A Tiny Six-Seat South Bay Sushi Area Is Checking Out the Subtleties of Aged Fish
Hidden in plain sight along Manhattan Beach’s breezy primary drag, Sushi I-Naba appears like someplace you ‘d discover in a peaceful residential area of Tokyo: an extra, nondescript store very little bigger than a single-car garage. There are 6 seats twisted around a refined wood counter and little else, conserve for Yasu Hirano, the sole chef, who commands lunch and supper 6 days a week. An omakase(chef’s option) meal may start with a dish of child eels sprinkled with ponzu or a square of crab-fat-infused tofu gilded with Hokkaido uni. Thick pieces of kanburi, a fully grown yellowtail captured in winter season, when its fat material is greatest, are followed by a parade of exceptionally well balanced nigiri
This would generally be the minute where you’re informed that Hirano worked under sushi masters for years, slicing fish and cooking rice advertisement nauseam prior to setting out on his own. However that’s not so. In truth, it’s Hirano’s very first time running a counter, that makes everything the more outstanding that the affable 38- year-old Japanese expat turned South Bay internet user is serving a few of the most amazing sushi in L.A.
Sushi I-Naba is the most current growth of the dining establishment group behind Torrance stalwart I-Naba, and it was initially planned as an easy takeout area prior to being reconceived late in 2015. Hirano, then a supervisor at one of the group’s dining establishments, was employed to take control of. While he hasn’t logged much experience as a chef, Hirano has a natural pedigree: His moms and dads ran a fish market and sushi dining establishment in Tokyo’s blue-collar Chiba Prefecture, and he’s been butchering fish given that he was a kid. His father-in-law has connections from when he operated in the seaweed and rice markets (Hirano gets his nori from Tokyo’s Toyosa Market; his rice originates from California).
At Sushi I-Naba, much of the fish is sourced straight from Japanese ports instead of through suppliers– a perk from the market connections of Hirano’s mom. What Hirano makes with this spotless oceanic haul is similarly interesting. Drawing from Edo-era customs, he ages sealed cuts of fish in ice for days, frequently weeks, extracting a depth of savoriness (not unlike dry-aging a steak). Fatty bluefin tuna stomach from Spain (sustainably captured) is aged for as much as 3 weeks up until it establishes a nutty, nearly caramelized taste. However that’s not Hirano’s only technique. Canadian black cod is burnt utilizing a radiant stick of charcoal and ended up with yuzu salt.
Bookings are needed throughout supper, and omakase choices begin at $120 It’s less of a splurge at lunch, when a shortened tasting menu ($35 and $55) and an outstanding chirashi bowl ($35) are downright deals. A cup of magnificently clarified dashi stock enhanced with littleneck clams and seaweed signals the meal’s end. Does Hirano have household in the soup biz, too? It would not be stunning.
Sushi I-Naba, 1300 Highland Ave., Ste. 107, Manhattan Beach.
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