I’ll have to admit, Buena Park isn’t one of my usual eating destinations, but I am always game to try something new. Several weeks ago, I was invited, along with two other writers, to visit this restaurant serving both Japanese and Korean fare. The plaza it is situated in is busy! Extremely busy! I won’t lie, parking is a struggle and I am lucky to find one after circling around several times. Once inside, the restaurant is modern, chic and comfortable with beautiful wooden tables finishing off the decor.
Whole Grain Salad ($9) screams modern Korean fusion marrying black rice, Indian millet, lentil, kidney beans and Job’s tears (Chinese pearl barley) together. This is also the basis of multi-grained Korean rice you can purchase at the market. I love the nutty texture and its nutritional value, but most of all, when tossed together with the mesclun leaves, fresh mozzarella bits in a soy vinaigrette, it is a delicious vegetarian dish to share or enjoy on your own.
I absolutely adored Siraegi ($7), a rice bowl topped with dried radish greens, baby anchovies, masago and radish sprouts. Soy dashi (stock made from dried bonito shavings) seasons the radish greens, making this not only light, but refreshing. I love anchovies and radish greens so for me, even though this isn’t typically Chinese, I find it extremely comforting and satiating!
Jawanmushi ($4/$16) is a Japanese steamed egg custard which I often make at home. I usually make it plain, but at Dami, they make it the traditional way with shrimp, gingko nut and shiitake mushroom. The custard was just a tad too firm for me but the flavor of the dashi used was spot on.
A side dish we tried was Buta-Ka-Kuni ($6.50), braised pork belly, with bok choy and green onion. I didn’t care for the under-seasoned pork which also needed more color as well. It was beautifully presented, but was underwhelming.
One of my favorite items was Yoshi’s Owari Chicken Wings ($10) Perfectly deep fried chicken wings with Yoshi’s secret seasoning are so crispy on the outside, and so moist on the inside. I couldn’t stop eating these. There is nothing more pleasing than well-cooked chicken wings.
Because the restaurant had “izakaya” in its name, I insisted we try some yakitori. Asparagus Maki ($3), Enoki Mushroom Maki ($3), Quail Egg Maki ($4) and Chicken Gizzard ($2.75) were all stellar, especially the enoki wrapped inside slices of pork belly.
Chicken Wing ($3.75) skewers are also delicious, but then again, I love chicken wings and these possessed a nice smoky flavor. However, between this and the Yoshi’s Owari chicken wings, definitely choose the latter.
Cast Iron Rainbow Rice ($11) consists of assorted fish topped with tempura crunch and masago (flying fish roe) is grilled in an iron skillet and drizzled with a sweet unagi sauce. This isn’t a dish for me, but if you don’t care for raw fish, it is definitely for you.
I really enjoyed the low-carb Dami Special Roll ($13) which doesn’t involve any rice whatsoever. This crab roll sees tuna, salmon, albacore, crab meat and avocado wrapped with cucumber instead of rice and nori. So light and those on a low carb diet can enjoy as well.
For me, the piece de resistance of the meal was the Live Uni with Sushi Rice ($12), presented in the uni shell, layered with rice around the delectable uni (sea urchin), and topped with sesame oil, pickled radish and masago (capelin roe). Beautiful to look at, and like butter in my mouth.
If you’re indecisive, then Dami Seafood Box ($40 recommended for two) with eight dishes including assorted seafood and sushi is just the thing for you. If you are sharing, you will definitely need to order more food because I can easily polish this off all by myself. The chef will prepare your box with the freshest fish available so the variety of fish will change from day to day.
On the day of our visit, there was lobster available and this is the icing on the cake. Definitely order this if it is offered. Lobster Two Ways ($30) is presented as lobster sashimi, and then, the carcass is used to make a lobster stew that you can enjoy after you’ve eaten all your sushi and sashimi dishes. The raw lobster is sweet and filled with umami. I wish I didn’t have to share.
The lobster stew arrives in a pot that continues to simmer at the table and is so umami-filled I wish I had enough room to enjoy it over a bowl of rice. But I brought the rest home and loved eating every minute of it the following day. I loved the chrysanthemum leaves used to fragrance the broth already perfumed with the intoxication scent of lobster.
Dami is one of those places I can go with my son, and we’ll both be very happy. The food is good and the surroundings extremely pleasant.
This week I have two $50 gift certificates to Dami Sushi for two of you to WIN. Leave me a comment with why you would battle the parking situation to dine here. Entries close Sunday. Best of luck!
Dami Sushi & Izakaya
5151 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90621
Glen Fujimoto says
Hi Anita – the Siraegi looks light and refreshing, and those Yoshi’s Owari Chicken Wings look fantastic. Luckily, I have had plenty of parking practice at Diamond Jamboree 🙂
Alice L. says
I had to circle around 4 times just to get a parking spot for the bakery. But these photos look amazing and I haven’t had a chance to try Dami yet, so I would brave the craziness for this!
I love uni and that Live Uni Rice looks amazing. I’ve had similar elsewhere but they were a bit rice-happy so I want to see if there’s a good uni to rice ratio here. And that Seafood Box and Lobster Two Ways look lovely!
Thank you for hosting this giveaway 🙂
Eileen T says
I’ll drive and fight for parking just to try the Dami Seafood Box. It looks so good!
I think I could take down a few seafood boxes by myself. Also a good way to handle the parking is to take an Uber and take advantage of that liquor license. I think I just planned the perfect date.
Deb moretti says
I would battle the parking because of the awesomeness of the food. Wow! It all looks delicious and beautiful. I always park in the boonies anyways, so a little walk is how I roll. No pun intended. Tee hee!!
Lalita Malone says
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dami Sushi Izakaya and actually found your blog through their IG account. My folks live in HB and we live in Oceanside & I would travel all that way for good sushi and a date night. You pictures make the food look very enticing. Hoping to check out this spot next time we’re in the OC. Thanks for the giveaway, Anita, from a new fan.
Mad Hungry Woman says
congratulations, you are one of the winners!!
michelle t (@misskupokekisu) says
The seafood box is a neat idea and looks amazing!
Sean solomon says
I would brave the parking to try the lobster two ways..sounds yummy…
I would have my husband drop me off and worry about parking!!
John Olsen says
I dine in Tustin all the time. The parking can’t be worse here than the dozens of strip malls with too few spots for the businesses there.
HungryGirl Mills says
Because food tastes better when you have to work for it!
Tifney Holler says
I’ll take a cab!!!! But really, the fact that you “have to battle for parking” is all the more reason I can’t wait to go! Thanks for the opportunity 😛
Stephanie McQuown says
This restaurant looks amazing! I would battle the parking situation because Japanese food is my favorite food. Every year for my birthday my family would go to Toyko Lobby in San Gabriel.
Mad Hungry Woman says
congratulations you are one of the winners
Gilbert Mercado says
I’d Uber my wife & I there and back to avoid the parking nightmares – especially for such interesting food! Thank you for this opportunity!
Risa K. says
This looks like food my sister in law would love and she happens to be visiting from Taiwan right now. I’d love to take her.
Sammy Ho says
Anything for sushi!!!
I’d take on the battle for those chicken wings or at least make my husband take it on.
Yakitori for the hubs. Sushi for me. No compromise necessary = no need to spend thousands of dollars on marriage counseling. Parking lot’s a little crazy? I’d say it’s worth it.
I am Miichelle K says
I’ll fight the parking for the chicken wings and the lobster stew! i wanted to lick my screen!
I am Mi says
the lobster stew made me want to lick my screen! fighting parking for that alone would be so worth it!
That uni dish looks A-MAZING; I’d have to know if this could be another uni destination aside from Maruhide Uni Club. I’d probably park my car at my sister’s and ride my bike over, lol!
Diane @ The Episodic Eater says
I would brave the parking situation to try any of the food you shared with us, and besides I’m a Californian. I can deal with difficult parking!!
Dinah G says
The food looks gorgeous, and I bet it’s super tasty. That’s reason enough to battle parking!
The food looks yummy and I bet it’s super tasty. That’s reason enough to battle parking!
Pam G says
It can’t be tougher than parking at Diamond Jamboree on a fri or Saturday night! If you say it’s as good as it looks, I’ll risk it!
Dinah G says
I would battle any parking situation b/c this food looks super yummy. I bet it was a great foodie experience.