Sir Grubs A Lot: Asanebo (LA)
When I first moved to Studio City earlier this year, my friend Trevor greeted me with "Welcome to the city of sushi joints and bong shops." And I thought to myself, "Heaven?" I kid, kind of. According to Yelp.com there's about 63 places to eat sushi in the 7.11 square miles that is Studio City. If my math holds up, that's about eight sushi spots for every square mile and that to me is just amazeballs!
Now, I've been to a few of these Studio City joints - my favorite being the fairly infamous Katsuya, which I think is loads better than the fancy schmancy Hollywood Katsuya - but that's nowhere near my desire to try as many as possible. It was no surprise that when I came across Huffington Post's Top 10 Sushi Restaurants in LA list, three of the ten were located in Studio City and one of them was Asanebo. So we were off.
We sat at the sushi bar when we arrived and guess who was sitting next to us with a man friend!? Sandra Oh! Yeah, I wasn't that excited either. Let's get to the food.
We started with tai (red snapper), albacore, and sake. When the plate was put down in front of us, we were told (rather emphatically) by the exuberant server who ran up behind us, not to eat the tai or albacore with soy sauce. Totally new concept to me. Maybe some of you can expand on that, but my thought was that the soy sauce would overpower some sort of citrus flavor (yuzu?) that both the tai and albacore had in the rice. No clue, but we followed orders and enjoyed. Both delectable - the tai had a great texture and I was sold on the tangy flavor sans soy sauce.
There were no soy sauce bans on the salmon, so that guy got a dunk and was buttery nom nomy.
The spicy tuna roll was meh - nothing really to write home about. My dining buddy noted that he wasn't into the nori and that it tasted "homemade." I wasn't really sure what he meant and I didn't pry, but maybe the nori was chewier and a little more moist than most nori at sushi restaurants? He wasn't a fan.
However all my cheers and fanaticism went to the buckwheat risotto with mushrooms and uni. Dear Lord. I'm just gonna call this guy a serious panty melter, in love. The risotto was perfectly cooked and the earthiness of the mushrooms combined with the smoky flavor from the uni was a delight.
The creamy pile of uni at the sushi bar continued to elicit the serious drooling action I had while eating the above.
We tried the grilled chilean sea bass in butter lettuce. This time around the server was straight up emphatic about the no dipping rule and almost ran away with our little saucer of soy when he put this dish down. The plate wasn't really worth it considering one little bite was five dollars, but it was pleasant and looked pretty.
Second round of sushi was a kampachi (amberjack) and a maguro. Again, really solid with the fish. You could see and taste the freshness.
However, I've never seen maguro look like this before with all the tendrils. Anyone? Bueller? I couldn't stop thinking that I was eating Dr. Zoiberg from Futurama.
We finished the meal off with a spicy hamachi roll and Asahi draft beer, which I learned that night that the draft beer is made in Japan while the bottled stuff is made here. Good to know! I so heart things that come from Japan. Here's looking at you sushi.
My final verdict is that I'll definitely be back. It's a little on the pricey side, so it probably won't become a go to place, but their menu is pretty extensive and there were a lot of other good looking dishes being passed around while there that I'll need to try. But maybe first, I'll stand outside my door in Studio City, pick up a rock to throw and go to the sushi spot it lands on.