Restaurants & Bars 4

HamaSaku review

Sunshine Girl | Feb 16, 2005 05:19 PM

So I have now added HamaSaku to my growing list of sushi establishments on the westside that I have tried.

Now, I am not a sushi expert, nor am I a purist (I like the Eel/cucumber rolls with the eel sauce, so shoot me!). But, I've tried Sasabune, En Sushi, U-Zen, Kifune, Hide Sushi, Sushi Masu, Kiriko, Tengu, and others. So I have some places to compare it to.

NB - I did not partake of any of the hot food menu items, strictly sushi and rolls.

So here are my thoughts on the place:
ROLL LOVERS WITH EXTRA CASH WILL LOVE THIS PLACE. There are 2 pages of rolls, most named after celebrities (the Christina Aguilera roll) - (from one of the other review sites - "A-list specialties populate a menu focused on innovation and experimentation, evidenced by the "Jennifer Roll" (Jennifer Aniston is made of mango, salmon and avocado), the "Harrison Roll" (Harrison Ford is made of tuna, yellowtail and spicy mayo) ..etc.).

However, note that roll lovers will need the extra cash. As stated earlier on this board, many of the rolls are quite pricey. They range in price from $9 - $20. Now, given, each roll usually has 6 or 8 pieces (unless a hand roll, then it's 2 I think) and come on their own plate with special sauces, but the majority of the rolls they list are $14 - $20 (not many of those $9 guys).

I will add that the rolls we tried were quite tasty (the 405 roll, for $16 (I think) was avocado over rice over soy paper (not nori) with spicy tuna and eel with two sauces) and fresh. I've never had any kind of roll with soy paper instead of nori, and I thought it quite good. But for $20??? I just don't see the price being justified, other than the fact that all the pretty people do go here, and they're willing to pay that amount. I'm someone who is not caught up with pretenses or image, I'd rather just have good quality food for a price that my bank account can afford.

The presentation of food was quite good, and I noticed people at tables next to us (obviously regulars who know the owner) getting all sorts of special treatment and food items, like crazy looking deserts with spun sugar that towered 10 inches up on the plate(we, on the other hand, were told that we would need to leave by 7:45 as they were completely booked - on a tuesday night!!!).

We also had some hamachi, kanpachi, albacore, yellowtail, spicy tuna rolls, and eel rolls. Mind you, the "non-special" rolls, like the spicy tuna and eel, were about the size of the regular tuna rolls you see at the grocery store (about the width of a cigar). Nothing impressive there - I'd opt for the rolls from Mitsuwa before this. The prices on the sushi pieces were pretty standard ($6 - $10, depending on it being sushi or sashimi), and the fish was definitely very fresh, with the portions of fish being quite sizeable. But again, nothing really stood out for me.

Overall, for the items we had (about 2 "fancy" rolls, and the rest being sushi or regular rolls), pre-tip, was $82 (we just had water).

Service was hard to come by for water refills, to ask for the check, or anything else.

If someone else was paying, I'd go back. If I had to pay with my hard-earned money, I'd be reluctant to go, and would strongly suggest some of the other places around.

Bottom line:
If you're looking for "scene-y" sushi, and you have no problem dropping $20 for rolls, then go for HamaSaku. If you're a sushi purist and you just want sushi and sashimi to be what is focused upon, and you don't care one bit about fancy rolls, I'd suggest elsewhere. You'll probably have a wider variety, and be happier that people are there for the fresh fish, not for Jennifer Aniston rolls.

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