O.M.G. It's C.O.D.—A Fresh Seafood (with an Asian Touch) Restaurant Haven. Los Angeles, CA.
Some of seafood's greatest hits can be gotten at C.O.D. on 3rd Street in the heart of the Beverly Grove district. You might even feel like you're nearer to the Pacific Ocean rather than the Beverly Center. The seafood specialist's initials stand for catch of the day, and this isn't hyperbole. Facing the dining room, separating the kitchen from the clientele is a fresh seafood stand of your dreams. Shimmering seabream, not-so-shrimpy but humongous carabineros shrimp, live uni, and enough premium oysters to satiate any ostreophile.
If you're an avid restaurant diner, you may find some of C.O.D.'s menu familiar, and, even the name of the restaurant itself may ring a bell. It so happens your instincts are correct. The proprietor of C.O.D. was involved with famous raw bar restaurant EMC a while back.
Oooh, yeah, uni!
I remember when I first began food blogging (*cough* 2004 *cough*), uni or sea urchin wasn't really too well known by the general restaurant going public. Today, it's a mark of luxury like freshly shaved truffle and fine caviar. Also, when it comes to uni, as far as I'm concerned, the fresher the better. You can not get any fresher than live. That's exactly how C.O.D. offers these tasty golden tranches of oceanic delights. Bonus: uni is supposedly an aphrodisiac. Shazam!
However, if you really, really want to eat uni right. Have a few of these tantalizing "tongues" on pasta. Oh my! Picture a pool of rich, creamy uni sauce swirling with a wide pasta, dotted by freshly shaved truffle and crowed with super fresh, probably still alive uni. It is life-changing. I still remember my first uni pasta. You never forget.
Shrimp fried nice
Anyone who doesn't love shrimp fried rice is a stupid head. Unless you have severe shellfish allergies like my daughter. Then you're not a stupid head. I am.
The point is C.O.D. woks up a wonderfully flavorful shrimp fried rice with all the requisite fried egg and green onion pieces. The bowl is enhanced by bits of bay scallops. I could eat this everyday of the week, for real.
Carabinero is the Spanish name for this gigantic prawn from the deep Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas. The name is Spanish for police and actually refers to the red color of a version of Spanish police uniforms. The vibrant red hue of the prawn remains even when cooked. The meat is remarkably fleshy and delicate in taste, however the real flavor bomb is in the head. Twist it off and suck out the innards for a heavy make-out session with the ocean. Or else, take it home for a nice shrimp stock.
The lobster was presented perfectly bisected. So considerate. I'm really bad with the lobster cracker and hammer. Now, a bib I could use. Chimichurri was a great choice as a sauce; the succulent lobster meat was an ideal vehicle for it while spicing things up just so.
Golden wangs of tastiness
C.O.D. isn't strictly a seafood restaurant, although the genre is the specialty of the place. But, of all things, the fried chicken wings at C.O.D. are some of the most habit-forming around town. An exceptionally golden brown, crispy skin conceals perfectly juicy, delicious dark meat. They are also intensified with some peppery heat. Grab a beer for these flappers.
No, seriously. I'm not just about meat anymore. I'm getting old. I gotta watch the animal protein intake. So when I come across a fantastic salad—one that doesn't feel like a chore when eating it—I am as happy as the clam I just ate. C.O.D.'s kale salad mixes pretty purple kale with blanched almonds, blue berries, cranberry, quinoa, shallot slices and blue cheese crumbles for a pungent punch, all tossed in a passion fruit, lychee vinaigrette. Good looking and good for you.
Catch of the day
Straight from the C.O.D. fish case to your plate.
I dream of seabream
Whole seabream is the fish of my sea dreams. (Too much?) It's so good though. The texture of the grilled fish was crispy and the flesh, delicate. Again, the accompanying chimichurri did wonders to the subtleness of the seabream, my favorite fish since I read the food manga Oishinbo.
Dracula's least favorite pasta
C.O.D.'s garlic noodles are right there with the famous ones at Crustacean in Beverly Hills. Since Crustacean is down for a major rebirth, the C.O.D. version will cure your jonesing for these garlicky, slurpy strands.
Squeeze these cheeks
My goodness, talk about tender as a baby's butt. These braised beef cheeks are that tender but better because you can bite them and chew them. Braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques. Why? Because of dishes like this beef cheek. Take a tough cut and patiently break it down by cooking it low and slow. If done right, the reward is moisty moist meat from your moistest dreams!
Oysters are just awesome. Unless, of course, you down a bad one, then it's not so great, really not so great. Anyway, the premium oysters available, ready-to-shuck at C.O.D. are the awesome ones. The selection varies by season and availability, so find out ahead if you're into certain varieties.
The oysters I had were Fat Bastards and Kusshi. Both were great with my Pinot Grigio. The Kusshis were clean and creamy while the Fat Bastards imparted a middling brininess and hints of cucumber.
My meal was washed down with a classy Manhattan like ocean waves lapping at my shore. No idea what that means.
See you at C.O.D.
8408 W. 3rd St.