Z Sushi (Alhambra) - short review
- The Oracle Sep 10, 2007 11:04 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you... to all the 'hounds that post about Z Sushi!
After wanting to try it for ages - I finally made it there on Saturday night and was absolutely thrilled by the experience.
The fish was melt-in-your mouth bliss - not one 'off' fish thing the whole night. I loved the creativity of the chef's specials (not your run of the mill offerings or heavy on 'rolls'). If that wasn't enough, the staff was very nice and friendly... and the restaurant itself has this warm ambiance to it (would be a great date spot).
I only wish the sushi bar counter/chairs were different. From where I was sitting (in the middle of the bar), I couldn't see the sushi chef in action (blocked by the counter and frosted glass).
Price-wise - from looking at the menu, it's seemed slightly more expensive than typical strip-mall, sushi joints - but it's not even in the same league, as the quality FAR exceeds anything in the area (Pasadena, specifically).
I went to Z Sushi today for lunch. I've been eating sushi for 25 years or more and would not consider myself an expert except that I can tell quality fish. Well, I had the sushi lunch which consisted of a simple salad (yum), a bowl of miso (yum again) and sushi assortment that was of excellent quality and types of fish that I would have ordered myself if given the chance. I initially asked the waitress if she could tell me what pieces came on this special and she hesitated and just kind of smiled which lead me to understand that I get what I get which was absolutely fine! I know I had 4 pieces of California roll which I believe had real crab and included masago which is a real plus for me. The rest was an assortment of 8 pieces which I believe included, clam, salmon, shrimp, albacore, yellow tail, tuna and possibly a couple of others that I couldn't identify. The texture of each piece was wonderful and generous. There were no sinuous pieces. The clam had a nice bite without being too chewy. A very satisfying experience for $9.95 plus tax & tip. I can hardly wait to go back. Thank you Chowhounds. Again, you steered me in the right direction.
I guess I need to give Z another try--ate there a few weeks ago and had a really mediocre meal. Admittedly, we got only rolls (apart from a scallop nigiri that was really pretty bad--tasted off), but they were bland, poorly constructed, and uninteresting. What would people recommend I get next time?
while i generally just let toshi suggest things for me, try the seared salmon belly with yuzu kosho. also, you might ask him to make something with nagaimo - (NA GA EE MO) which will probably be a handroll with nagaimo (mountain yam), shiso, and sour plum.
toshi also does a reasonably good take on osaka style battera - with the mackeral (sp?), seaweed & sauce - but nigiri style. finally, try the anago - he prepares it himself, and he manages to get an almost fluffy texture, and his sauce is slightly smoky - he prepares the eel himself, so he has the bones to roast and add when making the eel sauce.
Bumping this up because we just went a couple nights ago, and b/c there are some seriously mixed reviews on various threads. We didn't have much sushi, but what we had was pretty good. The real stand out was this grilled black cod which was some of the freshest fish I've had anywhere in L.A. We stuck with a few standard little dishes, agedashi tofu, shishito peppers, chicken wings, though they had a number of specials on the blackboard. I can't believed I've never been to this place - what we had was heads and shoulders above anything else in the Pasadena/SG area (a pretty low bar, admittedly). I really loved the low-key vibe, low lighting, widely-spaced tables, etc.
There were plenty of kooky things on the menu (waitress asked if we wanted our peppers stuffed with spicy tuna - yikes), and lots of "s"/"z" substitutions to keep you eyes rolling. And, just glancing at the sushi bar on the way in, I saw a lot of pre-cut things and plastic wrap, but that's probably not the best way to gauge quality or expertise. Anyway, great meal, reasonable prices. I want to return, fast.