Kanda Sushi (Thousand Oaks, CA)

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Kanda Sushi in Thousand Oaks provides authentic Japanese sushi but at a cost. Upon entering, you will notice the cleanliness and feng shui design.  The sushi bar seats 10-12 people, which is the preferred way to roll for any sushi pros.

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Uni ($10)

I ended up ordering the lunch special Kushiage for $11 and an order of uni for $10. The kushiage combo included miso soup, 6 piece California rolls and 2 BBQ chicken sticks. The California roll was nothing special (given) and the bbq sticks were decent but lacked flavor a regular yakitori stick would have. The uni was good, but they definitely skimped out on the urchin. After spending around $30 for lunch, I felt a little satisfied but wanted a bit more.  The quality and selection is there, but the price is about the same as high end sushi restaurants in DTLA that do everything better.

3637 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 230-0101

3-star

Sushi Damu (West Covina, CA)

wpid-20150829_212354_hdr.jpgAll-you-can-eat sushi?  With uni?!?!
Needless to say, this sounds like premeditated volcano ass in the making, but luckily my intestines were in tact after consuming the food. Parking was easy and free since it’s located in some kind of plaza/mall.

How it works; they give you a piece of paper that has three rounds. Each round you check off what you would like to have made and sent to your table. After your third round, they give you another paper to continue the madness. Unfortunately, they limit the uni to 2 pieces per person so I wasn’t able to uni the fuck out. Figured there would be some limit as uni is a premium sushi.

Besides the uni, which was fantastic, the fish quality was better than most other AYCE sushi joints. Although, that’s not really saying much as most AYCE sushi restaurants tend to have terrible to mediocre quality. wpid-20150829_214739_hdr.jpgThe ikura was a bit too salty for my taste but the salmon, yellowtail, and tuna were on point. No amaebi or toro but it’s somewhat expect for only $24.99 per person.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5/5. The price is great for the amount of sushi you get, but it won’t keep you away from your favorite sushi spot.

1230 Lakes Dr, Ste 101
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 699-1046

4stars1

Maruhide Uni Club (Torrance, CA)

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Uni and Ikura bowl

Maruhide Uni Club is THE place to go for your sea urchin desires.  Everything here has some uni in it, even the soy sauce/salad/soup is uni infused.  Needless to say, if you don’t like uni this isn’t the place for you.

Each dish is priced around $18 to $30 and with very generous portions.  There’s usually a wait as they get pretty busy during the normal dinner hours, but it’s well worth it as there’s nothing around town quite like it.  The uni and ikura bowl was straight up heavenly. One of my death row requests right here for sure.  The buttery uni with the salty ikura and fresh vegetables make this a well balanced and delicious meal.  Maruhide also sells fresh uni by the box for around $8 and $42 for the large box.

If you want to make excellent uni at home, you will just need some rice wine vinegar, sushi rice, dried seaweed, and uni.  Mix a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar to the cooked sushi rice and COOL to room temperature.  Roll up the rice with a strip of seaweed, seal with a single rice, then add the uni on top.  Dankness.

2130 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Torrance, CA 90504
(310) 323-2864

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Santa Barbara Fish Market (Santa Barbara, CA)

11036086_10205415680445284_6628429681377495825_nWhen I think Santa Barbara, I think of uni.  I travel great lengths to get the best quality.  So naturally, Santa Barbara Fish Market was bookmarked.  Being an hour plus away from LA, it isn’t a quick stop.

Unfortunately, I left with a few trays of some fairly weak uni.  They didn’t have any tuna poki or live uni or much selection, the main reason I drove up, and only had these WEAK trays of uni for $8.95.  I even called ahead to make sure they had some, but was apparently too late when I got there.
The uni tray was fairly disappointing as the quality was comparable to the uni I’d get at our loc13248_10205415681125301_4554058544842586337_nal Korean market (for $4.99).  It’s probably a good spot for locals to pick up seafood, but not exactly the game changer I was looking for.  Oh yeah, and the “workers” won’t shuck anything if they don’t feel like it.

117 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 965-9564

2 stars

EMC Seafood & Raw bar (Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA)

11755680_10206511441118616_2155209651326565950_nOh, Koreatown how I love your late night foodie spots.  EMC is located in the middle of Ktown inside a mini mall, which means easy parking. Awesome sauce!  Inside, it’s loud, crowded, and usually has a wait.  No reservations accepted.

Now on to the food: It’s alright.  For $95, you get the colossal EMC tower.  Our server told us it would be more than enough for 2 people.  After clearing the tower, I’d say it’s more for 1.5 people.  It came with 6 oysters (chefs choice), 6 mussels, 6 clams, 5 shrimp, 2 lobsters, and some uni.   Sounds like a lot of food, but I’d say 70% of it is shell.

The lobsters were steamed, cut in half, then served chilled on ice.  For me, this method takes out a lot of flavor.  The lobster meat was cold and flavorless.  Had to butter that shit up to even swallow the bug meat.  The rest of the tower was pretty good but I have a hard time justifying $100 and still bei5nkhteng hungry.

Overall, the happy hour (4pm – 7pm  or 10pm – close) they have is legit.  $1 oysters, cheap beer, and some other fried crap to fill the belly.  However, the EMC tower was a tad disappointing and the wait time wasn’t worth it.  Cool atmosphere and location though.

3500 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 351-9988

3-star