If you regularly read my blog, you know my husband and I are REALLY into sushi above all other food options. We have been to dozens of sushi places big and small all over LA, and like most sushi-lovers, have come to be quite opinionated about our preferences.
In short, we seek out the highest quality fish prepared in a way true to Japanese tradition.. We do not order california rolls or anything containing sweet or creamy sauces. We are not big fans of the whole Nobu-jalapeno thing either.
If you are of a similar philosophy, I encourage you to check out Sushi Nozomi in Torrance. We have been going there for about two years now (and before that when they were Kazan) and are regulars. I decided I could not keep them a secret any longer and upon finishing one of the most amazing meals yet, decided to finally spill it.
Just up the street from the big Japanese Auto headquarters, you will find Nozomi ensconsed in a large stripmall that caters to the local Japanese community. It is well-lit, has a fairly large bar, along with several tables and tatami rooms. Besides phenomenal sushi, they have some excellent hot menu items as well. But we will save that for another blog post. For now, this is about the sushi.
One of the things I love about living in Torrance is the extreme specialization in Japanese restaurants. You can choose Japanese restaurants by region, by style, by specialty. Not just noodle restaurants here; Soba in one, ramen in the other. There are places just for Yakiniku, just for Tempura, just for Okonomiyaki, etc. Well, sushi is no different.
Nozomi is the place to go for snapper. The last few times we were there, they have offered more than five varieties, sometimes closer to ten. I have learned a lot about the range of texture,color, and flavor in snapper. Some resemble a simple white fish. Some are as rich and buttery as yellowtail.
Of course, they also have the most amazing Uni (they can actually get the super-high end Santa Barbara stuff typically shipped off to Tokyo) Toro, kohada, Ankimo, sayori, and, well, just ask the chef to hook you up. If he brings it to you it will be good. This may sound silly but this is one of the few places where I actually enjoy and look forward to my “dessert” of Tamago (egg custard.) It truly is moist, custardy, and flavorful and has just the right amount of sweetness. It is just really spot on.
But besides offering some of the highest quality fish you can get this side of the Pacific, they also specialize in just the right garnish. Each piece is lovingly accented with a tiny but a perfectly paired topping of some kind. Perhaps just a bit of yuzu and some Himalayan salt, or maybe a bit of kelp. But they brought out something this past friday that really amazed me. A ponzu gel. This was pure genius. I love ponzu as much as the next person, but I hate the way it often soaks into the rice, ruining the texture and getting you all sticky. Plus, the distribution of rice-fish-sauce in your mouth is never quite right. THe chef observed this problem and by mixing the ponzu with agar-agar in secret proportions and forming it into a sheet, he was able to place small “slices” of this gel on the fish to make the perfect bite.
Below is a picture of the gel in action on a piece of snapper called “Threeline Grunt.” I thoroughly recommend you give it a whirl. But go on a Friday, Wednesday, or Tuesday, as those are the days they get what they call their “Omakase” shipments from Japan. And be sure to sit at the bar so you can interract with the chef.
You won’t regret it. Oh, and another benefit it is not nearly as pricey as some of those snooty west-side places. It is certainly not cheap, but what will typically run us $200+ at higher end sushi places further north will be under $150 here. And we tend to eat more than most.
Nozomi1757 W Carson St
Torrance, CA 90501
Mon-Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Mon-Fri. 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sat. 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.