Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Aria - 3744 Mission Ave Oceanside, CA 92058

Just got back from here. I think I could have used wheels to get me out I'm so stuffed.

Aria combines two of my favorite things Korean and Japanese. Home cooking is my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate good sushi (what most Americans think of when you say Japanese), but that's not what I was here for and quite frankly, I was looking for good Korean food.

I am not Asian, but I have lived in Asia and Oceania. When ordering at an Asian restaurant I'm not afraid. I have a taste for veggies, spices, fish and rice.

We were at Aria for lunch and so no bbq - I will be back for that though. When I walked in there were two 4 top tables of Japanese men eating lunch. Score #1 in my head. Unlike other diners' reviews I've read, I thought the atmosphere clean and well appointed - not at all dull.

The menu was completely easy to understand. It had pictures for most of the dishes - which I know helps people order and get what they expect.

The waitress was nice, not overly warm, but quiet and served us well. They brought out the customary vegetable side dishes - kimchi, potato salad, moo saeng chae, and some other marinated potato dish - all nice.

I ordered the bim bim-bap (bim bim-bob). For those who don't know this is seasonal veggies and chili pepper sauce/paste, raw egg and sliced meat. You stir it all together before you eat it. It was a perfect presentation and wonderful smelling. The dish tasted just like I expected and it came in a stone hot pot. I like to let it sizzle a little to get the rice kinda crunch in some places before I stir it up. YUM.

My eating partner ordered spicy pork bento and veggie tempura. The pork was spicy and he said it was akin to eating crawfish - you just have to keep going and forget about the heat.

The amount of food was outstanding. And for the price - AMAZING. Compared to other Asian food joints around our area it was entirely comparable and even on the economical side - which is why I gave it 4 stars.

Very good food for the price and didn't disappoint.

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