The Bounty of Dadami

For an evening at this Korean restaurant, come hungry, and with friends.

This style of Korean cuisine has more than a few passing similarities with Japanese food. In fact, Dadami bills itself as a Japanese restaurant (although it's absolutely not) in part because it's an easier concept to explain to Westerners who are unfamiliar with the concept of Korean raw fish preparations. Geography is one of the main reasons you'll find so much overlap in these two cuisines: The southern islands of Japan, like Kyushu and Honshu, are separated from South Korea only by the narrow, 120-mile-wide Korea Strait.

Most Korean restaurants, Dadami included, have two ingenious systems purpose-built for dining in large groups: call buttons that are used to summon your server so that he doesn't have to continually check in on you, and rooms divided by walls, curtains or screens that keep your loud, raucous, soju-soaked group separated and buffered from the other ones in the joint. On the night we were at Dadami, we were sandwiched between a table of hard-drinking Korean businessmen who pounded the table and howled with laughter, and a scurrying family with several young children. No one was bothered by anyone else; in fact, it just adds to the lively atmosphere.

And if you're dropping $150 on a 30-course meal at a restaurant, you're going to want to settle in and stay awhile. Having your own room and a server on call simply encourages you to do so with gusto. Of course, you don't have to spend that kind of money at Dadami to have a great meal. Dinner packages are one thing — and something to be tackled with a crowd of friends — but the restaurant offers equally good lunch specials for a lot less money.

Behold an entire boat of Korean-style sashimi.
Katharine Shilcutt
Behold an entire boat of Korean-style sashimi.

Location Info



1927 N. Gessner Road
Houston, TX 77080

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Outer Loop - NW


Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Small sashimi dinner: $75
Deluxe dinner: $150
Sashimi salad: $7.99
Fried squid: $7.99
Soju: $14.99

BLOG POST: Sashimi, Korean-Style: Hwe at Dadami

Almost all the specials are $7.99 and include more traditional Korean dishes such as bulgogi as well as more hwe-style specialties like hwe dup bap, a sort of sashimi salad with rice. No matter which lunch special you order, however, you'll get at least three banchan if you're dining alone or six if you're eating with a friend — and always with some of Dadami's rustic, ruddy homemade kimchi.

In addition to finding tempura-battered squid served with sweet, thin tentsuyu sauce on the lunch menu, you'll also find that, in a nod to Japanese cuisine, your sashimi salads are served with soy sauce on the side and miso soup. Here, though, that miso soup has a spicy kick to it. And the soy sauce is generally less preferred to the deep red chogochujang — a garrulous blend of red pepper paste, sugar, vinegar and sesame seeds that you pour on top of your salad and then mix around until every last leaf of lettuce and grain of rice is coated with the stuff.

It's tough to want to destroy the sashimi salad this way, though, it's so beautifully presented. Three different kinds of tobiko are perched on top of fresh flounder, the spheres of roe shining gold, green and onyx. It was all I could do to stop myself from scooping them up individually with my spoon. But I finally gave in to the Korean way and made a mess of the bowl with its warm, sesame seed-studded rice beneath the cool, crisp fish and lettuce above. Like the dinner a few nights before, it was a triumph of textures, temperatures and flavors. But unlike our epic dinner, I finished every last bite.

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My Voice Nation Help

Went there for lunch. Needless to say, we'll be back for sure with more people.Pictures to follow soon.

paval topcommenter

excellent review. sounds like a really great experience even though its a lot of food. drumming up one of my groups of crazy fish eaters to go there. will prepare them properly with a two days of fasting before going though.

del.martinis topcommenter

We are so going there, since lately, it's been everything Korean...from their fried chicken to Kimchi on grits and friend rice!  Thanks for a fascinating review!

Mai Pham
Mai Pham topcommenter

You didn't eat the live octopus?!!

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @Mai Pham Sadly, no. It remains one of my greatest regrets in life.