Two years in the making, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar is opening — gradually — this week at The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard.
The restaurant welcomed diners on April 14 for the first in a series of evening-only food-and-beverage service from a limited menu. The soft-opening approach will continue through Friday, when lunch hours and the full menu will take effect, general manager Kevin Mayo said.
Launched in Koreatown in 2013, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar now has five locations — including a restaurant in Woodland Hills that features just a handful of interior tables and bar stools in addition to its patio.
At roughly 5,200 square feet and with a capacity of 224 people, the much larger Oxnard site offers a mix of round, rectangular and square tables in its interior dining room, which is dominated by a massive framed mirror and by a mural — painted by Jeff McMillan and Gary Musgrave of The Draculas — of a giant crab with gold accents. A row of folding glass doors separates the bar from the outdoor patio.
During a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. tap takeover early Monday evening, guests were treated to appetizers (think fried oysters, salmon carpaccio, beef-truffle sliders and black-pepper beef filet mignon) and four Firestone Walker brews: 805 honey blonde, PIVO Pilsner, Easy Jack and Luponic Distortion No. 5. According to the printed bar menu, the restaurant's eight taps will eventually offer at least two Firestone selections along with a pair of EMC-branded beers and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.'s Hoppy Poppy IPA.
The soft-opening food menu includes chargrilled oysters (four for $15.50), New England clam chowder ($7), uni pasta with cream sauce, dried seaweed and fish roe ($24) and whole Maine lobster with cilantro lime sauce ($29.95). The aptly named all-in steamer special ($89) made with Maine lobster, whole crab, shrimp, manila clams, black mussels, corn and potatoes easily feeds "two to three, or even four, depending on the people," Mayo said.
The full menu offers grilled fish or shrimp tacos ($6.50), abalone congee ($17), sushi rolls ($8-$18) and premium sashimi ($18-$25) in addition to rack of lamb ($36) and a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye ($59).
The restaurant also serves wine, sake and a selection of cocktails ($12-$14) that includes a barrel-aged Old Fashioned.
Soft-opening hours will continue from 6:30-10 p.m. Tuesday, 5-10 p.m. Wednesday and 6:30-10 p.m. Thursday. The latter follows a by-reservation-only grand-opening ceremony presented in conjunction with the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. On Friday, hours will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (511 Town Center Drive, Suite 3015, 805-278-4997, http://www.emcseafood.com).
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