I’m the first to admit I’m not passionate about sushi, but there are
times I get a yen for it. And while there are several good sushi
places in town, I enjoy going to a small, unpretentious restaurant
tucked into a strip mall called Sushi Dake. And though it does crack
me up that the restaurant is next to a tropical fish store, I can
assure you there’s no connection.
Sitting at the sushi bar gives you a front-row seat to watch the
sushi chefs artfully prepare dishes. As you would expect, there are
many kinds of sashimi (raw seafood) and sushi (raw seafood atop
seasoned rice) available. Since my tastes run mainstream, I stick to
less adventurous selections such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and eel.
The seafood is consistently fresh and delicious, the rice firm and
moist. In case you’re an amateur like me, let me share with you the
“right” way to eat sushi. Apply a small amount of wasabi and use your
fingers to dip the rice cake into soy sauce. Or, stir the wasabi into
the soy sauce. True connoisseurs eat the sushi upside down, so the
seafood is first to touch the tongue. Pickled ginger is used as a
palate cleanser between bites.
OK, now here’s my way. Apply a mini-dollop of wasabi, sprinkle
liberally with soy sauce, lay ginger on top (heresy!) and pop the
whole thing into your mouth.
I’m also a big fan of the California roll -- cooked crab, avocado
and cucumber rolled in seaweed and rice. Sushi Dake has elevated
sushi rolls into an art form, offering several original recipes. The
Dake roll combines four kinds of fish with avocado, cucumber and a
special sauce. The Philadelphia roll features salmon, cream cheese
and asparagus. Now that’s different. I also like their tempura rolls.
The lobster tempura roll sports a generous portion of tempura-fried
lobster with asparagus.
If you’re dining with a devoted non-sushi eater, the restaurant
offers teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes. The teriyaki -- beef,
salmon, chicken -- is sweet and mild. The seafood and vegetable
tempura is lightly battered and fried crisp, without being greasy and
is very good. Whether you’re a true sushi connoisseur or an innocent
like me, you can satisfy your yearning for sushi with the riches of
the sea at Sushi Dake.
* BILL SCOLLON is a Burbank resident and president of Scollon
Media Arts. You can reach him at ewscollonhotmail.com.