Sushi Hoshikai, Jeju Island

So this was our first time in Jeju Island and we got referred to this place by two of our good friends, Barbara and Dan. They said we had to try the omakase here and we are so glad we did! It was the perfect introduction to Jeju Island. It was on the pricier end, for around 110$ per person (120,000 krw) but definitely worth every penny. I was pleasantly satisfied with the taste, freshness, service, ambiance and smooth sake. We were a group of 5 (my husband (age 27), mother-in-law (50’s), grandmother-in-law (80’s), and grandmother-in-law’s sister (70’s), and me (age 28)) and we were all very satisfied with the course.

The restaurant is pretty small, so you should definitely reserve in advance. Omakase is only served at the bar, although there seems to be small rooms where you can order individual dishes. Location-wise, it is very close to the airport (15 minutes by car).

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The first dish was steamed eggs with squash (단호박 계란찜), including corn, eggs, shrimp, gingko, chestnut:DSC00385.JPG

Followed by, egg yolk sauce with fish and mushroom:DSC00388

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The omakase was prepared by Chef Dukhyeon Im, who was a little reserved, intently focused on preparing the sushi to perfection, but always willing to answer any questions asked by my mother-in-law. By the end of the meal, he was smiling and very personable.

Then came the soup of shiitake mushroom from Hanllasan Mountain and clams:DSC00391.JPG

Following, the Chef began to bring out the sashimi, starting with sea bream (도미):DSC00392.JPG

Tuna, body and then belly. The Chef said they caught a lot of tuna this morning and we were in for a treat. The tuna belly was AMAZING, melted in my mouth:DSC00393.JPG

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The sake was sweet, clean and refreshing and nice for palette-cleansing. And the presentation was classy, golden and silver frozen cups:

Next, raw seared mackerel (used vinegar to get rid of any fishiness):

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Then sea cucumber (홍해삼) in soy-sauce base, which had a 오돌도돌, chewy-salty-taste: DSC00399.JPG

Next was 시마지, which was fatty and tasty, REALLY GOOD:DSC00400.JPG

Followed by miso-soup which was spicy, deep and korean style:DSC00402.JPG

Next, the Chef brought in the sushi and we could ask for less rice if we wanted, we just needed to ask. The following was tilefish (옥돔), which was soft, sticky, meaty, SO good:DSC00403.JPG

Followed by pollack (금태), soft smooth and buttery:DSC00404.JPG

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I usually don’t get shrimp at sushi places but I was personally really impressed by the shrimp sushi, which consisted of 3 shrimps, super fresh, soft, meaty and 쫀득쫀득:DSC00412.JPG

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Now the Chef began to use vinegar rice (적초) with tuna, which had a strong wasabi kick:DSC00418.JPG

Followed by the tuna belly with vinegar rice, SO 고소해:DSC00419.JPG

Followed by 익힌 Otoro with a little salt on top, little chewy and buttery: YUMMMM.DSC00421.JPG

Followed by salmon eggs wrapped in sushi, which was super refreshing and had yuzu:DSC00424.JPG

Followed by keen’s gaper (미루가이) that had clam/shellfish’s unique sweetness, slightly seared and not sticky, and then raw mackarel:

Next, sea conger (바다붕장어) (which is different from unagi), soft, not overly seasoned:DSC00429.JPG

Another FAVORITE of mine was the halibut fin (광어지느러미살) with salt and yuzu grated on top. The scent of the salt and yuzu was amazing, slightly seared/grilled and the flavor of the fish spread all over my mouth with every bite:DSC00432.JPG

Next was tempura (sweet potato, greens, potato croquet, mushroom):

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Followed by chu-toro and tuna (다랭이) fish dried and grated on top:DSC00442.JPG

Followed by noodles, and then cold-dessert like shrimp meat sponge cake (pan cooked), egg-base with chinese yam (마):

The omakase was drawing to a close, and the chef asked all of us if we wanted anything in particular. So I asked for 2 extra halibut fins (광어지느러미) which he gladly made!DSC00448.JPG

Followed by hot tea, burdock (우엉차) from Jeju Island, as a palette cleanser. Lovely, clean and deep. Then, finally, yuzu ice cream, handmade at the restaurant so you could actually feel the yuzu outer layer grinded into the ice cream. Authentic, uneven texture, fresh, not overly sweet. Served on a frozen bowl:

 

So happy that I found such a gem. I don’t think I could’ve found this place if it weren’t for my friends’ referral. This visit was in March 2016. Hope it is as wonderful as we found it!

For more information: http://www.jejusushi.com/

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