The Fisherman’s House doesn’t look like much at first, says techbod. “If you walk in the front door, you are in a decrepit food court, packed empty with dozens of forlorn tables and chairs. To your right, a Mexican food counter. To your left, a sushi bar/noodle/non-specific Asian food counter. It’s all kind of iffy looking. It’s easy to understand why there are few if any customers. This place aspires to mall food court status.”

But there is a secret here. The schlocky teriyaki counter has some big tanks full of live fish, Dungeness crabs, and other goodies. Behind the kitchen, there’s a hidden tatami room. “And, that telltale sign that something Chowish is afoot—well-dressed, wealthy-looking Koreans tucking into a colorful, fresh-looking spread of food,” says techbod.

Basically, you order a whole, live fish. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, that fish has been reduced to more sashimi than two people can eat, says techbod. “It is delivered beautifully arrayed on a football-shaped platter, accompanied by lettuce leaves, wasabi, chili sauce, miso paste, garlic slivers, jalapeño slivers, cucumber and carrot sticks, and a pitcher of cool, unsweetened tea.”

When you’re done with that, waiters take the sashimi away, deliver some kimchee, and make spicy fish soup. The soup is made from the skeleton of your fish, with some of the uneaten sashimi thrown in and cooked to perfect tenderness. The rest of the sashimi takes a quick trip through a tempura station and comes back to you fried and in a takeout container.

This is a family-run restaurant, decades old, with tons of regulars. And it’s the only restaurant in the Channel Islands Harbor that has a license to circulate harbor water through its tanks. It’s not the best water in the world, but it’s better than the stale, disgusting water in most restaurant fish tanks.

The smallest version of the experience runs $50 and serves two people—and there are, of course, larger fish for larger groups.

Fisherman’s House [Channel Islands]
2810 Harbor Boulevard #B12, Oxnard

Board Link: Fisherman’s House, Channel Islands Harbor; Secret Dining Room–Anyone Ever Tried It?

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