Of course L.A. has exquisite sushi, but that falls out of many peoples' price range. A couple of weeks ago my friend Ali, from Ali Loves LA blog, turned me on to a killer sushi place - Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood in Alhambra.
Normally "fusion" in any restaurant name sends me running for the hills, but I trusted Ali's taste and was delighted when she remembered that we talked about going there together. She kindly took the initiative to make the plans.
The meal felt completely decadent and luxurious.
Just look at these photos. Uni, or sea urchin, for days. The bed of coarse salt and spiny shell held a stack of at least 8 pieces of uni. I've never had so much of it in one order before and savored every creamy, rich, briny bite.
I hadn't planned on taking photos, so I did not bring my camera. After seeing the presentation I reached for my phone and took these somewhat grainy shots. I hope to update them with clearer shots after a future visit.
We both seem to have identical taste in sushi and easily agreed on all dishes. We tried to order the more unusual, yet more sustainable, anago (sea eel), but they ran out.
We ordered the more common unagi, fresh water eel. This was one dish Ali mentioned she did not like as much as the others. Upon tasting this version, she liked it!
The eel's outer crunchy texture and inner tenderness balanced with the not-too-sweet sauce.
|toro, maguro, sake|
The sashimi bowl consisted of the most plump, tender, melt-in-your-mouth fish. On the left, the Toro's Toro, blue fin tuna belly, had a buttery texture and somehow it just felt wrong enjoying fish that much. So wrong that it felt right!
In the middle, the maguro, tuna, came in the loveliest deep red shade and tasted as good as it looked.
While not traditionally Japanese, I can't ever resist the sake, or salmon, sashimi. It has a buttery mouthfeel, not too different from the toro, but perhaps a bit restrained in its richness.
Although I refer to the buttery textures, these tender fish slices are loaded with antioxidant Omega-3 fatty acids, so no need to feel guilty.
It's been a long time since I found ankimo, monkfish liver, on a menu. These delectable disks are often called the foie gras of the sea. It too is rich, creamy, velvety and silky.
They definitely have a "liver", slightly gamey, flavor. This dish also included ponzu sauce (a citrus soy sauce) with chopped scallions, seaweed and cucumber.
|blue crab hand roll|
The blue crab hand roll consisted of fresh chopped, slightly chilled blue crab rolled in warm sushi rice and wrapped in nori (toasted seaweed). This version was packed with crab and probably the best version I've had to date.
It ended up as the most pricey item on our bill.
While it looks like we might have indulged in the omakase, or chef's choice meal, we picked all dishes on our own. At times the waitresses were taken aback by the amount of items we managed to consume, but that is only a testament to the taste and quality of the items.
This meal will live in my most satisfying food memories for some time.