Saturday, May 30, 2009

sushi nishi-ya

Do you remember the infamous Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame? Here is his description via Wikipedia:

A stone-faced immigrant chef with a thick Stalin-esque moustache, he is renowned throughout Manhattan for his soups. He demands that all customers in his restaurant meticulously follow his strict queuing, ordering, and payment policies. Failure to adhere to his demands brings the admonishment, "No soup for you!", whereupon the customer is refunded and denied his or her order.

Sushi Nishi-ya in Glendale stars the same idea of that character in the form of a much gentler, though still imposing, superbly talented Japanese sushi chef. Behind the bar in this teeny-tiny, mom and pop run strip-mall sushi joint, he won't refuse service as the soup nazi would. However, he will tell you what you can order and when you can order it. His motto is you get what he gives you, in essence. Read the sign. The chef is the boss. His first question is, "is there any type of fish you don't like?" And from there, he takes charge. He even instructs you with which dishes you may use soy sauce.

If you put your faith in him, you will not be disappointed. Everything is extremely fresh and meticulously prepared by the sushi chef. Even the wasabi is freshly grated.

Because the restaurant is so intimate, I felt a little sneaky and disrespectful snapping pictures, so I only got a few and the ones I did are blurry and annoying, but I'll post them anyway.
If you are thinking about going to Nishi-ya and want to be surprised at the omakase, I would suggest not reading the following blurb. The sushi chef picks out the fish from mongers several times a week, so it does change up based on what looks best, but of the 3 times I've eaten here, it has only varied slightly. I know it seems silly, but the whole experience is kind of fun and adventurous to go into blindly, so read or don't read, it's your choice!

- marinated maguro from Boston
- fresh hamachi from Osaka (one belly, one back)
- smoked and fresh salmon with kelp from Scotland
- fresh scallop from Okaido
- blue crab hand-roll from Maryland
- fresh albacore with Ponzu sauce from Japan
- toro from Spain
It is fantastic every time I have it. The only negative I can fathom is the portion size, which is admittedly small for the price, but when it comes to raw fish, quality is far more important to me than quantity. If you eat the sushi and drink a beer, you will be more than satiated.

Good quality sushi, well-prepared and served by an informed and talented sushi chef in an intimate setting. Service is great and there's rarely a wait, but you may want to call ahead to ensure your seats at the bar.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

That is too funny. I thought only we had a Sushi Nazi, here right next to my house in Tustin, OC, at a place called Sushi Wasabi. Sign on the window just like yours. Very similar dining experience. Maybe they're related? :P

I agree that the portion size is a bit small, but worth it. Having finally had truly good sushi in the past couple of years, I appreciate what a place like this gives you.

I want sushi now!!