Sura Modern Korean Restaurant
1213 S. Victoria Ave.
It was no ordinary Saturday when my companion and I ended up at Sura at Seabridge Marketplace in Oxnard. Prior to grabbing a table there, we were in Silver Strand participating in a paddle-out for John Silver, a well-known lifeguard who used to work on the beach decades age. This paddle-out was particularly special as two Harbor Patrol boats did a water-gun salute for Silver’s years of service, ocean water shooting in two streams 30 to 40 feet in the air and falling on the group as we threw flowers into the ocean — a precious tribute to a beloved man. After we said goodbye to everyone, we headed over to Sura.
The last time I visited Sura, several years back when it first opened, I also did a review; and suffice it to say, the quality and experience were just as good as they were before. The atmosphere felt familiar, a combination of wood and clean and contemporary decor with a view of the harbor, or the parking lot, depending on which side of the table you choose.
While I am not a drinker, the plum hot sake, the mak gul lee (unfiltered sake) or the bok boon ja ju (raspberry sake) did arouse my curiosity. It’s not every day you see those sorts of drinks on the menu. I went with a Diet Cherry Coke. My companion chose Asahi as a salute to his friend.
For our entrees we chose the lunchboxes with soup options: spicy soft tofu with mushrooms and chicken gangjeong, deep-fried chicken in orange sauce; and dumpling soup and bul go gi, marinated steak. For appetizers, muno ball and mandu.
The muno ball, soft, round and fried like a doughnut hole, was a decadent choice with a hot creamy mayonnaise center and a piece of octopus tentacle, topped with two sauces, one creamy and the other a light teriyaki sauce, and strips of haecho or seaweed. The presentation was an art piece. For the sake of preserving the appetite for the main course, one ball would have sufficed. Mandu is Korean for traditional pot stickers. The preparation was the usual, pan-fried, crispy on the sides, warm minced pork on the inside with green onions and garlic. With our appetizers, we also received a small dinner salad — the miso sesame dressing a comforting flavor.
And so, with our appetites officially sated, our lunchboxes arrived. The mushroom and soft tofu soup (sund du bu), prepared spicy, came with a raw egg, which I cracked and stirred in the steaming hot stone bowl. The silky tofu melted in my mouth while the strings of egg white and yolk in the rich clear broth gave it a bit more substance. The mushrooms gave it that earthy flavor. The combination made for a whole body and mouth-warming experiencing with plenty to take home. The small bits of just a touch crispy fried orange chicken were neither too greasy nor too sweet, a problem I usually see with this dish.
While I had hoped to try some of the noodle and dumpling soup, prepared normally, aka not spicy, that just didn’t happen, though my companion obviously enjoyed it. The steak was marinated in the special house sauce and prepared in such a way that it was both tender and delicate, the flavor slightly sweet. Both lunchboxes came with fried potato cake and banchan, which included mild kimchi, kongjang (soy-braised soy beans), kongnamool (soybean sprouts) and potatoes in soy sauce.
Our total bill for two people, $70, plus tip — both the meals and the service, provided by Judy and another young lady who quickly picked up dirty dishes, were worth it. While we could scale back to just the main courses, splurging can bring fun, unique experiences. Though not everyone can travel the globe to taste a bit of culture, you will surely be immersed in the flavors and courtesy of Korean dining done right at Sura.