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Sushi Snob Seeks Solace in Pasadena

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Recently moved to the area with the wife, who is not a huge raw fish fan. We're looking for presentation, rolls with flare and most of all, that extra chutzpah that separates Teriyaki Boy from Nobu...all the while we still want to be able to afford it.
We have tried Zebyre(sp?), Sushi of Naples and Sushi Roku. All were okay...Roku was so far the best...but it's not there. Is there that one secret spot in Pasadena where people who know "good fish" go?

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  1. Try Z Sushi at 1132 Garfield in Alhambra, essentially adjacent to San Marino. Probably the best in the area.

    Twoheys is also right there -- great burgers and chips.

    1. i second the plug for Z - in the san gabriel valley, Z is the only place near pasadena i'd recommend.

      1. matsuri on green just east of lake is decent. note i say decent, not stellar. slim pickins in the SGV that's for sure.

        1. Although it's not in Pasadena, I believe it's worth the 10 minute drive to the south east. Try Kiyosuzu Sushi on Baldwin (between Huntington and Duarte) in Arcadia. A small place and not the most organized but so what! I've only been there twice myself but was impressed with the freshness, the quality and the size of the fish served in their sushi nad sashimi. Try their Spicy Cat's Eye (tuna roll) and the Toro collar, they're delicious. Here's a good step by step photo review from a local who goes by Perceptorone on Chowhound...


          1. I third the Z Sushi recommendation and add Japon Bistro on Colorado. They create some of the most inventive, cooked rolls and dishes I've had. Definitely get the bass two ways. They also have an extensive sake list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chica

              I'm a fan of Japon Bistro. They have these spicy tuna-stuffed peppers, tempura and fried, that I just can't get enough of. We've had good toro and stringy toro, excellent hamachi and some tasty, inventive rolls. I think Roku is so overpriced and average. Matsuri is OK, but I prefer Sushi of Naples to it. Out of all of them, I think we go to Japon the most (of course, it is closer to our house than all of them). But we also like the sake list; we always get bamboo princess, which is the most reasonably priced.

            2. I support the Kiyosuzu recommendation. The food quality is superb so don't let the accomodations fool you. Everything I've had there, sushi/sashimi and the cooked items have been rather tasty!!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Freddie

                How funny (and cool) to see the Kiyosuzu rec! My dad's been a regular there since it's close by, affordable, and he knows the chef so Dad gets the good stuff.

                They're fine, overall, esp when you've got non-raw fish eaters in the crowd. Try their jia jia noodles if you're in a home-cooked noodle mood. Their kama (the yellowtail collar) is super meaty, their ankimo's (fish liver in ponzu sauce) is enormous, etc and they have a decent selection of fish.

                I will say, however, that for a "sushi snob" and for those who don't rely on rolls and cooked meats, this definitely isn't your place for quality. If you're looking for better fish, a great lunch deal, and want to veer away from the super laid-back nature of K, I'd head a few blocks over to Sakana (on Duarte I *think*, west of the Baldwin intersection). Our family knows both sushi chefs well, and we give the Sakana chef bonus points for a more delicate, "pro" approach to his cutting and kitchen. The chef at K is a chatterbox, much friendlier, and quick but a little sloppy in his execution. Cons at Sakana, on the other hand, can be the somewhat cold look of the place and the indifferent service of his wife waitress.

                Take your pic! Either way, I'm tickled to be in NYC and looking at pics of my hometown standby (K). TGI-Chowhound!

              2. We've been to Sakana, and thought it was just OK. Hands down, our favorite place for sushi is Futami, in the Pavilions shopping center on the corner of Foothill and Myrtle in Monrovia. It's not a fancy place, but the fish is the best. For us, it is the place to which all others shall be compared...

                For fancy rolls and cooked dishes, we like Maki & Sushi, off Huntington Drive in Arcadia.