Epicuryan: Sushi Tanaka – 10/21/2017


3977 Cochran St, Ste D
Simi Valley, CA 93063
(805) 306-1374

Having been to most of LA’s high sushi eating places I discovered myself on the lookout for one thing new. So after I heard about Sushi Tanaka I grit my tooth and made the 75 mile drive to a tiny spot situated in a nondescript strip mall in Simi Valley. I wasn’t certain what to anticipate although I used to be comforted by the truth that the Chef’s resume included stints at each Nobu and Shunji in LA.

Sushi Tanaka is run by Chef Sei Tanaka and his spouse who serves because the spot’s solely front-of-house workers. The restaurant is smaller than most neighborhood sushi spots with solely a tiny 7 seat bar and a handful of tables working alongside one facet of the restaurant.

After I made the reservation, I had requested a extra nigiri-heavy meal and Chef Tanaka was blissful to accommodate us providing us 1 plated appetizer and 18 items of nigiri for $100 moderately than the usual 3 plated appetizers and 13 items of nigiri. For these seeking to splurge there’s an “limitless” choice that features delicacies like Japanese beef, stay lobsters, and furry crab.

Arugula Salad – Madai Sashimi, Coronary heart of Palm, Charcoal Salt, Sudachi, Persimmon
The meal bought began with a fragile salad served with a facet of Madai snapper dressed with sudachi and persimmon. The fish is a pleasant textural distinction to the center of palm however the sweet-sour distinction from the fruit spotlight the flavour profile together with a nutty bitterness from the greens.

Kuromutsu – Black Bluefish
The pink flesh was properly charred with a blowtorch and chunk of binchotan charcoal which gave it a satisfying smokiness. The fish itself is reasonably oily although there was an unexpectedly sinewy layer working just below the pores and skin that gave the fish a pleasantly advanced texture.

Aji – Spanish Mackerel
This was a pleasantly minimalist rendition of Spanish Mackerel. The only strip of ginger imparts a surprisingly intense spiciness that mixes with the fish’s pure oil to create a slighly candy taste.

Sanma – Pacific Saury
Most cooks are inclined to grill Sanma over charcoal which leads to a dry robust texture however Chef Tanaka’s opted for a uncooked preparation that also spotlight’s the fish’s pure oiliness however with a elegant, quiveringly tender mouthfeel.

Hotate – Scallop
This was a quintessential Hokkaido Scallop topped with a salty-spicy mixture of charcoal salt and yuzu kocho to go with the sweetness of the flesh.

Mirugai – Geoduck
Sai-san adopted up the scallop with a sliver of Geoduck although aside from each being bivalves, the 2 items of shellfish have been as completely different as may very well be. The Mirugai provides a a lot denser and firmer texture to the purpose of being crunchy together with a robust salinity.

Tako – Octopus
Cooked Tako is not normally my factor however this model was smoked then charred giving it a young texture; the addition of a barely candy sauce provides the meat a satisfying barbecue-like taste.

Kanpachi – Amberjack
The Amberjack was on the lean facet; with much less oil the fish had a firmer texture and milder taste than the everyday minimize of Kanpachi.

Shima Aji – Striped Jack
I actually appreciated having the Shima Aji comply with the Kanpachi. The pink striped alabaster shade and snappy texture have been paying homage to the previous fish however the taste had a bit extra oily heat.

Hon Maguro – Bluefin Tuna
The whole lot about this piece screamed quintessential Akami, from the gentle even texture to the gentle clear taste although I may have performed with a bit extra wasabi.

Toro – Fatty Tuna
This was probably the greatest items of toro that I’ve had in a protracted whereas. The trick was to go together with a wider floor space however thinner minimize that coats the tongue in an ephemeral blanket of heady fish oil.

Kinmedai – Golden Eye Snapper
Truffle oil and daikon aren’t two substances I’d look forward to finding collectively however their mixture on the kinmedai was nothing in need of majestic funky but savory with a little bit of char in addition.

Kinki – Rockfish
Kinki has a viscous supple texture paying homage to uncooked octopus that was fairly memorable whereas the short sear added depth to the usually gentle white fish.

Sake Zuke – Kelp-marinated Salmon
Sei-san’s seared kelp marinated Salmon breathes new life into the drained bizarre salmon that graces each sushi beginner’s plate. The fish takes on hundreds extra depth and character from the undertones of brine from the kelp to the nuanced smoke laced with buttery sweetness. Arms down the perfect salmon nigiri I’ve ever tasted.

Ikura – Salmon Roe
Chef Tanaka throws a curveball on the traditional Ikura with a dose of truffle oil. I discovered the flavour a bit heavy-handed and the feel of the roe was a bit flabby in addition.

Uni – Sea Urchin
After a uncommon miss with the Ikura, the meal bought again on monitor with an ideal piece of candy Santa Barbara Uni.

Kamasu – Barracuda
The Barracuda made for a a deftly composed one-bit course mixing a burst of tangy pungent plum, aromatic shiso, and a satisfying deep smoke-laced oily twang.

Amaebi – Candy Shrimp
The Amaebi is served feathered with tiny cuts to intensify the shrimp’s pure crunch. A deft brush of soy sauce accentuates the shellfish’s intrinsic sweetness.

Akamutsu – Purple Bluefish
This was one of many softer cuts of fish on the evening with an virtually creamy mouthfeel that throws the crunch of the black salt in sharp reduction.

Kawahagi – Thread-sail Filefish
That is one among Chef Sei’s signature dishes, pairing a lean minimize of Filefish with a lobe of candy creamy liver. The previous gives a silky supple textural base whereas the latter brings a seductive mouth-coating richness.

Unagi – Freshwater Eel
Chef Tanaka eschews the normal sticky candy Nitsume sauce and prefers to serve the unagi au pure. I a lot most well-liked this rendition which nonetheless has the tender fatty texture and and easy charred taste.

Yakitoro & Uni – Seared Fatty Tuna and Sea Urchin
We opted so as to add a pair extras to our meal. First up was a seared Toro topped with delicate lobes of uni. The nice and cozy oily fish and funky pillows of creamy uni end in a shudderingly decadent pairing that verges on sensory overload.

Seared Scallop – Uni, Caviar, Truffle
Our second complement was truly one thing that’s included as one of many plated appetizers within the common $100 omakase. The seared scallop comes topped with extra uni and caviar with a slice of truffle to finish the dish. Not fairly as overtly wealthy because the earlier dish, there was nonetheless loads to like about this luxury morsel.

Tamago – Egg
In fact the meal ended with a chunk of Tamago. I used to be glad to see Chef Tanaka serves the candy sponge cake-like variant.

I’ve to say Sushi Tanaka exceeded my each expectation. The fish high quality is similar to any of LA’s high spots however at half the value. Chef Tanaka additionally nails the rice temperature and consistency maybe a legacy of his coaching at Shunji. Pacing could be a bit gradual as Chef Tanaka not solely handles all of the sushi preparation, however does all of the cooking usually dealt with by again of the home. When the restaurant is busy, this may end up in a little bit of lag between items, although the tempo picked up in direction of the tip of the meal so if this bothers you I would suggest a later reservation. Backside line, if solely this restaurant weren’t so rattling far it could undoubtedly be my go to identify for sushi.



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