sugarFISH - bomb @ss sushi!
11640 W San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
i still have yet to visit japan (which has been a life long dream) and eat all the amazing food japan has to offer, but even more importantly, i hope to one day eat the freshest fish possible in the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market. i won't pretend that i have been eating sushi/sashimi (anything raw) forever, because in the past, it would cause me severe g.i. distress, (i'm not kidding when i say severe) but after my friend ed said what kind of chef was i if i didn't eat sushi/sashimi, it got me thinking and i decided, i am going to eat it as much as i can so i could make my stomach stronger and build up my immunity so that it would no longer give me the b.g.'s and have me running home after a meal of any type raw fish.
ok, enough about my internal organs...let's talk about one of THE best, wait...let me re-phrase that...let's talk about THE best sushi meal i have ever eaten...EVER! (isn't this post already so much more positive and happy than the last one?!) haha the menu is simplistic and to the point...i decided to just go with the nozawa and let them prepare the fish as they see fit. i will say that i have been to enough sushi restaurants, which can cost a pretty penny, but i feel sugarFISH is so reasonable and the quality is amazing.
edamame starter...i actually would've like a little sprinkling of kosher salt...but i'm sure the less sodium i take in, the less bloated i'll be.
tuna with a housemade ponzu and chopped scallions...
the tuna was fresh and i loved the housemade ponzu sauce! the little bits of scallions are the perfect compliment to the fish and sauce. i loved this sauce so much that i took my extra edamame and tossed it in the sauce! hmmm...i would love this as a light dressing on salad too.
albacore with house ponzu and scallions...
the first bite, oh my Lord! i will preface this by saying how much i love butter and the texture in my mouth, smooth and creamy. THAT is the feeling that i got when i ate this. there was the perfect amount of ponzu to enhance the flavor of the fish, but not overpowering it. the warm loosely packed rice was the perfect compliment to the fish! i loved that it was all about the fish and the rice...there wasn't a big dab of wasabi to mask any possible odors of older fish. i didn't need to, nor did i want to dip this in shoyu. i was blown away by the freshness and texture of the fish and rice. could it get any better? can i say foodgasm?! i savored these two bites before i moved on...
salmon with roasted sesame seeds...
i have never been a big fan of cooked salmon because i think its kind of fishy smelling and i'm just not crazy about it, but last year i really started to eat it raw and completely fell in love with it! after the albacore, i didn't think it could get any better...but holy mary mother of God! this was even MORE incredible in my mouth!! talk about multiple foodgasms!!!!!!! this had no sauce at all, so i had mixed a small mixture of shoyu and wasabi and just dipped it lightly. remember, the rice is warm and loosely packed, so i had to be quick about it so the rice didn't fall apart. just the faintest hint of wasabi and shoyu was perfect with the silky, smooth, super duper buttery salmon.
DAMN!! just looking at the picture and thinking about that moment i brought the chopsticks up to my mouth and put that piece of salmon sushi in and started chewing...i swear i can remember how it tasted and felt in my mouth. it was like heaven in my mouth...i loved it. LOVED IT I TELL YOU!!! oh Lord...ok...i need a moment and maybe a cigarette! crazy thing is...i don't even smoke! there are only a few times in my life where i have felt like i needed a cigarette, once was when i took a ride in my friend darrin's porsche 911 turbo, damn that car was beyond incredible, and we didn't even get to go on the fwy to fully open it up, and some other choice moments in my life *wink wink* and now, the albacore and salmon! *whew* good times! (i am smiling like a cheshire cat)
i know, i could talk about it for days, but i will continue on. i do not have a picture of the snapper with chili ponzu, but it was also very good but didn't shatter my world quite like the albacore and salmon. but still incredibly fresh and everytime i get that warm rice...it really is the perfect way to eat with the fish.
yellow tail with a hint of lemon juice...
the amount of lemon juice was so subtle, but it was the perfect amount of acidity with the fatty fish. i actually came here on two separate occasions, the first time i think i was so overcome with joy about the salmon and albacore that i didn't give this little gem enough attention. but the second time around, the yellow tail gave me that same euphoric feeling! if you are still not quite sure what i'm talking about...think about the most amazing piece of food you have ever eaten and how it made you close your eyes as you chewed and savored every single bite before you swallowed it. the flavor, the way it felt on your tongue, each texture... i never could've imagined how little rectangular pieces of raw fish on warm, medium grain rice could ever bring me this much eating pleasure. this just shows you how something could be so incredibly simple, but when done right and served fresh, it can blow your mind.
i'm not even done writing this post, but i am going to already say it, i am a huge chef nozawa fan and will always "trust" him. his tag line is, "trust me", and honey...I DO! i trust this man KNOWS fish and what he is doing with it and how to do it! the warm rice is genius...this is my first experience with warm rice, perhaps it isn't for many of you out there...but i do see the light now! and i am walkin' towards it!
let me talk about the rice for a moment...like i mentioned earlier, warm medium grain rice with the perfect amount of seasoned vinegar, still a nice little bite to each grain and not at all mushy!! i completely understand why it can take a sushi chef five years of training just on how to make sushi rice!! (so i've heard) i wish that 99% of the sushi restaurants out there would/could at least cook and season the rice correctly!
halibut with yuzu ponzu...
i'm going to sound like a broken record, but the fish was very fresh. the yuzu ponzu went really nicely with the halibut...the thing about yuzu if you've never had it is that along with the citrusy notes, it also has a hint of pineyness, which can be a bit pungent, at least that is what i get. i enjoyed this, but still had my previous favorites.
i haven't mentioned this yet, but all the sushi comes out to each person immediately after its been prepared, so the entire table will not get their food at the exact same time. why is that? well, remember the warm rice...they prepare everything basicially "to order" so that each patron will experience that dish as they want each person to. this is even more true when it comes to the rolls. you MUST eat the roll as soon as it arrives or the else the warm rice will soften the crisp seaweed and make it chewy. so they encourage each person to start eating immediately when it is set on the table.
so don't be polite and wait for each person to get their roll, pick it up and go for it...or else you'll be eating some chewy seaweed and trying to rip it with your teeth and while you struggle, the rice and toro or any other fish inside will start to fall out the other end. its like eating a burrito that isn't closed at the bottom and everything is squirting out. you all know how much that sucks!!
funny thing, this was a little rich for me...i think it was the mayo, which Lord knows, i LOVE mayonnaise...but it was a little much for me, i think i needed a touch of acid to help cut some of the richness. it was tasty but i felt like i was struggling to finish it. perhaps it was also because i was starting to get full.
yellow tail roll...
on my second visit, they had a special for the roll that day, so instead of the crab or toro, they made me a yellow tail roll with scallions. THIS was my favorite of all of the rolls and i just loved how fresh it was in combination with the chopped scallions! so delicious. my only struggle was not eating it fast enough while the seaweed stayed crisp. but overall, i really enjoyed this.
unagi is fresh water eel that's been broiled and topped with a sweet sauce. i love eating unagi...but not everyone is into it. if you've never had it, beware that there can be tiny edible bones, so don't freak out...that's normal for them to be in there. this was sweet, tender and delicious. notice that the eel looks perfectly cooked.
i have been to many sushi restaurants and some places have actually completely burned the eel where it looks like charcoal and still had the audacity to serve it! one time it was so ridiculously burnt that when i tried to eat a piece it tasted like i licked the bottom of a charcoal weber grill (after its cooled of course!). i was so disgusted by the taste i just had to say something to the waiter because it was basically unedible. what really upset me was their response..."that's how it should be!" and i said, "burnt?" which of course, they did not like. needless to say, i politely requested they remake it, which they did unhappily, but i believe as a responsible chef, you would never want to serve food if its not cooked properly. especially if its so burnt that it has a white sheen to it!!!
my overall feeling about sugarFISH! HOLY MOLEY!!! this is THE BEST sushi restaurant i have been to to date!! i loved it so much that i couldn't stop thinking or talking about it...PLUS...i went back a week later because i enjoyed it so much and couldn't wait to have it again. superb quality, simplistic and clean presentation, letting the fish speak for itself and/or having the good sense of knowing how to dress and compliment it just perfectly. i just feel like the warm, loosely packed rice is the best way to eat sushi and i know that i will most likely compare every other place i eat at to sugarFISH. i am definitely going to try sushi nozawa in studio city and see if chef nozawa will continue to amaze me with his understanding of how to serve fresh seafood.
if i could talk to chef nozawa, i would like to tell him thank you for bringing such joy to my palette. what i find so incredible is that it is such simple things, but served with so much thought and love. i truly appreciate the fact that each plate is served immediately to each person so they can enjoy it as he intended. he serves what he wants to and how he believes it should be and i have a tremendous amount of respect for that.
there are two locations, one in brentwood and the other in marina del rey. for those of you who love and enjoy eating sushi, you have got to check it out. sugarFISH is definitely my sushi restaurant of choice, it has the freshest fish i have ever had, and i will continue to come back here...over and over again.