Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sushi Gen- Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Sushi Gen Exterior

Sushi Gen came recommended through our a dining companion's friend, after a few years I finally got to try it for once. Reason? My dining companion wanted to make up for that lunch at Ivy on the Shore which ruined a special occasion... so we came to LA again after just a few days! :) That wouldn't have happened if school had started, which it will quite soon.

Homeland Security Chevy Tahoe Police Car

While we were driving here, we saw a Homeland Security Federal Protective Service Police Chevy Tahoe SUV on the freeway. What? Homeland Security in LA? I've never seen one off these before. And after we got off the freeway to go to Sushi Gen, another Homeland Security car popped up parked in the fire lane. Time to take a picture.

Parking at Honda Plaza was easy also. The best part? With validation, parking was a cheap $2 dollars for the first two hours. Better rate than parking on the streets, which is a good alternative if you are just visiting Little Tokyo and not visiting Sushi Gen. That was definitely true when we drove by the streets, as the street parking was full in Little Tokyo.

Sushi Gen Interior

Sumo Painting at Sushi Gen

The inside was quite pleasant with lots of wooden tones. Interestingly, there were also variations of light. One part of the restaurant was dedicated to the sushi bar and that portion was bright. Another portion of the restaurant was also bright. The part closer to the kitchen however had yellow lighting that was not very bright, and we ended up sitting in that area.

And yes, we did wait for about 20 minutes or so after we arrived and went into the restaurant at almost 1:30PM for a later lunch.

Small Plates

Teacups

Table layouts were simple to start out with. But of course, the table was going to get crowded eventually. Nice soy sauce containers, and take note the characters on the tea cups spelled out Sushi Gen's name. Their water cups were also very simple and clean. I like!

Tofu and Sonomono

Our server came by to give us some complimentary appetizers. The stewed tofu and pickles (possibly sunomono?) came first to the table. The soft and tender tofu was stewed with some meat and a sweet soy sauce mixture that was tasty, and the pickles were simply salted cucumber and cabbage. Some say it's sunonomo but Sushi Gen's menu crossed that out from the included items while "pickles" are still on the menu. Anyone know?

Miso Soup

Awhile later came some miso soup which was your standard miso soup with some seaweed and green onion. My bowl didn't have any tofu in it, possibly my dining companion's had some.

Sashimi Plates

While we waited for our items to arrived, I took notice of multiple plates of Sashimi (15 USD) that were just placed on the employee working table. Five plates and counting! Or you could say, 15 times 5= 75 dollars of sashimi waiting to be eaten. In any case, it's very competitively priced for Japanese food- and in this case, very fresh fish in the works.

We also requested for some additional items and our server would always reply with a Hai! to every request or thanks. How interesting! They were exceedingly busy but the service was not rushed or annoying.

Salmon Teriyaki

Moving onto the main entrees, one dining companion ordered the Salmon Teriyaki (13 USD). The salmon was very tender abeit farmed and was a very generous slice, and the teriyaki sauce was lightly sweet with a hint of mirin and soy. To the side was a scoop of creamy potato salad, shredded lettuce with a tomato and mayo dressing (similar to thousand island in taste without the relish), and a orange slice. Also, a bowl of rice was provided to the side which had fat, sticky grains of rice. Mmm... some say you can get refills of the rice too.

Sauteed Cod (Red Snapper Filet)

Another dining companion ordered the Sauteed Cod (Red Snapper Saute) (11 USD). I don't really get why they put cod and red snapper on the menu (names are written as what the menu says), but the fish was quite tender and was breaded in a powdery batter that has a texture where after cooking you feel batter as well as powder when you eat it. To flavor the sauteed fish was a side of ponzu sauce, seen below, which also had some green onions and grated daikon radish in it. And like the salmon teriyaki, the plate came with potato and lettuce salad, a orange slice, and a bowl of rice.

Ponzu Sauce

Here's the bowl of ponzu sauce with the grated daikon radish and green onion.

Grilled Salmon Collar

The item I ordered was the Grilled Salmon Collar (15 USD), which also came with a sashimi appetizer (shown in the photo below), the ponzu sauce already seen, and a bowl of rice. To the side of the plate were a pickled carrot, grated daikon radish (which I added to the ponzu sauce), tender pieces of cooked squid, imitation crab shreds, a slice of tamago, and also some eel (? or fish) that was marinated in a sweetened soy mixture. As for the salmon, I requested it to come with less charred sections and my request was most certainly fulfilled with the meat barely even getting any char while the skin had some char. The skin was crispy and oily from all the natural oils of the fish, and the meat was very tender. Of course though, the items to the side (especially the eel and the ponzu sauce) brought additional flavor to what would just be a piece of fish grilled with no sauces or marinades. As for the tamago (egg), it was enjoyable and lightly sweet, but I enjoyed the tamago which I recently had on another visit to Shaab in Pasadena more due to the fact that it was smoother.

Sashimi Appetizer

Here's the sashimi appetizer which came with seven pieces of sashimi which were all very fresh and tasty. (tuna, yellowtail, and ? ) Underneath the lettuce were some seaweed.

Uni

The most expensive and special dish that we ordered was the Uni and Sashimi Combination (30 USD), which came with the sashimi appetizer and a bowl of rice. As you can see, the layout was quite similar to the salmon collar other than an addition of seaweed, a tuna mixture (slightly spicy), and some wasabi. Basically you could make your own sushi with the seaweed and the rice or make a combination with all the ingredients you had available.

This was the dish that enticed my dining companions to return again and bring me there as well, as the uni (sea urchin) was scrumptious! First of all, it was a giant serving of uni- what restaurants would use for uni sushi. Secondly, the uni was ultra fresh. There were no weird colors which would be a sign that it was not fresh, and the taste was clean, creamy, sweet with fresh sea flavor. No fishiness, no awkward flavors. Straight up tasty uni. I liked it.

Arcadia Street Sign

Overall, a very nice lunch at Sushi Gen. The lunch was very reasonably priced for what they offered, and the food was delicious and fresh. Lunch is of course the best time for an excellent deal! We'll be coming back soon when we want to drive to LA. :) And of course, please offer any Japanese restaurant suggestions, since I'm not very knowledgeable on the Japanese food dining scene in LA. :) Other than knowing Sasabune and Urasawa are some very high end sushi restaurants.

And the photo? Unlike our trip to the Lobster where we encountered street signs that were named after universities (like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, etc.), this time we encountered a street name of a city: Arcadia. :)


Sushi Gen
422 E Second St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 617-0552

Sushi Gen on Urbanspoon

Sushi Gen in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

13 comments:

Kirbie said...

I love Sushi Gen, esp the lunch special. Another good place is Sushi Go 55. It's nearby, and about the same/ maybe a little cheaper than Sushi Gen. They have great sashimi sets and chirashi sets.

noobcook said...

US$15 for that plate of sashimi sounds quite reasonable ^^

KirkK said...

Hey ETE - Agree with Kirbie, above. But if you're patient enough to deal with the lines at Sushi Gen, you'll often be rewarded with solid, but not spectacular sashimi, that's priced reasonably.

tigerfish said...

The tofu appetizer looks plain but glad it tastes good! I wonder if they have a branch in Northern California....hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

this post makes me want to visit Sushi Gen soon. I thought they were pretty pricey, but I'll make sure to go for lunch.

I personally recommend Hama Sushi. It's my favorite sushi spot...ever. If you go, make sure to order the albacore toro, salmon of course, red snapper (dont use soy sauce), and spicy tuna hand roll (best one i've ever tasted). Their other sushis are good as well. I'm not a big uni fan, but I think they're supposed to be good there.

EatTravelEat said...

Kirbie,
Thanks for the recommendation! Look pretty good plus it's slightly cheaper too. :)

Noobcook,
Most certainly! Although I probably don't want to eat that much raw fish...

Kirk,
Ha...two for Sushi Go 55! What would be spectacular but not too expensive (and still reasonable) then? :)

tigerfish,
Yeah, it was! Kind of like soy sauce tofu in a sense. Don't think they have one in NorCal though. :(

Anonymous,
Seems like it until you actually see how big everything is for lunch! The generous serving makes up for the slightly higher price.

Hama sounds good, it's just quite far away for us! :)

joanh said...

mmmm uni!

the actor's diet said...

i've been wanting to go to sushi gen for a while - gotta try a lunch special!!!

EatTravelEat said...

joanh,
Completely agree!

The Actor's Diet,
Most definitely!

sinosoul.com said...

Toshi's over Sushi Go 55 and Sushi Gen anytime, any day, twice a day. The service & environs is night and day.

EatTravelEat said...

Tony,
Thanks for the recommendation! Looks awesome. High rated Yelp reviews, your blog post, Gourmet Pig's blog post, and tons of positive ratings and photos. Guess I'll have to check it out next time!

Cindy. Lo. said...

I love their tamago nigiri, so good and it looks good! By the way, super big bowl of uni there (jealous!)

EatTravelEat said...

Cindy,
Definitely it was good! You should visit again next time you visit LA. :)