Hanabi recently opened in the new shopping center at PCH and 2nd Street in the southernmost reaches of Long Beach. Looking for some new sushi options, I decided to give Hanabi a try - in fact, I gave it three. Three strikes, it's out.
Hanabi has a sit down restaurant with a small sushi bar; I counted 12 seats. It offers a very limited variety of fish. On my first visit, within a few days of opening, I sampled some tried and true favorites, among them hamachi and a tekka maki. Ho hum, at best. Second visit, a toro tataki special was available. This turned out to be the only highlight of the three visits: a large portion of excellent toro sashimi over shredded daikon. It was such a large portion that I couldn't eat anything else, so opted to return, hoping that the second meal, and not the first, was the norm.
It was not to be at Hanabi. I sat down and ordered a hamachi handroll. The sushi chef told me he'd never made one before. Warning buzzers went off in my head, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and told him to do his best. It was passable, but barely. The rest of the meal was, again, very ho hum. After thinking about my three experiences there, I realized that the rice left an aftertaste or mouthfeel that I've never had anyplace else.
I spoke to the cashier upon leaving, and learned that Hanabi, and its sister restaurants, Southern Tsunami on Santa Monica in Bevery Hills and in Irvine, are new ventures of a company that pacakages sushi for sale in supermarkets. That explained the whole thing. If you're looking for supermarket sushi just a tad fresher than at your local market, head over to Hanabi. Otherwise, this one's a miss.
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