Sushi Roku restaurants are high on my sushi dining list. This is not just because I used to work at Sushi Roku in Pasadena. There’s a reason why I would leave work with food 99% of the time and why I continued to work there even after I got a job in Long Beach. People thought I was asking for a burn out driving from Azusa to Long beach for a day shift, and then Long Beach to Pasadena for a late night shift at Sushi Roku. It was simply harder to pull away from working at such a beautiful restaurant with perks on their amazing food than dealing with the drives. I have taken friends and family to sushi roku many times and have their trust to order for the entire table. Each time they all end with praises for the food, ambience, and service.
This was actually my first time visiting the Santa Monica restaurant. My sister was in town on business and staying in Santa Monica. Last night was her last night in California, so my family decided to meet her up for dinner. As soon as I mentioned there was a Sushi Roku in Santa Monica to Michael and my parents, they all hinted that I should set up a dinner there. I don’t even think we asked my sister if she had a place in mind to eat. Realizing that she was the only one in our group that had never been to a Sushi Roku, it was a done deal.
The people I go with are very trusting of what I will order for the table, especially because I will consider how everyone is with their food. For our group: My mother is very new to trying raw fish and is very picky when it comes to texture and limey flavors, what she does love is cooked shellfish and spicy foods. My sister is a little more open but also new to the concept of eating uncooked fish, what she does love is cooked shellfish, spicy foods, garlic, and alcohol. my dad and husband will eat anything-easy.
DRINKS! Mom’s drink: Roku’s Fusion (alcohol that has been bathing with fruits all day) Dad’s drink: Koshihikari Echigo Beer Michael’s Drink: Rock Sake Cloud Nigori Sake My sister and I: shared the Sake Sampler: Daiginjo- Ken from Fukushima (super premium sake with 50% of the rice polished away), Ginjo- Dewasansan from Yamagata (premium sake of which 40% of the rice has been polished away), and Junmai- Junmai Roku from Fukushima (pure rice wine with no adding of distilled alcohol.
OH BUT WAIT! I guess you can call this an appetizer drink *wink* There are the oyster shooters! Everyone but my mom had this tasty concoction. My sister loves oyster and anything in a shot glass, so this was perfect. She needed a moment to get over the idea of swallowing a quail egg, and then it was down the hatch. This shooter of sake, oyster, quail egg, spices, and god knows what else is soooooooo good. The sake went down very smooth, there was no burning at all. The only burn was on the tongue from the spices, which we all love. At the end of the night, this was my sister’s favorite part.
APPETIZERS! So I start off with something that is not seafood at all- Miso Eggplant Dengaku. My family had tried this appetizer before and loved it, so I figured I can show my sister the yummy non-fish plates she can have. I then ease them in with Sauteed Spicy Shrimp with House Potato Chips. The sauce that comes with this dish is incredible! It’s creamy, spicy, with that yummy garlic taste. When I worked for Sushi Roku, I would order a side of white rice and a cup of spicy shrimp sauce to pour over it. It is addicting! I was tempted to ask the waitress to package the leftover sauce. Next was RAW FISH. Again, I wanted to ease my mom and sister into trying raw fish so I ordered Hanabi (Yellowtail sashimi with diced chilies). This was perfect because the sashimi is covered with oils and two different kinds of diced chilies so the fish seems to be slightly cooked from the acidity from the oils and accompanied with other flavors. This was my sister’s favorite plate, hazaa!
SUSHI and ROLLS!
Once again, I considered the sushi newbies and ordered a Crab Dynamite Roll; everything is cooked on this with a creamy crab topping that melts in your mouth! My all time favorite roll…Baked Crab Handroll. I ordered one for everybody. This is the most simple and genius roll for me. I love crab, butter, and soy paper. This is my love. It’s soy paper with rice, crab, and butter rolled up. It’s delicious! It’s amazing! It’s seductive! I’m going to stop now! Order it if you love crab, that’s all I’ll say… for now.
For sushi, I ordered Albacore and Salmon. This was where it got more simple and real with my raw fish newbies. Albacore is great because they put diced onions and garlic ponzu sauce over it to make a great pairing for the taste buds. Loved by all. Next was Salmon Sushi. Michael ordered this, and to my surprise my mother took a bite and actually liked it. She then insisted that my sister take a bite. This was a bit much for my sister, oh well. We also ordered King Crab Fried Rice to keep that balance of raw and cooked plates at the table.
DESSERT and SURPRISE!
We were treated to two desserts, chocolate souffle with vanilla bean ice cream. I always look forward to breaking that souffle wall and letting that liquid chocolate pour out. The pairing of rich chocolate and ice cream is just the perfect balance for sweet taste. We also had the dessert special: Belgium Waffle Sticks with a cup of gelato, cabernet reduction sauce, topped with blueberries. This came with a sparkling candle! Since my family was all together Saturday night and the next day was Father’s day (or so I thought), I thought why not turn it into a father’s day dinner. So, my sister and I brought greeting cards to give at the time of the “sparkling” dessert. When we did yell “happy father’s day,” my mom goes, “it’s not for another two weeks!” Oops. Either way, my sister was leaving the next day and it turns out Michael and I will be in Memphis on the real father’s day, so it was still a good idea in my defense. My sister might not take my word on anything again.