The Asian Persuasion

Great Asian restaurants, and the Asians (and Chuck Devore) who love them

Location Info


Koji's Sushi and Shabu Shabu

20 City Blvd. E.., Ste. 602
Orange, CA 92868

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Orange

Quan Hy Restaurant

9727 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Westminster

Pollard grew up in Downey, where kids gravitate toward cars like flowers incline themselves toward the sun. He studied architecture at Cerritos College and then graduated from the Art Center College of Design, a school famous for its car designers. "There weren't many California car studios back then," he says, but he landed his first gig with one of the earliest, Honda in 1979. California was perfect for the car business, he says, especially for the Japanese car business: "This is the first spot when they get off the boat in the U.S.," he says. Then, too, California "is a microcosm of the U.S. In two weeks, you can test for almost everything"—high elevation in Yosemite, inclines in San Francisco, low elevations in Death Valley, heat in the Mojave. "Two weeks in California would tell you whether you're going to sell any cars." Pollard has since moved to Mazda, and in his time with Japanese automakers, he's been to Japan, well, "too many times. I lost count after 30. Doyougoeveryyear?It varies. Some years I'll go five times, then I'll go a few years without going once. AreyouanaficionadoofJapanesefood?I pretty much like everything, but . . . When I'm in Japan, I stay in Hiroshima—that's the company's home campus—and my favorite restaurant there is actually an Indian place. Indian?I really like curry. ButnotJapanese?I like Japanese. I mean, it's fine. One of my first experiences in a Japanese restaurant was up in the South Bay with a bunch of Japanese executives. They brought this lobster to the table, hanging by its tail, and started cutting off slices of raw meat. And you know how it is with Japanese executives: anything they put down, I just ate it. So I'm eating this lobster, and all of a sudden nobody's talking, nobody's saying anything, and I realize the lobster's still alive . . . Alive?The whole time we were slicing it up. And now it's trying to get away. Its mandibles are working hard, and there's water bubbling out of its mouth. I guess that's pretty gross, huh? That'dbememorable.In Japan, they have all these country restaurants, and a few of them serve sparrow. Alive?No, barbecued—they pluck it, but then they just barbecue the whole thing, from beak to little feet. Isitgood?No. It's nasty. But I guess every culture has its own gross stuff. What dotheJapanesedislikeaboutourfood?Blue cheese. They say, "Moldy cheese? You're eating moldy cheese." They think it's just disgusting. IblametheFrench.You know, 10 years ago, Japanese food was really hot in OC. And I think it's really an indicator of how cosmopolitan this place has become that there's a lot more out there now. You know, with raw fish, I'm just a little more concerned now about food safety, about mercury content. So for me, Japanese has taken a back seat to Indian, Persian, Korean . . . What'syourfavorite?FerdussiTasteofPersiashould get a plug here. They have a really good buffet lunch with yogurt and cucumber—very light. I don't know if you're supposed to, but I like that over rice. I think I've become a closet vegetarian. 3605S.Bristol,Ste.D,SantaAna,(714)545-9096.

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