By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Black cod, simmered in a garlic sauce that's billed as sweet and spicy but leans more savory, has barely decipherable spice and a ghostly layer of sweetness that lets the natural fish juices dominate. Topped with shreds of crisp fried scallion, the fish rests on thick slices of mushy, boiled daikon radish, adding a terrestrial muskiness to the fillet.
Tucked in back just off the "hip lounge" is a curvaceous sushi bar finished in black granite. It's sleek and beautiful, just like the stuff that comes from behind it. Sushi frequently encroaches upon Korean restaurants, perhaps on account of its similarity to kim-bap, that Korean bite of rice and other ingredients (beef and vegetables sans the raw fish) rolled in seaweed. Long sheets of bluefin tuna shroud the perfectly formed rice billet in deep purple-red. Vertical segments with seams cutting across the length of the meat were so loose that gravity pulled the segments apart. The tuna very nearly disintegrated as it hit the tongue. Horizontal segments marked the strips of yellowtail, which were as tender and rich as the bluefin tuna. Tobiko (orange flying fish roe) was perhaps the best example of the genre stumbled upon in recent memory. Resting on the plate, the pieces looked like wide eyes painted for burlesque. Bright orange ovals were punctured with little beady dots of black tobiko in the center while five sharp, thin cucumber fins fanned out from the corner. In the mouth they opened like a rich, pungent sea breeze, the kind that can burn nostrils with its salty mist.
Other Japanese installments didn't work as well. Miso soup was inconsistent: tepid on one visit, rich with frothy clouds of soy on another. Chicken teriyaki bento box had a compartment stuffed with dry chicken.
But this food doesn't need hip. What it needs--if it needs anything--is creative ambience and framing that bubble up organically, both from the food and from its Plano geography. Or perhaps a unique cultural introduction. I mean, what's hip in Seoul?
7161 Bishop Road, Plano, 972-943-9288. Open 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$-$$$