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Spicy tuna on crispy rice? Why?


I'm new to LA and have been to three Japanese restaurants (Koi, Katsuya, and some small place in Weho) that have served spicy tuna and crispy rice. I tried it at each place and thought that it was awful.

What is the fascination in the LA area with this appetizer? Can someone help me understand?

Do you like it? Do you hate it? I would love to see if I'm in the norm or not.....


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  1. Folks, food habit discussions, like why someone likes chipped beef on toast, or tuna on crispy rice, are allowed on our Not About Food board. Chatty threads about personal food dislikes dilute the usefulness of our local boards, whose purpose is to share local chow tips.

    Please let us know where to find good examples of spicy tuna on rice. Or where to avoid bad examples Thanks.

    1. Sushi Iki in Tarzana makes a great version of spicy tuna on crispy rice. The rice is nicely crisped, but the tuna is what makes it great. Chef Eddie uses very good tuna for his spicy tuna and it makes the dish.

      1. Aside from the fact that I too find this dish over-rated and slightly repulsive... I've had it at Katsuya (bleh, crispy rice was cold). On a semi twist-my-arm-to-go-to-Sushi Dan-visit, a friend swore by their version (figures). It tasted the pretty much the same.

        Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... my suggestion is to stop trying this dish and start trying something else.

        1. Azami before it changed management made a great spicy tuna on crispy rice. Rather than a flat bar of rice, the chefs there would put the spicy tuna on a little dome of rice, with the result looking like a mini volcano.

          I remember finding the spicy tuna on crispy rice at Sushi-Katsuya in Encino being pretty good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TonyC

            Bar Hayama pushes this dish like nothing I've ever seen. Every time I've been the waiter is like, oh, and you must have the spicy tuna on crispy rice. I think Koi is really the place that really made it the dish that really made it popular in spite of fact that it's not very tasty. Regardless, the only version I've had of it that I've really liked is the one at Musha where it's basically rice cakes that you spoon spicy tuna over. Even then....

          2. I think you are referring to the Hanabi which is basically crispy rice with spicy tuna on top. I love this dish. I especially like the versions at Yu & Mi Sushi in Beverly Hills and Katana in West Hollywood. I can see why people don't like the hot and cold together but I think it's amazing when done well.

            1. YATAI on Sunset is your answer!!! Its like crack! get ready to start craving it!

              1. My favorite was the version at the much missed Yi on 3rd...

                But pretty darn close was the version I had at Hamakaze, they make theirs both with Spicy Tuna and Crab.... The Crispy Rice part is wider than most crispy rice sushi, so it acts more like a cracker, which I think enhanced the overall experience... I would return to this restaurant for that one dish alone (although we overall had a good experience there...)


                13327 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                1. We just had it at a restaurant on Sunset in WeHo. Everyone was swearing by it so we ordered it. The spicy tuna was good, the the crispy rice was way to thick in our opinion, should have been real thin, so it would be all crispy with with just a little rice. It was real thick and it tasted like a potatoe kugel which I don't care for.

                  1. if you ever go to magic mountain go to the restaurant called love sushi but do not go to the new hall one. a second place is called California sushi. love sushi is my go to place in santa clarita. and the price isnt to shabby either. oh and it might make it taste even better if u add the sweet eel sauce yum :D

                    1. Sure, it's not a traditional thing, but I make it at home all the time. When I have left over parts from tuna, mixing it up in thicker chunks with Japanese mayo and sriracha (e.g., spicy tuna) over some crispy rice is delicious.

                      If you don't like it, obviously don't order it. But lots of people love it. In restaurant, I'm more of a traditionalist because I want good fish, but when dealing with ends at home, love it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robert Thornton

                        FWIW, naomichi yasuda (who used to run the famous sushi yasuda in manhattan before he returned to tokyo) maintains that sushi is 90% about the rice, not the neta. the point is that as a consequence you probably won't find crispy rice served with neta at places that adhere to traditional ideas about sushi.