The full name of this restaurant is actually EMC Seafood and Raw Bar. It’s nestled in Koreatown close to 6th St. and Normandie. It’s on many new LA food lists, so let’s see what the hype is all about (other than the $1 happy hour oysters 4-7 PM).
This is #17 of 52 on my 2014 LA food expedition.
Parking is a breeze. Enter on 6th and Mariposa, and you will see a small entrance into a parking structure underground across from a strip mall. The restaurant validates your ticket for 2 hours for free parking. Because I went here with another friend, it was relatively easy to find seating for two. I was interested in watching the Kings/Sharks final series playoff game, so we sat at the bar which really wasn’t too packed.
1/2 Dozen Kumamoto Oysters. Served with Cocktail Sauce, Lime Jalapeño, & Horseradish. The Kumamotos were really small but deliciously sweet and fresh. When you enter the restaurant from 6th street, you can see there’s an oyster shucking line, so you know it’s serious business having fresh oysters.
Crispy Smelt. Lightly Battered, Garlic, Pepper, Salt. The batter used was pretty salty and overwhelmingly oily. The smelt on the other hand was pretty fresh. On first bite, I thought it was pretty good. It reminded me of the Chinese pepper salted fried pork chops. However, what I didn’t particularly like was every bite of the smelt laid a thick oil of saltiness in my mouth. The beer helped somewhat, but in the end it was a lose lose for me.
Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Ponzu. I’m a big fan of soft shell crab, so I was curious as to how this would taste like. They actually give you a very good size portion. Unfortunately, it was using the same salty batter as the crispy smelt. The ponzu sauce was completely overwhelmed by the batter which made it kind of pointless to even dip. I think next time I go here, I would only order 1 “fried” dish. Of the 2 fried dishes we ordered, they both used the same type of batter.
Mini Crab Roll. Served with Butter (Tarragon Butter & Sea Salt). I was not expecting the crab to be warm, but it was. So the consistency was a bit strange to me since I’m used to chilled crab rolls. Since the crab was mixed with some things, you couldn’t exactly taste it. The bread itself was charred somewhat so the first bite only had that charred flavor.
Mini Lobster Roll. Tarragon Butter, Sea Salt, Brioche Bun. This, in my opinion, was slightly better than the crab roll. There were some chunks of lobster, but in no way does it compete against outside LA lobster rolls or the upscale ones. Still, it’s a decently priced alternative if you really must have one.
Of course we didn’t try a lot of things, but I can see us coming back here again on a random weekday if we’re in the mood for seafood. I’m not particularly crazy about the batter they used in the fried batter. I’ve seen some people order whole fishes charbroiled or whole lobsters steamed, so I might opt for that next time. It may not be the best tasting and freshest, but it’s all very accessible. It’s something that LA unfortunately is not known for, so EMC Seafood might be a good start to get some decently priced seafood joints going in the area.
Visit: EMC Seafood and Raw Bar, Koreatown, LA
#17 of 52 2014 LA food expedition