In most places in America, sushi is like television. There’s a lot of it, but finding the good stuff is the trick. But here, in and around Los Angeles, we’re particularly lucky, with arguably the best selection of sushi restaurants outside of Japan.
Culver City is no exception, and Uzumaki is a glorious dining experience. This writer’s biggest problem with sushi is what to choose; absolutely everything looks good, and so narrowing it all down to a few checks on a list is near-impossible. Thankfully, Uzumaki has some wonderful combinations to relieve that stress.
There’s the Uzu, the Uzumaki, and the Uzumaki Plus. We opted for the one in the middle, and were not at all disappointed. The meal is kicked off with a small bowl of edamame, and we’re always shocked just how good these beans can taste with just a little salt. They’re like nature’s candy, and at Uzumaki, they provide the perfect beginning.
Next up is a tiny but perfect bite of ceviche – raw fish soaked in citrus juices and served with some chopped onion. It’s refreshing and tangy, and absolutely delicious. The temptation would be to eat a ton of ceviche and fill up that way, but then you’d deprive yourself of the sushi that follows.
Three pieces arrive first: albacore, salmon and yellowtail. The rice on all of them is room temperature as it should be (never buy refrigerated grocery-store sushi, largely for that reason), and the fish melts in your mouth with each bite. The staff is incredibly warm and helpful, informing you when you shouldn’t use soy sauce and/or wasabi. Some of the pieces don’t need it – something this writer would never have known.
Two more pieces of sushi follow – amberjack and sea bream. Same again – prepared beautifully, with each bite a treat. Top tip – don’t chew sushi too fast. Allow it to sit in your mouth for a while. Some of the flavors are subtle and need time, but are worth the wait.
Finally, we’re presented with a crunchy shrimp cut roll (there’s the option of spicy tuna instead), and this thing is the icing on an amazing cake. Eight pieces is enough to fill you up after what has already been consumed, but you can’t help wanting more. The soft, juicy shrimp pairs perfectly with what tastes like crunchy fried onions.