Friday, September 02, 2005

Dish O' The Week: Haru Ulala's Conch Sashimi

Short of giving you the shell, (which I'm sure they might if you really wanted it), the folks at
Haru Ulala don't mess around when it comes to not wasting any part of the animal. The other night, I got an order of their conch sashimi, an item that I'd been dying to try after seeing the owner, a sweet older Japanese lady, crack 'em open time after time with such great skill.

Apparently, there are two sizes available, because after I had put my order in with the waitress, the owner called out to us, holding up two different sized conch up. "Which one?" she asked. She tooked the smaller of the two, gave it a couple swift whacks and began slicing away. A few seconds later, they brought us the thinly sliced conch meat neatly arranged atop a bed of ice. I gave it a few squirts of lemon, a few swishes in my soy sauce, and took the first bite. I expected it to be more rubbery, but it was actually quite tender but with a crunchy bite. Suddenly, our waitress came back to the table with a small plate of something grilled. "Wait," I thought, "I never ordered anything else..." She must've gotten a glimpse of a puzzled look from me because she pointed to the dish and then said "For conch sashimi." Allright.

I picked one of the grilled pieces up and popped it in my mouth. "Oh! They're grilled conch innards!," I squealed. We only got a few pieces, but each bit, crisp around the edges and with a slight liver-y texture, was packed with such a wonderful smoky briny flavor that I could hardly contain myself. How's that for not wasting?

Spying on the table next to us, Haru Ulala apparently also "wastes not" with their ama ebi, or sweet shrimp. Glistening raw shrimp meat were brought to our neighbors, followed almost immediately by a plate of nicely charred shrimp heads that had just been grilled up on Haru Ulala's robata grill. Too bad I was already full, I'd have ordered those too. Til next time, I can always look at the fried ones that Elmomonster from
Monster Munching ordered on a similar dining experience in his neck of the woods. Why, he even sang us a nice little song about shrimp heads! In the spirit of seafood parts not wasted, I will follow Elmo's lead and sing you my version:

Conch guts, conch guts,
Rolly polly conch guts,
Conch guts, conch guts,
Eat them up,

Izakaya Haru Ulala (yes, I know I write about them alot--just GO already!)
368 E. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 620-0977


Doran said...

Did you happen to watch Globe Trekker last night? In one bit the host was on a boat with conch fishermen, who would bring up live conch and do 'em up right there on the boat. Mmmm, I've never had conch, but it sure looked good.

Now, thanks to you, I don't have to travel to some Caribbean isle to satisfy my newfound craving. Hmmm, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Kirk said...

Pam - OK, OK, we'll go the innards were not bitter?

elmomonster said...


LOL! Thanks for the little diddy on conch guts! Cracked me up!

OK, that's it...Haru Ulala is number one on my list of reasons to drive to L.A. Look out people! That's me driving!

Daily Gluttony said...


No, I didn't watch Globe Trekker, but man, if they serve it right on the boat, that must make for some mighty fine eats!


The innards were good bitter, not bad bitter, if that makes any sense. Like you know the slight bitter, salty and smooth goodness that comes from crab innards, shrimp innards, or monkfish liver? That's what this was.


I knew you'd get a kick out of this! Just don't run me over if you drive down this way.

MEalCentric said...

Yes, you read my mind, you do write about haru ulala alot. Damn, why does it have to be so far away? Maybe I can get Elmonster to carpool with me so we can save gas $$ and buy more food. (light bulb goes off!)

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