deco flare. The high-ceiling interior with crystal chandeliers offers a comfortable if not sophisticated setting.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with a nice bottle of Junmai Daiginjo sake, which just paired perfectly with the fine fish dishes. In addition, there’s beer, wine and soju cocktails available. The soju drinks work pretty well at lunchtime.
Our meal started with a traditional bow of miso soup, quickly followed by a fine crab and seaweed Salad. While I thought the salad’s tofu was bland and unnecessary, the crab was tasty and the salad itself was just wonderful.
Up next, just because, we had to order The Famous Fat Avo appetizer, a favorite dish made with whole avocado “apple” filled with seared and seasoned albacore. This is one of those novelty fusion dishes that sounds cute but is well executed and really works. Consider this a must-have starter item.
Another popular fusion menu item is the Jalatuna made with fried jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese and spicy tuna. I loved the heat and thought it was good despite the cream cheese. At this point as a sushi fan, I’m not crazy about jalapeño as spice nor do I really want cream cheese with my sushi. I feel I just know better despite calling this a “fusion” creation. But that’s just the sushi purist in me.
If you crave even more fusion, there’s the Tuna Tostada, which is a fried wonton wrap with tuna, green onion and masago on top. Consider this one a tasty treat as was the Eclipse Shrimp—a shrimp and cream cheese combination wrapped in a fried wonton paper moon with onion sprouts.
If you’re not game for so much fusion and you want to just keep things nice and simple, the sashimi is first rate. Fresh, clean and succulent, the sashimi, whether we’re talking seared ahi, Hanabi Hamachi (yellowtail), or the slightly less traditional salmon with mango, are all terrific options, as is the sushi combo, which features tuna, salmon, albacore and Hamachi. You won’t be disappointed.
Bigger plates include the Miso Cream Sea Bass—Chilean sea bass sautéed with miso-shitake cream sauce. I’m a huge fan of Chilean sea bass (it’s an absolute favorite) but I thought the creaminess took away from the fine fish flavor. It was good and would probably be better with less cream and nice glass of paired sake.
Meat eaters may want to opt for the Kalbi—extra thick sliced Korean style marinated BBQ short ribs—or the Sizzling Bulgoki—Korean style marinated sweet and spicy pork. And try the house special black rice. It’s a real treat.
And it is worth noting that Slow Fish has a fine lunch offering, including stellar and affordable Bento boxed meals with your choice of grilled chicken, bulgoki, dancing pork or grilled salmon with two different gyoza, spicy tuna or California rolls, or sashimi, served with a fresh salad.
And now the Slow Fish brand has expanded with the opening of Slow Fish Izakaya in West Hollywood, located at 8267 Santa Monica Blvd., just west of Crescent Heights.
At Slow Fish, the fare the is bold yet pleasing. Whether you’re a foodie or just want nice traditional sushi, there is something very special going on there.
Slow Fish is located at 5404 Wilshire Blvd. Open Mon-Thurs 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 10:30pm; Friday 1:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 11:30pm; Saturday 5pm to 11:30pm; and Sunday 5pm to 10pm. Call 323-930-0170.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: Slow Fish