There’s no reason to miss Mi Ranchito (there is no shortage of great Mexican food in Los Angeles) but if, driving down Washington, you are wondering what is going on in that now subdued space, it has become FIN. While the bar takes a very large portion of the front room, FIN is a fishhouse, and one of the most enchanting experiences you will ever have with seafood. A charming pun – not just the visible part of the shark, add a bit of French accent and you are at the END.
But at the beginning, there is the interesting conundrum of the menu – Not appetizers or entrees, but dishes classified as ‘cold’ or ‘hot’ and then ‘land’ or ‘sea.’ While the land has nothing lacking, staying at sea will provide you with a memorable feast. The excellence of the ingredients – fish, vegetable, soy or meat – make a great canvass for some unique cooking.
Cucumber sunomomo; Persian cucumber sliced thin and standing tall in a pool of transparent caramel-dark soy topped with black and white toasted sesame seeds and a sweet radish is an ideal dish to start with, sweet but tangy, crisp and lightly chewy.Or begin with mixed greens with ponzu, a miso based dressing lightened with lemon – almost as flavorful, a bit softer and darker. Now, the easy choices are behind you, and the more adventuresome ones begin.
Citrus salmon sashimi truffle; each one of these parts of the dish an equal part of the flavor, with gorgeous salmon dressed with a subtle but very piquant citrus dressing, topped with a light sprinkle of black truffle. Keep your chopsticks at the ready, this is a dish that disappears fast.
Jicama fish tacos with Asian slaw take the standard south coast beach treat and turn it into something light and new. Using small circles of jicama, the mild, sweet vegetable, as taco shells makes this little bite a perfect mouthful.
Black cod with a white miso glaze is one of the most arresting dishes on the menu. Silky, beautiful white fish topped with a white miso sauce is the paramount example of using Asian ingredients with French cooking techniques. Whatever else you order, this is a dish not to be missed.
While you are enjoying satisfying your hunger, there is plenty to slake your thirst. Unique crafted cocktails, a lovely wine list, and plenty of sake to choose from; your server can recommend the perfect pairing.
If you do prefer the land to the sea, a serving of seared lamb chops and mashed baby Yukon gold potatoes is just what the traditionalist might order.
Past the meat and potatoes, and including a lot of fish, there is another section of the menu just called ‘rolls’ and while these are not sushi, the Asian/European fusion really gets to show off. Several kinds of crab are used to beautiful ends, and the spicy shrimp span the spectrum all the way out to shrimp tempura jalapeno. A meal of small bites could encompass a lot of these.
Don’t overlook the side dishes; caramelized in another version of the great miso sauce, the eggplant is almost candied, but still savory. The sweet & salty green beans are crisp and delicious, and the Yukon gold potatoes can be ordered sans lamb chops.
A vegan could eat well here – a carnivore could have a great time – but for a pescetarian, FIN really is the end. This is paradise for fish lovers, the ultimate menu for seafood, prepared and presented with real skill.
12223 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
– Photo Credit Paula Clagon