Within a small, bustling plaza just a short drive away from the Westchester campus, an L.A.-based Japanese chain restaurant, SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa, serves authentic Japanese food of the freshest quality.
“Simply great sushi” is their motto, and they serve a variety of nigiri sushi, ranging from classic sushi staples such as tuna to NZ Sea Bream.
Their founding chef, Kazunori Nozawa, follows the philosophy of the Nozawa style of cooking, where clients trust the chef’s judgment by selecting a combo rather than ordering specific items from a list menu.
The menu highlights three main sushi combinations: the “Trust Me Lite,” the “Trust Me” and “The Nozawa Trust Me,” ranging from the least amount of items to the most (lunch prices are $19, $27 and $37 respectively).
When I visited their Marina Del Rey location for lunch, I ordered their classic set, the “Trust Me” combination. There are additional items that can be ordered individually, such as their Blue Crab Cut Roll and their Uni Sushi.
Although most of the items are fairly standard for a traditional Japanese restaurant, I found the freshness of their seafood to be impressively undeniable.
The Blue Crab Cut Roll is cut into four even pieces and lightly salted to bring out the natural flavor of the crab.
Meanwhile, the uni glows with a vibrant golden-orange color, demonstrating its freshness.
As for the main course, the “Trust Me” combination came with Organic Edamame, Tuna sashimi, two pieces of Albacore sushi, two pieces of Salmon sushi, one Toro Hand Roll, a piece of Yellowtail sushi, a piece of Sea Bass sushi and a Crab Hand Roll.
Japanese restaurants are generally judged by the fish’s quality, the ingredients’ freshness and sushi chef’s technique and overall execution.
SUGARFISH notably checks all of these boxes, especially focusing on freshness. They import a limited quantity of a number of items, listed under a special category, “Limited Availability Items” to ensure the freshness of their products.
On their homepage, their owner, Kazunori Nozawa, elaborates further on the Nozawa style that he developed for the SUGARFISH chain restaurants.
The Nozawa style of sushi is modeled off of the traditional Japanese omakase style, most often seen in local restaurants throughout Japan.
Omakase is essentially the “Trust Me” method, where the head chefs of the night determine the dishes, and the customers place their full trust (and their wallets) to the hands of their sushi masters.
Each item is then served on delicate platters, usually one to two pieces of nigiri sushi at once, as the customers either chat with the chefs or with their friends or colleagues at meals.
Another fun factor of this place was the overall architecture and design of the restaurant. Tucked in the center of a plaza of cool shops and restaurants, the Marina Del Rey SUGARFISH location stands out with its beautiful wooden and cream-colored aesthetic.
Simplistic and clean, the environment reflects the plating of the dishes served and gives it a comfortable atmosphere.
Usually bustling with people during mealtimes, they have an outdoors waiting area that is carved into their restaurant lot, and the entryway into the restaurant is one large majestic gate-like door which opens up to the rest of the restaurant as you walk in and gives it a sense of grandeur that adds to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant.
Additionally, the service is very friendly; waiters are neatly dressed and ready to help with any request.
One final notable factor is that SUGARFISH accepts Flexi on the OneCard for the convenience of LMU students.
Additionally, they are also available through Postmates, so students without transportation could reach the restaurant through a tap of their phones through the Postmates mobile ordering app.
For students living nearby or on campus that are looking for a change of pace from standard campus dining options, SUGARFISH is a convenient alternative for those looking to try authentic Japanese cuisine.
SUGARFISH is located at 4720 Admiralty Way in Marina Del Rey. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.