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Sep 8, 2008 06:17 AM

Sea Urchin

Where can I find sea urchin in LA? I've been wanting to try this, but don't know of any restaurants that serve it. TIA

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  1. Water Gril has it live right now. I had it Friday.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cls

      Quality Seafood carries it in their tanks.

      Quality Seafood
      130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

      1. re: JEN10

        I would agree, JEN10, that Quality Seafood on the Redondo Pier is a great place to try live uni...fresh! However, be careful about the occasional shred of "shell;" when they crack it open, sometimes the very brittle urchin body shards end up falling inside and they can be quite sharp against the silky uni. Otherwise, this is a unique experience to eat the uni while the spines are still moving.

        1. re: liu

          For the noobish..

          how expensive are these guys, how many do you eat, and do they crack it and then you just go at it with a spoon or...??

          1. re: ns1

            They crack open the bottom of it, and you eat out of the inverted shell, urchin needles still waving about. You have at it with a spoon while the doomed urchin, like William Wallace, cries out for freedom.

            Video on my blog here:

            There's enough for one person in each urchin, for those who rather like uni.

            It would be a good idea to go with others and share a few different ones, as the flavor can range from sweet/briny to bitter/briny depending on the specimen.

            The in shell experience is much different from the cleaned up and boxed product you'll get at a sushi bar. It's much more primal, more tropic desert island survivor mode. Any uni lover should try at least once.

            Last time I had it at Quality Seafood was four years ago (wow, time flies), and the price then was $3.69/pound. No doubt the price has increased since then

            1. re: Professor Salt

              Funny you reference your blog, I was just there yesterday when I was looking up sea urchin...

              1. re: Professor Salt

                Professor Salt -- Your post defines the experience exactly! Yes, there is definitely something "primal" about it!!!

            2. re: liu

              That's it, I need to get back down there!

        2. You can buy it in a small wooden box at the Mitsuwa market in JTown - 333 S. Alameda, between 3rd and 4th.

          On the westside - 3760 S. Centinela, at the north east corner of Venice Blvd.


          2 Replies
          1. re: toitoi

            For reference, the Japanese center in Los Angeles is called Little Tokyo. I also enjoy shopping at Mitsuwa - good market!

            1. re: toitoi

              I think it was $8 for 80 grams (about 3 ounces) as I pondered picking up a box just today...

            2. Sushi Iki in Tarzana serves live uni - it's the best I've had in LA. Very sweet and fresh tasting.

              1. Pretty much any sushi restaraut. The better the sushi spot, the better the uni, usually. (uni is sea urchin roe, which is what you eat when you eat sea urchin.

                I think Simon does a dish of something with it? Not sure-sea urchin on spaghetti or noodles can be found at some high end places.

                Me, I prefer it nigiri style, fresh and yummy.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Diana

                  I agree with Diana, any good sushi restaurant will have uni (sea urchin). But a minor point of clarification: you aren't eating the roe when you eat uni nigiri, you are actually eating the gonads. Sometimes it is referred to as roe but you are actually eating the gonads which produce the roe.

                    1. re: Diana

                      Exactly! And I think that's why some people believe that uni has an aphrodisiac effect. Yet another reason to enjoy one of my favorite foods! ;)

                2. they had fresh sea urchin at the hungry cat in hollywood 2 weeks ago. $16. i'm going to post a photo of their raw bar and specials board. the sea urchin are the brown spikey things on ice.

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: neverfull

                    second attempt to post the photo...