It was a terrific dining adventure. I've been to Korean restaurants and I've been to Japanese restaurants but none quite like this.
Pa Do Whae House is on Crocheron, a few steps off Northern Boulevard and 162nd Street. Its big, 3-by-24-foot, white sign was hung out six years ago. If I cue you in that the name loosely translates to "ocean waves," you can easily guess that it's a Korean/Japanese seafood restaurant. And right you are.
The adventure began at 6:55 when we looked hesitantly into the blond wooden-walled, blond wooden-tabled interior. A peek-a-boo divider split the restaurant lengthwise. Eight cooks (four of them sushi makers) and about the same number of servers were at the rear, poised to go. Not a diner was seated. We were ushered, with smiles all around, to our table. It offered a great view of the activity at the sushi station where a gigantic electric rice cooker sat on the floor. It is here that the servers came back with individual bowls in hand to scoop out the rice.
Immediately on arrival, two small dishes of rice soup with snippets of dark seaweed afloat were set before us. Amber drinking glasses came next, which turned out to be green tea but could be mistaken to be hot water - the glasses are amber and the tea is green and so practically colorless and ever so mild-flavored.
Now, in typical Korean fashion, tiny bowls, "skidashi," were arranged on the table: Long shreds of daikon, the black on the outside, white on the inside, foot-long, 2-inch-wide Japanese radish. Mushrooms and broccoli. Mushrooms and onions. A mild kimchi. At 7 p.m., the invasion of diners began to fill up every table on both sides of the lattice-topped divider.
For something to drink, Korean rice wine and hot saki were offered.
Edibles kept arriving and we were having fun keeping up: watching diners arrive, sipping rice wine and saki, tracking the rice being scooped from the electric cooker, watching platters of sushi and sashimi being prepared and items being handed by the cooks in white from behind to the servers scurrying to and pro.
We ordered appetizers, sushi with salmon wrapped up in seaweed and salmon skins in seaweed. The salmon skin, new to us, was a hit. I loved the chewiness. Flying fish roe, another sushi euphonistically named, was brought and there was just one. The fish roe was salmon-colored but merely the size of the head of a pin bundled in seaweed with a flying fish decor, I found it delectable - an entirely new texture on the tongue.
Our broiled eel over rice in teriyaki sauce with thin slices of ginger was artistically cut. It came in slim, half-inch wide strips with the ends cut on an angle. It was delicate-looking and the teriyaki sauce gave it a touch of sweetness, a delightful contrast. If you ever were tempted to try eel, this is the time and place to do it.
Seafood casseroles and hot pots are featured and we considered one but finally ordered don - stir-fried noodles with shrimp and assorted vegetables.
Every table seemed inundated with assorted small dishes including whole deep-fried whiting and huge sushi and sashimi platters which were particularly spectacular. Each oval platter featured a mountain of rice topped with assorted tidbits of raw fish of assorted colors. At each end of the platter were dramatic sails of wooden paper imported from Korea. Casseroles resembling sukiyaki were cooked at one table on a portable burner.
At dessert time, tiny bowls of lightly sweetened, translucent, milky white soup were served. There were hard candies at the door, which brought us back to Flushing and the finale to a dining adventure in Korea/Japan.
Note: At lunchtime, sashimi, sushi and vegetable tempura combos are served for $7.95. Ditto sashimi, salad and broiled fish filet. Or at $6.95 there's sushi, seafood and chicken teriyaki or donkatsu, the fried pork chop or fish casseroles at $5.95.
A delightful dining experience. Korean and Japanese with a difference. Lots of Korean side dishes. Interesting introductory and concluding food items. Bustling service. Smiling welcome. Selection of rice wines. Sashimi their specialty.
Sashimi (small, medium, large, x-large, xx-large)...$39.95/$55/$65/$75, $85, $95,/$120
Sushi (small, medium, large, x-large)...$19.95/$39.95/$45/$69
Teriyaki (salmon, seafood, ee1)...$14
Tempura (shrimp, fish, vegetables
Katsu (deep-fried breaded pork or chicken)..
Food: Korean & Japanese
Hours: Lunch & Dinner 7 days
Location: Off Northern Boulevard & 162nd St.
Credit cards: All major
Background music: Korean & American pop
Off-premises catering: Yes
Private parties: Yes
Noise level: Medium
Handicap access: Yes
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