Sunday, June 30, 2013

Give Sushi Stop a Go

Think you can’t afford good sushi these days? At Sushi Stop, the sushi war continues. With an eye-catching menu that reads “All Items $2.75 (excluding market price items),” Sushi Stop combines the casual style of Sushi Mac (where patrons order from a glossy picture menu that indicates everything is $3 a plate) with the high quality of other bargain sushi giants such as Gatten Sushi and Kula, which feature their dishes on running conveyor belts.

On the wall, a sign declares the daily market price on tuna ($4.10 during my most recent visit), which is subject to change; Sushi Stop proudly informs customers that tuna sushi is sold at the market price so the restaurant can keep serving the freshest fish everyday.

Of course, even when you upgrade from the $2.75 items to the $5.50 specials, you still find yourself with pleasant portions and fine cuts of fish, such as the six-piece Whitefish Carpaccio Sashimi or Seared Peppered Tuna Sashimi with garlic ponzu sauce. There is even Seared Albacore Sashimi with crispy onions. And again at the quirkily odd price of $4.10, the wall menu indicates that hand rolls are available with Cajun Crawfish, Baked Blue Crab, even Hawaiian Poke Tuna.

At first glance, it was the Habanero Roll that reminded me the most of Sushi Mac’s famous “Dynamite Mac,” a baked California roll laden with an oven-blackened blanket of spicy mayonnaise; the only difference was in the dollops of red chili sauce on top and hidden baby shrimps beneath the spicy mayo at Sushi Stop. Despite its name, the Habanero Roll wasn’t especially spicy in my opinion, at least not on a habanero level.

The real winners were the Yellowtail Hand Roll with Truffle Oil; as well as the Aburi Salmon Belly sushi and Aburi Yellowtail Belly sushi with yuzu kosho and ponzu sauce, all for $2.75. For those unfamiliar with the term aburi, Sushi Stop literally defines it for you. On another sign on the wall, patrons can learn “aburi” means flame-seared, with a blowtorch used to partly sear the fish, “creating a perfect balance of raw and cooked sushi, and adding a great smoky flavor.”

To my delight, there is even the single-piece sushi featuring buttery Wagyu Beef, also for $2.75. Ponzu sauce trickles from this one, and the crown of chopped green onions perfects it.

With multiple locations in the Southland, it is definitely worthwhile to give Sushi Stop a go.

Sushi Stop
2053 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles

2222 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles

5917 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles

17547 Ventura Blvd., Encino

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