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Sep 4, 2013 06:18 PM

Sakae Sushi – This Is Not Jiro, But It’s Still Awesome

**For full post and pics**:

Sakae Sushi is one of the three places I mentioned in my post on Mitsuru Café ( that I can remember going to for as long as I’ve been alive (the third place is Sakura-Ya) because all of them are older than I am. I’d feel like my blog is not complete until I’ve got a post on all three places.

The “restaurant” is not even a restaurant, but is rather a very small take-out place located right on Redondo Beach Blvd across the street from Pacific Square Shopping Center in Gardena. This is not the high end sushi that you find at say Mori or Zo rather I think of it as "comfort" sushi that you eat at home. They only makes 6 sushi items: nori maki, inari, ebi, saba, tamago yaki and California rolls. Here’s all of the sushi except California rolls because I don’t like them:

Inari is a fried tofu skin pouch that has been marinated in a semi-sweet sauce that I believe has mirin, sugar, soy sauce and dashi and filled with sushi rice. One note about all of their sushi is that the rice is rather sweet compared to most sushi places although I like it and it complements the sushi well. Normally you see these in the Japanese markets in their prepared food section, but those don't taste nearly as good as Sakae; the rice is very fresh and the tofu skins are marinated just perfectly. 8.5/10

Tamago Maki
Tamago maki is a futomaki roll that instead of having nori (dried seaweed) as the outside layer instead it has thin layer of tamago (semi-sweet egg omelette) layer on the outside. It is filled with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, tamago, pickled kampyo and oboro (the pink sweet stuff). It’s fairly self-explanatory in flavor and the version here is very good. 8.25/10

Nori Maki
This is the same as the tamago maki except the outside is nori instead of tamago and it will have a piece of tamago as part of the filling. This is also excellent. 8.25/10

Saba Sushi
Saba sushi is mackerel has been marinated in vinegar. My grandmother said that traditionally you were supposed to have white meat, a bit of dark meat and skin on each piece. This is the exactly how they do it at Sakae. I really like their version; the fish is just right and goes great with the rice. 8.25/10

Ebi Sushi (Cooked Shrimp
)I’m not a huge fan of ebi as I find it rather plain and that's the same here although I will say it's better than most since the shrimp tastes fresher. 7.25/10

Overall, I really like this place and if you happen to be in Gardena do yourself a favor and pick some up for yourself. Also, if you happen to be going anywhere around New Years and want a large order be aware that you need to call weeks or a month in advance because they do sell out for the large orders.

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    1. re: Sgee

      yah super old school, i love it

    2. Very nice, I've seen random pictures of this place on Yelp and online. What Sakae offers is Kansai style of which the saba sushi looks more like battera, but is categorized as oshizushi 押し寿司箱. I've seen the oval shaped ones at Mitsuwa before (NorCal) when they've had those various regional Japanese food themed fairs, usually white or silver fish "su-jime" (marinated in vinegar) from shinko to kodai.

      The tamago maki looks more like Futomaki in theme, except with egg as the outer layer (vs being used on the inside).

      Kasen in Fountain Valley offers saba battera zushi to go, also packaged in these awesome nice boxes. No pictures on Yelp but I've seen it on various Japanese blogs.

      3 Replies
      1. re: K K

        yah the saba sushi is basically battera; they do a really nice job on it and the slight sweetness to their rice really compliments it nicely, much better than mitsuwa etc. I've heard of it at kasen, but ive never been there (should go next time im home, its not far from me at all).

        the tamago maki is exactly that, futomaki with tamago on the outside instead of nori.

        if you happen to be in the area, going to LAX or driving back between LA and OC, definitely give it a try, it'll take you an extra 15 mins to stop by and pick some up

        1. re: K K

          Battera at Kasen is outstanding.

          If you can't eat the entire thing, you can request saba with konbu jelly as sushi. Kinda like a mini battera.

          1. re: Porthos

            awesome, ill def get it next time im at home. i have a soft spot for saba battera sushi, i grew up eating it, so i kind of love it

        2. Glad you mentioned this place again. As I mentioned before, the California roll is great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chandavkl

            i haven't had the California roll in a long time bc i generally dont like them that much, but im sure you're right bc everything here is pretty good