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Dec 30, 2007 06:42 AM

Fresh Uni at The Hungry Cat

I've eaten plenty of uni in sushi restaurants, but I have to say that scooping uni out of a sea urchin at Hungry Cat's new raw bar set a new standard for me. The flavor is more subtle, a little sweeter, and much more delicate. The raw bar had two urchins when I walked in. I ordered one, and the other was gone by the time I walked out. It's definitely a case of grab it if you see it.

If you're curious how the remodeling at The Hungry Cat has affected the menu, rest assured that the cooked items are as great as ever. While they currently don't have my beloved crab legs in mustard butter, they have a really tasty sofrito and clams (a riff on a previous menu item, chorizo and clams). And my current favorite there is simply getting whole fish: the head and tail are left intact but the backbone is removed and it's stuffed with aromatics like lemon, rosemary and tarragon, depending on what's fresh that day.

They've got seats available for New Years Eve, if anyone's looking for a place to go that evening, especially for a later seating which includes a champagne toast. (I'm only going to be there for an early turn, opting instead to head out to a nightclub for my toast.)

So yeah, fresh uni at the Cat. The presentation is simple: they take the sea urchin out of the case, put it on a plate and that's it. It makes that stuff that comes out of a little wooden box in the Japanese fridge section seem almost pedestrian.

The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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  1. Man, that sounds awesome.

    I haven't been able to get uni like that at a restaurant since I left chicago.
    How was the rest of the stuff at THC?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lebelage

      When I'm very lucky, I am able to get my happy urchin at IZAYOI...I love those fun prickly shells sitting in front of me with their savory goodness.
      Can't wait to get to the new Hungry Cat!

    2. Very cool!

      Thanks for the report, SauceSupreme. :) I can't wait to try that out (hopefully this week).

      1. The only other place in town I've seen uni like that is Quality Seafood in Redondo Beach, and I know they don't always have it.

        Sounds great, thanks for the report.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Faulkner99

          Unfortunately I'm not in Cali anymore...

          But occassionally I can get a hold of sea urchins for myself at the local asian market.

        2. Fresh uni is often available at Sushi Iki in Tarzana. Spendy (like all their "live" offerings) but incredibly delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Debbie W

            Sushi Iki has the best uni, IMHO. Amazingly sweet and nutty, much more so than at sushi restaurants that serve uni from the wooden tray.

          2. what was the cost per pc on the fresh uni?

            3 Replies
            1. re: rickym13

              Unfortunately I couldn't tell you, as I seem to have dislocated the receipt.

              1. re: rickym13

                This place sells them mail order, I've heard the company is good


                Anyway, I'll be buying some soon and can report back about the quality. $5 each is reasonable though.

                1. re: rickym13

                  I went back for New Years Eve dinner. $14 for the uni, which sounds like it's in line with what it should cost at a restaurant if you can get it for $5 mail order.