Sometimes, Premium just won’t do, but most of the time, Excellent might not be worth the high cost. However, at Sushi Sushi, a Beverly Hills institution with a redundant name but good value, chef Hiroshige Yamada more than delivers on the moniker. Lunch is the best time to visit the basic sushi restaurant with an L-shaped wood bar, six tables, bamboo accents and elevator music. Nigiri Combos start at $15, elevate to $24 for Premium Nigiri Combos, and reach an apex with an Excellent Nigiri Combo ($35).
My sushi habits haven’t been the same since watching Sushi: The Global Catch, so I passed on Bluefin and toro, which normally come with Excellent Nigiri Combo. Still, I hardly suffered at lunch. Just the opposite. My meal started with a saba mackerel salad with cucumber, onion and tangy miso vinegar sauce. Next came a choice of soup, either miso with shiitake or nameko mushrooms, or my choice, a briny broth powered by asari clam.
My jam-packed platter arrived touting well-balanced nigiri topped with kanpachi (amberjack), salmon, snapper, sweet shrimp, giant clam, uni (sea urchin), mackerel and ikura in the front row. The back row featured yellowtail cut roll, unagi (fresh water eel) and sweet stamped tamago (egg cake), which doubled as dessert. My only gripes were that the cut roll packed way too much rice, and sweet shrimp didn’t come with its deep-fried head. Otherwise, seafood quality was high, and the value remarkable. Unagi, with a judicious amount of eel sauce and crispy skin, was best in class, and several other bites lived up to the “excellent” hype. The next time you’re considering an indulgent lunch, Sushi Sushi is clearly a prime option.