Crunchy Sea Brings $1 Fish Tacos to Koreatown Car Wash

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I think the car wash lunch is one of my favorite things about Los Angeles.  I’m not sure why, because admittedly I’ve never actually had lunch at a car wash.  It just excites me that they exist.  I live in Culver City, so Outdoor Grill at the Handy J Car Wash on Washington is on my list (even though I’ve heard it’s terrible.)  And somebody told me there is car wash sushi (how could I not!)  But my first car wash lunch happened last week when I stumbled upon Crunchy Sea, a newish car wash shack specializing in $1 fish tacos in of all places, Koreatown.

How could it be bad?

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If you’re craving fish or shrimp tacos for lunch, there really is no substitute for Ricky’s Fish Tacos.  But not everybody can make it over to Los Feliz for lunch, and sometimes you’ve got a lot of errands to run… like… say… getting a car wash!  If that sounds like you, Crunchy Sea is your new favorite place- a Korean run take out window with fried fish, shrimp, and calamari, served in taco form ($2.50-$3) or in a platter with fries ($6-9).

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The tacos are served baja style, on a pretty generic corn tortilla topped with shredded cabbage and crema.  Not bad at considering that the fish tacos are pretty much $1 every day.  Actually, the regular price on the menu is $2.50 but Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 11am to 3pm, and Tuesday and Thursday all day (11am to 8pm) they’re $1.  In other words, the fish tacos are $1 every single day during lunch time.

The crust is more like bread crumbs than a more typical wet batter, but they’re made fresh to order so the fish comes out hot and super crunchy.  Tough to complain for the price.  But how does it taste without the tortilla, cabbage, crema and lime juice?  And what about the shrimp and calamari?  Only one way to find out!

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The combo platter!  For $9 you get fish, shrimp, and calamari, plus french fries, their cabbage slaw, and tartar sauce.  It’s here where the flaws show a bit more.  For one thing the bread crumbs don’t really have any flavor (besides the oil they were fried in) and the fries are just frozen shoestrings out of a bag.  Plus, if you were hoping for the unoffensive appetizer rings of fried calamari you’re used to from <insert generic L.A. restaurant here>, you might be a bit freaked out by the long, chewy, single tentacles that you get at Crunchy Sea.   In other words, stick with the tacos.

I guess it’s not a huge shock that Crunchy Sea isn’t as good as RFT.  Or any of these fish tacos in Ensenada (at least I’m guessing they’re not!)  But I’ve got to say, for $1 the fish tacos are a total steal.  And I might even considering splurging for a $3 shrimp taco… especially if I was in Koreatown and needed a car wash.

THE +

  • Car wash and $1 fish tacos sound like heaven to me
  • I love Ricky’s, but I work in Koreatown and can’t make it over there during lunch
  • I love generic shoestring french fries
  • Everything is fried to order, so it comes out nice and hot and real crunchy
  • You get a ton of food on those platters
  • Check out their crazy salsas!  Like mango, pineapple, and strawberry

THE -

  • I prefer my fish tacos to be dipped in a batter, and double fried.  I’m not into the whole breadcrumbs thing…
  • I like rings of calamari.  Those tentacles are too chewy!
  • The actual fried seafood is completely flavorless.  Ever heard of salt?
  • Strawberry salsa!?  Sorry, that’s just wrong.
  • I like my Korean food made by Koreans, and my fish tacos made by Mexicans!
  • Western and 4th is a 10 minute drive from Ricky’s.  Totally worth it…

Crunchy Sea, 401 S Western Ave, 213-388-4533

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