Walmido - Fish Feast

>> Sunday, May 20, 2012

Date of Dining: 12/11/2011
Price: Medium Fish feast (4 people recommended) $120 (but we shared with 10 people)
Location: 4367 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

The Quick Bit

+ ridiculous quantity of food for low price
+ wide variety of dishes
+ live fish sashimi
Δ protein quality could be better
Δ service could be more attentive
Note: Since the restaurant prices the meal as $120 for 4 people the tone is taken as if 4 people each have to pay $30 for the food. When taken with 10 people, this might have a different tone.
One of my friends has always been talking about the fish feast at Walmido saying that it was a great deal. However, I didn't really believe him because of Walmido's relatively low rating on the 4-letter. One day in December, he finally convinced me and a group of other friends to check out the deal.
Walmido is actually a Korean restaurant that happens to serve Japanese sushi/sashimi. While that doesn't really sound like a good thing (and for the most part it is not), one key difference (and perhaps Walmido's claim to fame in San Diego) is that the fish is literally swimming in a tank and can be butchered live for your enjoyment.
The restaurant recommends that their fish feast be split among four people (for the medium size), but when we brought ten people, we weren't even able to finish all the food. What I thought was going to just be one fish cut up turned into a bunch of other side dishes that came as part of the feast.

Non-Feast Items:

The following items were ordered in addition to the fish feast:
seafood pancake
This was the standard Korean seafood pancake containing some octopus, oyster and other greens mixed into a pancake batter. The only thing remarkable about this seafood pancake was that it was a huge pancake for the price we paid.
live octopus
Walmido's other main attraction is the live octopus. While you can't see it in the photo, the tentacles of the octopus were still moving while they were on the plate. The octopus is completely raw and served with a mixture of a sesame oil with gochujang marinade. If you can accept that you are eating a live moving piece of protein, the octopus is actually full flavored and enjoyable, but also a little chewy. I did not find that the suction cups of the tentacles clung to anything as I was swallowing.

Fish Feast

Since we had 10 people and a long table, I didn't manage to take photos of every item on the fish feast. I've covered the items that I got photos of, but be assured that there were even more items that I don't have photos of.
assorted ban chan
There was a large selection of ban chan, but the prepartions were somewhat uninspired.
rice porridge
The amuse was a rice porridge that contained a hit of sesame oil. This broth of the porridge was flavored with fish stock as to prepare the appetite for the coming seafood onslaught.
mussel soup
The soup was made primarily with mussels and mung bean sprouts. There was a fair amount of mussels and the broth had a nice deep flavor from the mussels.
korean "chawanmushi"
This korean take on the chawanmushi had the egg cooked more done than the japanese part, and perhaps had more egg (or was cooked at a higher temperature) so that the egg mixture didn't really combine well. Still, the flavor of the chawanmushi was nice.
oysters on the half shell
The idea of the oysters was better than the execution as these oysters have seen better days. It's a shame that bad oysters are served in San Diego when great oysters are so accessible for a relatively cheap price.
sea snails
These were very interesting as you are given toothpicks to fish out the protein from the shells. I didn't really master this technique so I wasn't really able to get a good read on the flavor of this.
fried fish
This was one of four fried fishes we were given. There was a fish for each person and resembled the one given as ban chan at places such as BCD. The fish was well fried and full of succulent fish flavor.
fried mackerel
The next fish dish was a long mackerel. There wasn't a lot of meat on this one, but the flavors were on the stronger side.
fried sardine and garlic
Another friend dish dish was a sardine with garlic. These sardines were fried well and my favorite of the fried dish courses. I was able to completely consume these sardines even with the bones, so that made it a highly enjoyable experience for me.
live halibut sashimi
While I want to say that the halibut was great, I didn't really feel that the flavor was any better than a high quality halibut from a high quality sushi restaurant. The only benefit of the halibut was that there was a lot of it to go around. Further, I really did miss the ponzu dipping for the halibut and felt that the wasabi dipping wasn't the ideal form for consuming halibut sashimi.  Overall, having a lot of fresh halibut was still a great experience.
fish stew
If you were wondering what happens with the rest of the halibut, a large pot of fish stew is prepared using all the bones. The depth of flavor in the stew is especially deep as it is fortified with the flavors of the fish bones. The fish stew was my favorite dish of the night as it contained a variety of other ingredients as well as the bits of fish. I felt it was the most complex and well prepared dish of the entire meal.


While the fish feast isn't some super gourmet meal, it is a relatively cheap way to feed a fairly large group of people with some good food. The total bill came out to something like $20 per person after including the extras and tax and tip. While the fish feast isn't going to beat any quality sushi restaurant, it is nice for a change of pace and a wide variety of dishes. 


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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
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