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Restaurants & Bars 2

Sushi Roku, Santa Monica

Leslie Brenner | Dec 4, 2000 03:51 PM

I guess this native Angelena-transplanted-to-New York has been jonesing for sushi more than I thought, because it was just about all I could think about once I arrived in L.A. for a week-long Thanksgiving visit. A great surprise, driving around Santa Monica at 10pm last Monday, was Sushi Roku. My husband and I snagged a seat at the bar--the place was hopping. Though since we had eaten lunch at Super-Rica in Santa Barbara, my better half was the less-hungry half. Couldn't eat at all, in fact. (Mexican food often has that effect on him, but we won't go into that.) So all he had was miso soup. I, on the other hand, ate plenty.

We sat at the left side of the bar, and the management was wonderfully cool about Thierry not ordering anything. The sushi chef took wonderful care of me (after being in New York so long, I had forgotten what that was like!) I started with albacore sushi with garlic ponzu. The fish had great texture, delicate flavor, and was set off gorgeously by the ponzu, perfectly balanced. A few orders later, I asked for bonita, but with a very slight shake of his head he steered me away, asking me if I like uni. Now uni and I go way back, but in the 25+ years I've been eating sushi, I've enjoyed it maybe twice. I told him I only like it if it's of amazing quality. He nodded gravely, and delivered the best uni I've ever had in my entire life. Rich, velvety, buttery, utterly clean but deeply flavorful. What an experience! And the meal continued at that level, finished off by a special striped sea bass sashimi with yuzu vinaigrette. The wonderful sushi chef offered to make me a half-order, then proceeded to add extra flourishes such as a little caviar and gold leaf. What treatment! Especially considering we were taking up two seats and only one of us was eating.

Even the tea was delicious--a very good grade of gyokuro, I think, and it was kind of frothed up.

I'm definitely coming back next time I visit L.A. I had never heard about this place, since I've been away for some time.

Anyone else been there or to their West Hollywood location? I'd love to hear...

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