My father-in-law loves oysters. He has an all out love affair with these sweet briny morsels on the half shell. So for father’s day this year, I was determined to find a new oyster bar he would adore. I found it at EMC Seafood in Koreatown.
I did some sleuthing on the internet to come up with the top rated oyster bars in Los Angeles. I was happy to find I had options. The reviews for each place had their pros and cons, but EMC Seafood kept coming out on top for fresh, high quality oysters. They have other locations in Irvine and Woodland Hills. But, the best reviews were for the Koreatown restaurant. I loved this place. The ambiance is trendy yet casual and the staff is very friendly.
After passing by the gorgeous raw bar featuring oysters, clams and crab legs the length of my arm we were seated. Immediately we ordered drinks and oysters to start. Our server asked about our oyster preferences and made recommendations.
Our selections included Kumamoto from Humbolt Bay, CA. Kusshi from Vancouver Island, Canada and Shigoku from Sammish Bay, WA. All of these were on the small to medium size and had varying flavors. The Shigokus were sweet, while the Kumamotos had a mild briny taste. All of them were delicious.
I like oysters, but I don’t love them. I usually have one or two but that’s about all I can handle. It’s a texture thing. Even with these being top quality I needed something else. The albacore sashimi with crispy garlic and ponzu sauce was delicate and melted in my mouth. The tuna tartare sat on a bed of avocados and was topped with a quail egg. When you poured the yolk on to the tuna it gave it a sumptuous mouth feel. I was beginning to think that I could eat here every day.
The cocktail list had some very interesting and unique beverages. I especially loved their Mother of Pearl martini featuring vodka and an apricot liquor. If you are into sake. You should definitely try the sake flight. You get three generous pours of sake. One of which is unfiltered. Sake and oysters are definitely a great pairing.
Even my mother-in-law who is not the biggest seafood fan found things to love about EMC. The zucchini fries with yogurt ranch dipping sauce were crispy and not at all greasy. The garlic noodles and chinese broccoli were a hearty compliment to all the light fish dishes. After vacillating between the clam chowder and seafood stew, my father-in-law took our server’s advice and ordered the stew. After stealing a sip, we decided he made the right choice! Large pieces of clams, mussels, shrimp, potatoes, & celery swimming in spicy tomato broth. My mouth is literally watering as I type this and remember the deep flavors of that broth.
By this point we were all fairly full. All the items are served family style and we gorged ourselves silly. Still there were so many things I wanted to try. I grew up in Long Island eating steamed mussels with garlic butter every summer, so I know I have to come back and try their lemongrass variation. The uni pasta with fish roe was calling my name. Plus, crispy smelt, octopus carpaccio and king crab legs? Yes please!
EMC also has terrific Happy Hour deals. Special prices on house wine and draft beers. One dollar oysters from 4-7pm or $1.50 for late night happy hour 10pm to close. The oysters are chef’s choice, but after tasting a variety of their selections, I think I would be happy with any of them.
I knew I did right by my dad when he left the restaurant smiling and planning our next visit. I was glad to give him such a great father’s day gift. Actually it was a gift for all of us, and I know I will be back without using the next holiday as an excuse.