SGV: Omakase at Z Sushi
For years I have wanted to try Z Sushi in Alhambra. I would see it as I would make my way slowly by streets from Alhambra to Pasadena. A couple of weeks ago, I made plans to try their omakase. We sat at the bar and ordered Harushika sake to drink. Enough is poured to overflow the small glass and into the wooden sake cup. Following my friend’s example, I drank out of the small glass and then refilled it from the wooden cup. But you could also drink directly from the wooden cup.
We decided in a mix of cooked food and sushi for omakase.
We started with a simple crisp salad.
Next we had sea bream sashimi with a bit of roe and seaweed. The fish was very delicate, a good way to begin a sushi meal.
Raw salmon is one of my favorite things to eat. I liked this piece and looked forward to the next few nigiri which were coming at a rapid yet still manageable pace.
Yellowtail is another favorite of mine. In a blink, this was gone as well.
Next I had something I don’t believe I ever had before- seared halibut fin or engawa. Yes, I’ve had halibut but not the fin which is considered a delicacy as it’s fattier.
I was delighted with the shrimp and tofu rolls in rice paper. They reminded me of Vietnamese rolls in style yet didn’t have the pungent dipping sauce.
Our sushi master started asking what we liked. I murmured the Spanish mackerel. It was exquisite.
Then he grinned and gave us skewered pork cheek and beef tongue that had been grilled. The magical green sauce was very addicting. I couldn’t decide if I liked the pork cheek or the beef tongue more. The tongue had the texture of heart– toothsome but not chewy.
We also had octopus which was so tender. I really enjoyed these pieces and hoarded each bite.
Generally I’ve never been a fan of Japanese fishcake in soups (such as the slices found in udon) but these grilled pieces were covered in seaweed or curry. Both were delicious.
Our chef asked if we were still hungry. Yes and no. Yes because I wanted to try some more but I was getting somewhat full. He gave us the seared albacore with garlic. I didn’t quite like this as much. While I did like the garlic, it was very powerful.
Uni can be hit or miss and this was a miss for me. It wasn’t the freshest.
Things turned around with the giant scallop. I love scallop and this was very fine.
As we thought about whether or not we were still hungry, the toasted dried sting ray made a good snack as we finished off our sake. It is served with a Japanese mayo, Kewpie.
And lastly, we had the crab and salted plum roll which turned out to be another favorite. I feel this combination is very Japanese and takes a certain palate to enjoy it.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience. It is more affordable than say Sushi-Gen (though not as inventive) and a good alternative to what seems like a dearth of good sushi restaurants in Pasadena. The sushi rice could have been better and I will have to stop myself from eating too much next time. Although I would like to try more skewers and get more of that great fish cake.
Z Sushi1132 N Garfield Ave., Alhambra, CA 91801 — (626) 282-5636
© The Minty 2012
I live approx. 3 blocks from Z and have never tried their omakase (didn’t even know they had one, to be honest) but have always enjoyed their sushi. The lack of fresh uni makes me sad face though.
It looked good but it was just a bit not fresh like the albacore. While I liked everything in general, I’ve had fresher fish and better rice. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Loved the cooked food though!