SUSHI KEN in Torrance is Outstanding
I've been going to a really great Sushi place in Torrance called Sushi Ken. I haven't written a review (although I knew I didn't have to after my 1st visit) because I needed to make sure it was the real deal and was consistently good over multiple visits. It's hidden in a plaza behind a Cost Plus on Hawthorne. It's very traditional sushi and they don't do the roll concoctions you'll find at many sushi restaurants today. The fish is flown in from Japan daily and they always have a great selection of fish. Being in Torrance they cater mainly to the Japanese clientele that live in the area.
Sushi - Excellent! It's my personal favorite in the Southbay and is also on par with Mori, Nishimura etc. in WLA. What is great is that the owner is the only one behind the counter so you always get the best service rather than one of the assistants at a more popuplar place. The Nigiri is perfect size and in balance with the rice. He does traditional sushi but does not force the Sushi Nazi attitude on you. He understands that there is a limit and feels that the paying customer has the right to experience a flavor that they feel is the best for that person. You won't get attitude if you ask for wasabi other than what is put on the sushi. He doesn't like confining poeple to eat a certain way. He feels that sushi like all foods is only as good as the person eating it thinks it is. It's fun to pick his brain during a meal to hear his stories. I also share my experiences with him about places like Nozawa or Mori... not being able to dip in my own soy sauce vs. them choosing how much I should like. For me, (nothing against other Sushi places of which I also frequent) the more I understand and educate myself about sushi the more I am starting to figure out that it's okay to like what I like and convey that to the sushi chef. It's okay to ask for a tad less wasabi or a tad more depending on what the sushi is and it's okay to add more soy sauce to something I might feel tastes better to me if it had a tad more soy sauce on it.
Decor - New and very clean. Traditional light wood counter and modern black and marble tables. The lighting is a bit bright compared to what I'm used to. They also have a unique counter table attached to one end of the sushi bar. I tried the table out with a party of 3. 1 of which was a not so intense sushi person that didn't want to sit at the counter. It worked out perfectly because the 2 of us sat against the side of the sushi bar and were served as though sitting at the counter our 3rd sat next to us as if on a normal table.
Service was great and friendly. The Sushi Chef/Owner was truly nice. He doesn't have the Sushi Nazi type attitude and is extremely pleasant and fun to talk to. His English is pretty good too.
Price - Can't forget the most important part... It's much cheaper than Nozawa, Mori etc.
Omakase is 60 - 75 depending on how much you add on at the end of the course. Several different styles of Omakase as you become more of a regular the menu changes.
22831 Hawthorne Blvd # Bi
Torrance, CA 90505
ToroTaku, thank you for the post. Last weekend, we were looking for something above and beyond Kiriko/Azami/Tama, etc., and found this.
$33 for the basic omakase. 14 pieces of edo-style fish/ika/etc. in a perfect progression. Like you mentioned, there was no schtick; nothing was mind-boggling, but everything was solid, fresh, perfectly sized with great rice and matched with FRESHLY GRATED WASABI of which the portion was generous. I didn't get to know the chef as well as i liked, but he saw noted our sincerity after having to wait an hour at the neighboring yakitori and mentioning we drove all the way from San Diego to sample his fare.
We will be back and often.
great review, I'm looking forward to trying this place, some of our recent favorite sushi restaurants have gone away, so good to hear about this close to home potential gem. We also tried kanzen sushi on torrance blvd recently - it was interesting, definetly non-traditional. We liked some of the dishes we tried, but really need to go back again to give it a fair shake. We really are spoiled in the south bay with the plethora of asian dining choices available.