Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sushi Gen (Los Angeles, CA)

I have heard of a fabled lunch special for many moons. One that consists of Toro, hamachi, salmon, red snapper, and tuna sashimi, cooked fish, and smoked fish on a single plate for $15. I thought that such a deal was only a myth. How could one ask for Toro for $15!? What lengths will I have to go to travel to such a mythical land? What fierce beasts must I face and what harsh challenges must I endure!?

Apparently.... at Sushi Gen, the only thing I have to endure is a long line when the place opens at 11am. Oh, that and navigating the rough streets of LA!

Located in the heart of Lil Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, the Sushi Gen Sashimi lunch plate is a mecca for all lovers of a good deal. Normally, $15 for sashimi or sushi makes me think of wet, chewy, pieces of fish sitting out for far too long at a crappy little sushi restaurant. The only deal you get from that is a promise to visit the toilet shortly after.

Fortunately Sushi Gen is not a crappy little sushi restaurant. Well known in Little Tokyo for fresh fish at reasonable prices, the Sushi Gen Sashimi lunch special really takes that belief to heart.

You can call ahead for reservations for the first seating, it's the only time you get can get a reservation. The first seating is at 11am and by 10:45 there was a line about 25 deep in front of us. Everyone was seated and I'm sure if you didn't make a reservation it didn't matter... we were the only party in line that seemed to have a name in the reservation book.

When the waitress came with the menus we said valiantly "No menu's ms. We just want the Sashimi Lunch." She knew what we had come for and sprung into action.

First served a heaping mound of tofu little steamed with miso flavor.

Soft silken tofu that easily absorbs the light miso soup drizzled on top. A way to fresh up your palate for what was to come, kick start the taste buds without overwhelming the potential delicateness of the fish.

After clearing our bowls away, we get a massive plate placed right in front of us. IT HAS ARRIVED! THE FABLED SASHIMI PLATE! OH WHAT MAJESTY!

Starting from the bottom left going across

Bottom Left
  • Negi Toro: Chopped up fatty tuna mixed with green onions. The tuna imparts its richness and fat to the light bite of green onion. I really love this stuff with rice.
  • Shredded crab meat
  • Negi Salmon belly: Slightly spiced, with the same mushy/oily consistency that you get from the Negi Toro but with a less fatty texture and mouthfeel.
  • Slices of raw cuttlefish served on a bed of cooked kelp. The saltiness of the kelp mixed with the crisp bite of squid was just as refreshing as the tofu in the beginning.
  • Red Snapper
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Octopus
  • Hamachi: all 5 were very good in quality
  • Toro in chopped large chunks.

Top row
  • Smoked fish, the smoke releases the sweetness of the fish, like a dried sardine
  • Grilled Yellowtail
All that, for $15! Sorry for the lack of detail when it came to the "tastes/quality" of the food. I'm by no means an expert in the flavors and textures of Sushi, so I'd just be lying to you and me when I start spouting off like I'm writing a tasting note for wine =P. Safe to say, it was pretty damn good for $15. I'd say it'd be pretty for for $25. Granted do not expect to be blown away, expect to get more than you pay for with good quality fish with plenty of food to eat!

Hopefully I let you in on one of LA's little lunch secrets... Enjoy!

Sushi Gen
422 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012



Derek said...

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KirkK said...

Hey Clayfu - Sushi Gen is well worth the price....if you can deal with the wait, which is much longer than it used to be when we used to hit up the place.

Charlie Fu said...

Kirk: I agree, well worth the price. We went on a Friday and the wait was only for it to open. When we left not many people were lingering around outside. Wonder if that's more the exception than the rule?

Melissa Good Taste said...

i <3 sushi!

Nancy Deprez said...

Looks wonderful indeed! I can't believe that's just $15!

Charlie Fu said...

Nancy: it is truly a heck of a deal! I want to go again and again and again!

Melissa: Me too =)

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