Friday, April 23, 2010

We Love Sushi!

Today's "stuff we love" post is on a cuisine near and dear to many an Angeleno.  If New Yorkers can brag about their pizza and Chicagoans have their hot dogs, then we here in LA can lay claim to some of the best sushi in the land.   I have to shamefully admit that I lived here for at least two years before a piece of raw fish passed my lips for the first time.  But once it did, I wondered where it had been all my life.  Buttery smooth in texture, and the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and salty, a good sushi experience will stop you in your tracks.  And it's healthy to boot!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of getting an inside look at how a sushi master works.   Meet Phillip Yi, owner and resident rockstar at Sushi Central in Palms.
Does Phil look familiar?  He should.  He kicked Bobby Flay's ass in the sushi episode of Throwdown.  He spent an evening giving my friends and I the ins and outs of the sushi world.  He's a passionate chef who took his time talking about the history, etiquette, and traditions of the cuisine.  Did you know that it's considered impolite to rub your chopsticks together like you're sharpening knives?  Did you know that the Japanese sushi tradition frowned on women becoming sushi chefs because they claimed that their hands were too warm (I call BS!)?  Phil was a fountain of knowledge.

This big wooden bowl is where the sticky rice gets mixed. 

Mmmm steamed rice...

The rice is stirred together with a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and some other ingredients that I failed to remember.  The hot rice is then "folded" in the bowl until the liquid absorbs, and the rice is sticky and delicious.  Rice is the cornerstone of a great sushi meal.

Hello tuna!  Phil showed us how a beautiful side of fish gets broken down into the pieces that we devour.

Talk about a tasty looking prep plate!  This is the type of tray that sushi chefs would use for rolls.

Phil showed us how to make our own rolls.  His were clean and pretty.  I was wearing sticky rice gloves.

But they were pretty impressive in the end!  (These were the handiwork of my friend Rommel.)

Once we mastered the salmon avocado rolls, it was on to the beautiful and challenging rainbow roll (one of my personal faves).  A mixture of crab and cucumber are rolled in seaweed, and topped with strips of ahi tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and shrimp.  Plastic wrap covers the roll to help shape it.

Then a sharp wet knife cuts through your roll o' fish.

Yum!  I was also successful with my attempt at a spicy tuna hand roll.  Just like an ice cream cone, but with seaweed and fish!  Make that the spiciest fish you've ever had!

While I don't think I'll be manning a station behind a sushi bar anytime soon, it was great to learn from an expert and try my hand at a cuisine I love so much.  It also gave me a whole new respect for the delicious and beautiful sushi rolls that I take for granted her in the City of Angels.  And I will definitely head back to Sushi Central on a night when I don't have to make my own meal.

Want to have your own class with Phil?  Check them out.  Sushi Central is located at the southeast corner of Palms and Overland Blvd in Culver City.

Readers, what are your thoughts on sushi?  Is there a good local spot that you frequent?  Are you a roll, sushi, or sashimi person?  Please discuss...


  1. oh yum! wish we had fresh raw seafood at our market~

  2. phillip yi is amazing...i took a sushi class from him years was a several week course and we learned so many great things...including an amazing miso soup recipe. i will have to check out his restaurant in culver city... exciting!

  3. I have wanted to take a sushi-making class for ages. Yum!!

  4. I LOVE sushi! I usually order rolls...nothing too fancy..I love a good salmon and avocado roll! Now I'm craving sushi!

  5. Beautiful sushi photo gallery! You have me craving ginger and spicy tuna rolls.
    Enjoy your blog a great deal, thanks. Linda


Related Posts with Thumbnails