Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sakae Sushi - Gardena

うお〜い、ただいま〜。。 お土産持ってきたでえ〜。。。 ** プへー (´Д`) **

Brought home a sushi dinner one night... Opening the nicely wrapped package was fun.

I randomly found Sakae Sushi when I decided to explore the Rannai Bldg where the difficult to ignore Spoon House was located (right across the street from the Marukai Pacific Market and Mottainai Ramen).

This building was like one of those ubiquitous two-story Southern California Pulp Fiction apartment complexes. But a smaller version...

..With a pretty Asian garden inside. Oh, and two extremely ripe fruiting kumquat trees.

The dogs from one of the tenant groomers were barking and I thought I should leave before I looked too suspicious. Then through one of the back screen doors along the corner I smelled a waft of intensely fresh rice vinegar and also witnessed this tower of delivered Kanpyo..(!!)

"Spoon House must be creating some crazy fusion pasta dishes.." I thought until I remembered that I had briefly driven by a large Helvetica typefaced sushi banner.

Sakae Sushi turned out to be a small order-in-and-pick-up sushi spot that is pretty much all but an order window and a vinyl covered waiting bench inside. This was my second visit where my first curious was only a peek through the door. The folks were super duper nice and seemed to be used to being asked questions about their menu. Unlike your averagely everything and anything Sushi Boy, Sakae specializes and offers only six total variations of sushi from the three Futomaki Rolls, Inari, and Oshizushi that they do. From what I gather they've been in business since the 1960's.

Like at most donut or bagel shops, different numbered combinations can be had at fixed prices or you can simply mix and match to your choosing as well. Full menu combinations here.

Calling in is recommended but in my case my interest was partly in absorbing their wonderful history through my five (or maybe six) senses (Ok, I didn't use my taste buds until I got home..). I ordered a 12-piece two of each - Saba, Ebi, Inari, Tamago, Nori, and California Roll. (~$10)

The super cute packaging made me feel like skipping all the way to my car, haha. :)

So here is what they looked like under my homey indoor incandescent lighting..

First off everything was delicious! What they call Nori is your classic Futomaki with Kanpyo, Tamago egg, marinated Shiitake mushroom (bursting in sweet deliciously intense reconstituted shiitake flavor), Poached Spinach, and Denbu sweet fish powder maybe on the conservative side.
The Saba (mackerel) I found pickled with a stronger salt flavor and without the thin kombu skin but did a good job complementing the sweeter rice. The poached Ebi shrimp was fresh tasting and BTW with the Saba are the two Oshizushi variety here. The California Roll was the thickest I've seen (equally sized to the Futomaki) with a generous amount of Avocado and the typical surimi Krab replaced with the same shrimp in their pressed Ebi but minced. The flavorful Inari is not overly wet like I sometimes see and are at the perfect cohesive moistness.

The Tamago is the Futomaki wrapped with a sweet omelet instead of nori, sometimes called a Datemaki. The tamago is fine in texture with a lightly sweet pleasant egg flavor.

The rice was nice and sticky and cooked perfectly, flavored maybe on the sweeter side, where the vinegar at least this day was low. I ate them almost like a dessert and I feel these would be a perfect gift to bring along to that next house get together. Fresh, simple and tasty treats. Except for me it'll have to be one I attend on the way back from L.A. of course. :P
In any case I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to eat that refrigerated pack at the grocers again.(!)

The few times I visited the area I witnessed Sakae Sushi being patroned by all. Customers ranged from young to elderly and of many ethnicity. Even a few signed celebrity photos adorned one of the walls. While it's not hard to figure out I have become an immediate fan of Sakae Sushi, I'm excited to know that Kristi Yamaguchi is as well! なつかしい! :)

Sakae Sushi, 1601 West Redondo Beach Boulevard, Gardena, CA 90247


Anonymous said...

Hi Dennis! I love places like this. wish there was one in San Diego.

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - wow, what a cool find!

Dennis K. said...

Hi CAB, I was thinking of the same thing! The place was never crowded but there was a constant flow of people. They're at a perfect location with a good sized parking lot in the back as well.

Hi CC, yeah I always love finding these! Cause often times holes disappointingly can turn out to be just that.. haha.

Anonymous said...

Aw, I love the packaging!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirbie, yeah I kept the wrapper! I still need to check out Hogetsu one of these days....