"friend's favorites" with john & christeil @ Nippon Japanese Cuisine/Sushi

Nippon Restaurant
10155 Riverside Dr
Toluca Lake, CA 91602
(818) 506-6167

my old friend, john with kuni-san, the manager.  (in case you weren't sure, john is the one on the right and kuni-san is on the left)  john has been coming here for many years since his youth...and has many happy sushi and sake/beer filled memories! 

we didn't even look at the menu, john went ahead and just started selecting a variety of sushi for us to try.

first up, was the monk liver...

this was my first experience eating monk fish liver and i have to say it was a very pleasant experience.  it was served with finely chopped scallions, the red daikon and sat in a ponzu sauce.  it wasn't as creamy in texture as foie gras, you could feel it breaking up in your mouth, and if you could zoom in and see the "globules" within the liver, you can feel those in your mouth.  it was a little on the fishier side but nothing overwhelming.  john said you typically eat this either at the beginning or the end of your meal.  so i tried it both ways...and i liked it better when i first ate it versus at the end of the meal. by then, it had warmed up a bit and i think the fishiness then became a bit too strong for me and i felt like i just wanted to swallow it quickly and kill the taste.  i'd eat this again.


the riverside - named after the street the restaurant is on.  its asparagus enveloped with sweet crab, seaweed, battered and fried tempura style.  this was served with a la yu (spicy sesame seed oil) and ponzu.  i loved how simple the sushi was and of course the crispy texture from the tempura and the bite from the asparagus and the spice of the la yu was so perfect.  i enjoyed this little bite very much!  another one i'd get again.

little swimmer...well, maybe not so little...

one of my favorite fishes to eat, black cod marinated in miso!  hmmmmmm...they were so generous in their portion sizes!  wow!  this was a really big and thick piece of cod and it was tender and flavorful.  terrific!

hamachi and salmon...so fresh.

all i can say its...clean and fresh.  love how they just kept it nice and simple and the wedge of lemon.  i like having just the squeeze of citrus especially on my salmon.  nice.

hmmm, so many choices!

some basics like california roll, rainbow roll and lobster roll wrapped in a pink soy paper.  i didn't have the rainbow roll or california roll, because i wanted to save my tummy for the rest of the food that was coming out.  the lobster roll was lovely, it was creamy and light, very tender.   

one of my favorites, albacore...

i usually like my albacore tataki syle, but this was so fresh, had the right amount of green onions and ponzu sauce.  simple and delectable.

ikura, salmon roe

another first for me, or at least if ate this, it was so many years ago, i don't even remember.  and since i had absolutely no recollection of whether i did or not, i lifted this sushi up with my chopsticks and dipped it into my wasabi shoyu, and put that whole bad boy in my mouth.  i wish i hadn't dipped it because it was a bit too salty for me!  but...i did love the firm little roe that popped in my mouth with each bite!  there is plenty of saltiness in the roe by itself...so in the future, i will never make the same mistake and dip it in shoyu.

spider roll...

wrapped in a soy paper wrap and served with a red chili pepper ponzu.  it was filled with the pickled gobo, cucumber and radish sprouts.  i'm not always crazy about eating the whole bits of crunchy crab, but everyone else loved it.  it was good with the spicy dipping sauce, but there are other types of sushi that i would get first before i get this again.  but again, it was good, i'm just not into the crab.

dragon roll...

this is another one of my favorites when i eat sushi...i'm a big time sauce person, so i always love the sweet sauce that goes along with the unagi, creamy avocado and sweet crab.  i am also happy when the unagi is prepared perfectly and not charred and crispy.  (which i have had in the past at a very popular japanese restaurant in w. l.a., and when i said i couldn't eat the sushi because it tasted like charcoal in my mouth, i was informed that "that's how its supposed to be".  i didn't know serving food burned beyond recognition was how food should be made, but what the hell do i know!)  haha

this was a last edition, oh no!  i forgot to write down the name of it! 

but it did have scallops, roe, cucumbers and crab i believe, wrapped in the soy paper.  i don't know if it was because i was full or what, but even with all the yummy ingredients, it was just ok for me.  i appreciated the different textures they incorporated into the sushi, crunch of the cucumbers, pop of the roe and the softness of the scallops.  but overall, i felt it lacked a lot of flavor and it really needed the shoyu to give it that little kick. 

john and taka (which means tall in japanese, or at least that's what taka told me...i'm kind of gullible...so he could have totally lied to me!  i won't know till i ask one of my japanese friends)  haha   taka was our very gracious server. 

overall, what a great meal!  i don't think i've ever been to toluca lake, but now i have a reason to come back again.  the key word for this restaurant is FRESH!  which is imperative in for any sushi restaurant!!!  everything was incredibly fresh and presented very simply and beautifully.  the service was impeccable and the food came out so quickly.  thank you so much john for sharing one of your favorite sushi restaurants with me and the whole group of us. 

i would definitely recommend nippon sushi to all of you sushi lovers out there! 


our dinner party...

high school buds...christina, christeil (john's wife) & thesaly

thesaly and gino aka guido

duane aka fuzzy


  1. Hey Doreen. This is Taka, your favorite server @ Nippon. The last Sushi Roll is STUDIO ROLL. I am glad that you had a good time at NIPPON! Please come back soon! -Again, "TAKA" means TALL in Japanese! Trust me.

  2. I'll vouch for him, D. It does mean "tall"! :)


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