I had always been meaning to check out the foodie scene in South Bay (ie Torrance, Gardena, etc). Perhaps “foodie” is an overstatement, but there are a fare number of highly rated Japanese restaurants in the area that both Smooth Obturator and Nancy Rheeeee have recommended at one time or another. So I took it upon myself to brave the traffic and meet up with Me So Hairy! in his neck of the woods. I’ve been told time and time again that the best way to experience sushi is omakase, which leaves the selection to the chef. That way, you are getting the freshest and best selection of sushi. Most times, I’ve been asked what I do not like to eat. Here, they just started serving us, so I ended up getting things I don’t normally eat.
Very very special
That was the response when we asked our sushi chef what it was he was serving us. It looked and tasted like monkfish liver, foie gras of the sea, as some may describe it. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don’t. It really depends on how fishy it tastes and smells. This one was on the fishier side, but I am no expert and maybe monkfish liver will always be fishy. It tasted like it was drizzled with some ponzu which helped to mask the fishiness.
The fish was just lightly seared on the exterior and retained its rare meaty texture within. There was only a light drizzle of ponzu. The added finely chopped ginger and scallions on top brought out some nice flavor to the fish and cut the fishiness of the bonito which apparently is in the mackerel family.
Red Snapper Sashimi
It was an interesting preparation with the addition of a bit of yuzu pepper on top which gave it a little kick. Red snapper still doesn’t excite me much.
Yellowtail, on the other hand, always gets me excited! Here it was luscious on the tongue and dancing in my stomach.
I’m not quite sure if this was halibut since I forgot to write it down, and frankly all sushi seems to look the same, especially the ones I don’t frequently eat.
I had some bad spanish mackerel recently, and when it’s bad, it’s bad. It’s almost as bad as eating actual mackerel. Fortunately for us, it was quite the opposite. It was fresh and clean. I think it was Me So Hairy’s! first time having this and he seemed to really enjoy it.
Uni & Roe
These are two things I rarely eat. I am slowly acquiring a taste for uni, so I actually thought the uni here was pretty good. Briny, but sweet at the same time. I think Smooth Obturator would have approved. Ugh, I do not like roe. It’s just salt balls exploding in your mouth. I told Me So Hairy! how Smooth Obturator describes these 2 items as “palate cleansers” reserved for the last two bites of his meal. Me So Hairy! was quite displeased with the ocean taste left in his mouth from the roe, and despite being pretty full, needed something else to clean his palate.
Another delicacy that I do not usually enjoy. It tasted fine, but the texture is just too slimey for me. I really loved the crispy fried heads though.
Sweet pickled radish
It was good until I realized that the green thing in the middle was shiso. Yuck!
Thank god we ended on something normal. Who doesn’t like oranges? They were just the right balance of sweet and sour and served cold. Yum!
It’s hard for me to give a fair assessment of Sen Nari since I didn’t get to eat most of the things I really do enjoy. For a Friday night, it was pretty darn empty, so I dunno if that’s saying something. The bill came out to just slightly over $50 per person which isn’t terrible for omakase. The other place my brother suggested was $80 per person. So I think we did well for ourselves since we were pretty stuffed in the end. Maybe next time I’ll just sit at the bar and order off the menu, some toro, yellowtail, salmon, spanish mackarel, and a crab roll will keep me happy.
18220 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90248