Gogobot members were in for a treat this past week for our COD tasting event. COD - "Catch of the Day" Seafood Restaurant, located on busy 3rd Street in Mid City, is currently in their soft open and will be officially open in a few weeks, but a few of us lucky Gogobotters got to have a tasting here of their most popular dishes.
The space is beautiful, with exposed beams, track lighting, sleek modern atmosphere and striking graphic fish artwork - after all, their focus is on seafood!
The Catch of the Day is displayed on ice, like at fresh fish markets, in front of the kitchen, in full view of the dining room. Can't get any fresher than this, everything smelled of the ocean. Really cool that they are so confident in their product that they would display it for everyone to see.
Marcus, the owner of COD, who also happens to own the EMC and Wokano Restaurant chains around LA, was an extremely gracious host. He's not only an owner, he's an amazing chef - he's the one that creates the dishes served at these restaurants, and he teaches each kitchen how to execute his dishes.
After a few drinks at the bar, mixed by talented bartender Sydney, we all sat down and were treated to one of the best meals I've had in recent memory. Starting us off, we were presented with the following:
Each bite screamed freshness, the aji was very sweet and the punch of the ginger and ponzu were perfect accompaniments to this dish. A perfect bite and a great start to an outstanding meal. Our table mates all started exclaiming their delight at the presentation of our next dish -
Santa Barbara Uni - delicately placed on a leaf on top of its' own spiny shell, over crushed ice. Served with soy sauce and wasabi. The uni was so fresh, it needed nothing else, bursting with creamy, rich flavor.
Poke is the hot trend currently in LA, with poke shops popping up on every corner. COD's poke is elevated by their ingredients, with the use of bluefin tuna, mixed with avocado, cucumber, seaweed and topped with crispy garlic. The mixture of these top notch ingredients in this sauce made this a must order next time I'm here!
As EMC Seafood (I've dined both locations in K-town and in Topanga Canyon and I love them both!) is known for their happy hour oysters, it's no surprise that COD also has a beautiful oyster selection. Plump and sweet, the kushi oyster was my favorite, followed by shijoju and then fanny bay, but all of them were top notch. The skilled shucking of the oyster was noted, as not a bit of shell residue was slurped up in each briny bite.
A kale salad was up next, and was a welcome accompaniment to all the seafood dishes. Finely chopped kale was expertly paired with quinoa, pickled red onion, cranberries, goat cheese, almond slivers and tossed in a light vinaigrette. Light, with bright flavors, our side of the table finished this in record time.
The beautifully constructed crab toast was next, thoughtfully already cut into pieces for easy sharing. The fresh crab meat perched on top of the crusty grilled toast, with greens, grapefruit and pickled onion was delightful, I might have to say this is the evolution of the popular avocado toast that's popular around town at the moment, think next level California roll without the rice.
Our servers gave us a tip when they set this dish down - many of them pointed out that this was their favorite dish of the whole menu. But wait, this is a seafood place, I didn't expect this crispy pork belly to be as good as it was - but it was. Cubes of crispy glazed pork belly in a slightly sweet glaze, with jalepeno slices for the fire eaters (me!). I couldn't stop eating this dish. Make sure to order this when you go, I'd say this was a MUST order.
Next up, in a cute cast iron plate presentation, was their crispy spicy tuna bites. Can't resist these - two bite morsels of savory creamy tuna, with crisped rice adding that texture. A combo that always delivers.
The showstoppers of the night - whole fresh sea bream, flown in from New Zealand - with fresh ginger, green onion, and house made chimichurri. The whole fish presentation is another way COD shows off its' fresh seafood sourcing. The servers let us take a photo before de-boning them, letting us easily enjoy the whole fish without worrying about bones. The chimichurri was a nice twist on the traditional flavors of ginger and green onion, the burst of flavor from this sauce elevated each bite.
I've had my share of uni pasta in my day, but once this dish was put in front of us, I could not stop compulsively eating it. For one, this is TRUFFLED uni pasta. Well, add truffles to most things to add that umami punch, I'm game. Secondly, more of that addictive Santa Barbara Uni, can't get enough of it. Lastly, freshly made and in house cut pasta. This dish oozes of quality, and this is another must order dish when you come here.
This is the last of the savory dishes, and when I cut into it to split between my table mates, my fork SANK into the beef. No knife needed - this beef cheek was braised and seasoned expertly. They also managed to make quinoa so creamy, that I thought it was polenta. This was another surprise of the night, as it was not seafood, but was done so well that it would rival any dish at a high end steakhouse.
The first of the desserts - Okinawa, known for their purple yams, was the source for this sweet bite. The candied yam was surprisingly not too sweet, which is usually my concern for desserts in general. This had the perfect amount of sweetness and potato-y texture, and with the house whipped cream gave it an extra richness.
Chocolate bread pudding, was the final dessert and dish of the night. A perfect send off.
Here's a photo of the menu and what we had. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other dishes that we didn't try tonight.
And here's all of us, after the meal! The biggest thank you to Marcus and his great team at COD Seafood!
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