Ever notice that special dish or two on your favorite non-Asian restaurant’s menu that you can’t quite order at a straight ahead, traditional Asian joint? “Asian Persuasion” is a once-in-a-while segment highlighting those chefs and restaurants that don’t specialize in Asian cuisine but occasionally dabble in cooking influenced by Far Eastern foods. But please don’t say fusion. Oh, no. Instead, let’s call it an Asian Persuasion. Doesn’t that sit better on the palate? Plus it rhymes.
Nobu set the standard for black cod with miso. It’s a slightly sweet, gentle fish preparation that marries two opposing forces: the lightness of a white fish with the umamified kick of miso. But over in Manhattan Beach, there’s nothing gentle about chef David LeFevre’s black cod preparation at his newest restaurant, Fishing With Dynamite.
LeFevre’s interpretation of the dish starts out faithful to the traditional Japanese version with a white miso, mirin, sake, and sugar marinade. But that’s where the similarities end. The sauce becomes hearty when meaty, red adzuki beans are added. A silky Japanese eggplant, roasted, brings an almost caramel sweetness to the plate. Cubes of earthy and tart daikon continue the layering of flavors and brawny textures. Completing the cod are Thai basil leaves and sweet-sour pickled ginger.
The black cod itself is as buttery as a fish can get without Paula Deen getting her mitts on it. And as a whole, Fishing With Dynamite’s black miso cod marries the robust and the subtle like a champ, making this very well-balanced seafood fare with Asian flare.