Though L.A. has undoubtedly always been a sushi destination, it seems to be having a bit of a seafood renaissance of late. With new favorites like Lost At Sea (review coming soon!) and standbys like Connie & Ted's, there's no shortage of creative preparations of our ocean-sourced proteins. But sometimes, it seems that really good seafood spots still fly a bit more under-the-radar than equally trendy sushi joints and carnivorous restaurants. Such is the case for C.O.D., a seafood restaurant and raw bar on the always-busy W. 3rd St; since opening in the summer of 2016, C.O.D has been quietly churning out really tasty Asian-inspired California cuisine in their simple but modern space.
They have a nice, open space, but leather booths and a wood and brick bar make it feel intimate and comfortable. With a full cocktail bar and raw bar, C.O.D is a lovely spot to pop in after work for a drink and light bites, but we definitely recommend staying for dinner. For our dinner, I opted for a glass of rosé, which was a nice crisp, acidic sip that paired well with pretty much everything on the menu.
Of course, we had to start out with a few choice selections from the raw bar, like the half-dozen oysters and the halibut carpaccio. The oysters, which were small but clean and flavorful, came with horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a yuzu soy sauce. Yuzu soy sauce was really the star here, and lent a really nice citrusy & acidic bite, as well as a certain richness. Halibut Carpaccio boasted the same citrus, acid component with a really satisfying yuzu koshu. The halibut itself was sliced thin, while the sea salt almost tasty a bit smoky. A really nice light but flavorful dish.
Another light starter was the Crab Toast; the toast itself was maybe a bit too charred, but the crab was nice. Creamy avocado and pops of sweet, citrus-y grapefruit definitely added some nice depth of flavor, as well as some nice textural elements. Pickled bell pepper and shallots were nice additions as well. Another fun dish to share.
A few other fun starters included the Shishito Peppers; though ubiquitous, these were done really well. The bonito flakes, soy glaze, and parmesan cheese all elevated these shishito peppers to the level of addicting, and satisfying snack food. The Seafood Fried Rice was similarly addicting, with bits of shrimp and crab that hit all the right notes. Warm and comforting, it had some sort of fish sauce or something else that added an impressive depth of flavor to such a classic dish.
A constant favorite of mine, Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice is pretty much my go-to at sushi joints across the city. C.O.D's version did not disappoint, with a creamy spicy tuna (that had just the right amount of spice), on crispy but still soft and sticky beds of rice. As usual, this was immensely satisfying.
Definitely the highlight of the meal, the Truffle Uni Pasta is one of C.O.D's signatures. I mean, what can be bad about truffles, uni, and pasta? Well, in this case, nothing. The restaurant is incredibly generous in the portions of truffle and uni, so you're definitely getting your money's worth, while the pasta is silky and cooked really nicely. The briney, fishiness of the uni elegantly cuts through the richness of the truffle, but still adds a depth of flavor and richness of its own. All together, the pasta is incredibly creamy, decadent, and so delicious. YUM.
Another winner was definitely the Octopus; as I've mentioned before, well-cooked octopus is one of my barometers for measuring how restaurants treat their seafood, and C.O.D. did it very well. Tender on the inside with a bit of light crispiness on the outside, the Octopus was really nicely seasoned and came with crispy bacon, pickled scallions, and ginger kidney beans, which added a nice complexity to the dish without overwhelming it with too many flavors. They could've honestly served just the octopus with the bacon, sauce, and pickled shallots, and it still would've been successful. A good example of a dish that is interesting, flavorful, but still satisfying on many levels.
Finally, we ended our meal with their fish of the day, which was a full Sea Bream. Crispy skin on the outside was covered in leeks, while the tender meat inside was light and cooked nicely. A little spritz of lemon was all that it needed-- a great dish for splitting when you want something light, fresh, but still filling.
Overall, I was really impressed by our meal at C.O.D., especially since I honestly hadn't heard a whole lot about the restaurant going in. Maybe that was part of the draw-- there was no insane hype for it to live up to. Just a nice, modern, but low-key restaurant churning out tasty seafood to locals and W. 3rd visitors alike. Their selection is sure to satisfy seafood lovers and skeptics alike, while foodies can rejoice in the truffle uni pasta and perfectly prepared octopus.