Sushi Nozomi: An unexpected surprise

As my regular readers are aware, I eat a lot of sushi; I am pretty picky about the sushi I eat and there are only two people (Song and Alex) that I go to when I want it. Unfortunately, neither of my friends is currently available so I was prepared to abstain for a while. Tanya, on the other hand was not. Tanya is an interesting case because she only recently started eating sushi and she was only familiar with Song’s fusion style of preparation. Since we knew Song was selling his business, Tanya had been talking about visiting a new sushi bar and has been looking around and asking friends for recommendations. A couple of weeks ago she picked up a Los Angeles magazine that had an article that discussed the top 15 locations for sushi in Los Angeles; one of them was Sushi Nozomi in Torrance. I took a look around their website and was slightly uncomfortable; it was apparent they are more traditional sushi than the fusion style I had introduced Tanya to so I really was not sure she was going to like it. In fact, I had so little confidence on this being a positive experience that I did not bother bringing my camera. Tanya mentioned that if nothing else we can have some sake and beer, so the worst case scenario was not all that bad.

I have frequently said that the best restaurants are in strip malls, so I wasn’t taken aback by its location. It you want a seat with a view, sit at the bar and you can see how fresh the fish is. Their hours were the typical lunch (11:30-2:00PM) then closed until dinner (5:30-10:00PM). We got there shortly after they opened for dinner and there were already people seated. They have a very long sushi bar with three chefs at the ready; they all welcomed us with “Irasshaimase” as we entered. It was our first time there so I was prepared to sit at the first seats but there was a “Reserved” sign for the first 10 spots so we just walked down to the end where we met Toshi, our chef for the evening.

I explained to Toshi what Tanya was allergic to in case we ordered something that might contain shellfish or avocado. They had some predefined dinners as well as sushi and sashimi but we went with ordering a couple of rolls, the Rainbow Roll and Spicy Salmon. Even though Tanya is accustomed to the tasty sauces Song has with his rolls, these had no sauces and relied solely on the taste of the fish and rice; they were very good. I asked Toshi if he had a special roll that he had created to which I received a variation on the Cucumber Roll; at least, I think it was a variation. It was tasty and had a very nice presentation.

During the dinner I was talking with Toshi about how I had read that they had fish fresh from Tokyo on a daily basis. He told me it was true that two or three of the fish came from Tokyo, but some fish came from one country and some other fish came from somewhere else. It was obvious that he was pretty proud of the quality of the fish they served. All I know is that we will return and next time I will bring my camera. These photos are courtesy of Tanya’s iPhone.

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