Having heard great reviews from ipsedixit and Tony C., especially Tony C.’s article about Sushi Ichi, I thought to try the place the next time it I was in Pasadena. After all, since when does Pasadena have great sushi? Well, since now.
I hit Ichi around 1:30 for a late lunch and asked for omakase. Ichi is a husband-and-wife team and I had a chance to talk with both of them. As a Westsider, my favorite sushi spots are Kiriko and Mori. In the South Bay where I work, I like Kanpachi.
Well whenever I’m in Pasadena, Sushi Ichi is it for me. The omakase consisted entirely of sushi, which is my preference. He asked if there was anything I didn’t want, and though I am a not big fan of most shellfish, I said “no”, but also asked that he include hamachi (farmed yellowtail) which is my favorite. He likes to use fish from Japan, several species which I had never had before. In seasoning some of his fishes, he likes to use mirin, lemon juice, Shiso and even a cucumber concoction which I found very refreshing. His fish-to-rice ratios favored the fish, which is great if you’re worried about carbs. He just loves making sushi and especially enjoys serving up unique and tasty dishes. He also said he is accommodating for vegetarians and other different requests. No sushi Nazi here. He and his wife are warm and wonderful hosts
Hamachi (yellowtail) had wonderful color and buttery texture, a sharp contrast to the subpar hamachi sashimi I had recently at Hide.
Sayori (Needlefish) was something I had never had before and enjoyed immensely.
Engawa (Halibut fins). A crunchy texture like a clam.
Tai (Seabream) Firm yet very tender. Tai usually seems
Aji (Spanish Mackeral) in mirin was my favorite of the day.
Kurodai (Black Seabream) Could not tell this apart from Tai.
Hotaru Ika (Squid)
Aoyagi (Orange Clam)
Kohada (Shad) baby sized. He used nearly the whole fish (sans head and tail) on each sushi.
Mirugai (geoduck clam)
Uni (Sea Urchin)
Marinated Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna) This was a nice surprise, as I sometimes grow tired of maguro. The marinade seemed to give it softer taste.
One more Roe dish, whose name I forgot, but enjoyed.
This came to about $100, truly an enjoyable experience. I normally don’t eat this much, but the experience was so enjoyable I just kept going.