Fisherman’s House – Oxnard
Possibly one of the most deceptive restaurants in the area.
In the front: florescent glowing food court filled with blue collar types eating fish and chips and looking a little unhappy at their state in life.
In the back: secret tatami room with Korean style sashimi to make you explode in delight!!
That’s what all those fish tanks are for. You tell the counter the number of diners then head out the back to tatami room – which has a great view of the harbor, too – and while they ply you with a little plate of fried fish, onions and veggie, plus assorted kimchee and more fresh vegetables, they are scooping your squirmy fish out of the tanks and slicing it up for a platter of sashimi so vast you really have no hope of eating it all.
If you’ve ever felt the tingling joy of finally being invited into the home of a friend’s grandmother for a meal of whatever “old country” she’s from, that’s the feeling you get sitting in that back room, eating off of styrofoam plates and sipping iced tea from paper cups. Uber-fancy sushi bar this is not. Warm fuzzy “i’m so happy” at the dinner table this is.
The fish is currently California Sheepshead, locally caught, probably from around the Channel Islands. A group of 2 or 3 will get your a medium sized fish. A group of 6+ will get you a whopping great huge fish that eyes you up in the tank that you almost have to whisper, “aaaah, see you soon,” because if your side of the tank wasn’t wielding the knife, you’d be in big trouble.
In addition to the massive plate o’ raw sheepshead, you get a little plate of sea cucumber. It is not to everyone’s liking, especially if you weren’t already accustomed to it. Very chewy.
We ate about half the fish, feeling exhausted. “Ready for soup?” Oh damn, forgot about part two. Everything else that wasn’t part of the sashimi has gone into a kimchee fish soup. You can choose if you want it mild, or regular. Mild is very spicy, btw. Regular is not for the uninitiated. It comes with rice and more kimchee.
Leftovers are wrapped up expertly, with more containers of goodies to relive the whole experience. They packed up our sashimi with the daikon and a bag of ice to keep things cool until we got home. Kept properly chilled the raw fish is good for about 24 hours. After that, best to fry it up for a whole new meal. My leftovers fed four people the following day for lunch.
Price? About $25/head. Plus drinks, tax and tip. We tipped big.
If you’re white, this is gonna make you sweat. It’s a culinary workout.