Sushi Anza is a small restaurant in the corner of a strip mall across the street from my apartment. It looks like a hole in the wall, it also has bamboo or tissue paper covering the windows, so it’s always been a mystery to me what was inside. Due to the American Honda Headquarters, and several other Japanese car manufacturing companies headquarters being in Torrance, the population is rich with Japanese culture. Sushi Anza is none the contrary with half the restaurant being covered in Japanese art and writing.
When I entered I was greeted by a polite server who showed me to the sushi bar. I was greeted by the Sushi Chef and sat down to my English silence as everyone else in the restaurant was abuzz in Japanese. The old couple at the end of the bar were nice enough to ask how I was liking it and giving menu recommendations. I learned it was happy hour, and what came with that
They have the tall boy Sapporro and Asahi beers for $3.80, and a selection Hand Rolls for $1.90 or appetizers for $2.80. The appetizers including gyoza, edamame, fried calamari and more, while the hand rolls include salmon, yellowtail, albacore, and more.
My order was a large one as I was eating alone and was starving.
Miso Soup – Miso soup is one of those dishes that tastes very similar at most restaurants. This was not my favorite, but it did have the traditional flavors along with tender tofu and seaweed that wasn’t gummy as I’ve tasted in many other soups.
I started with 2 Hand Rolls from the happy hour menu, a Salmon Roll and an Albacore Roll. The nori sheets that encased the sushi goodness were crunchy but not dry. You could actually bite through the hand roll without gnawing on the nori as I’ve encountered WAY too many times with previous hand roll experiences. The Salmon and Albacore were tender, yet not overpowered, their texture and flavor were very fresh. This is one of the only times I didn’t use soy sauce to dip my sushi as it held its own.
The third course was an Eel Avocado Roll and a Spider Roll. Both of which I always try at a new sushi joint because I can gauge my enjoyment of an establishment on these key sushi staples. I’ll start with the Eel Avocado Hand Roll, it was not my favorite, probably because I think they used fresh water eel (Inari) instead of salt water eel (Unagi). It was an orangish pink eel instead of the brown eel that I love. Though it was the freshest eel I’ve ever eaten, it was cooked in front of me before being introduced to the roll which allowed the eel to retain its moisture. I had no problem with the roll at all, just the flavor of the different type of eel threw me off. The Spider Roll on the other hand was incredible. The soft shell crab was perfectly golden brown with tender flavorful crab inside. Around the crab was avocado, faux crab, and cucumber wrapped in nori and rice. I have been saving the rice for last as it is generally the most overlooked ingredient in sushi, yet the most vital.
Sushi rice is a medium grain rice that is boiled, steamed, or simmered then it usually has a sugar vinegar mixture added to it then either steamed again or fanned by hand until room temperature, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping or uneven vinegar dispersion. Sushi Anza’s rice had a perfect balance of acidic and sweet. It replaced my want for the soy sauce and is the sole reason I ate every bite of the food without any condiments. The rice added flavor, texture, and moisture to each of the dishes, but it really completed the Spider Roll.
Rating 1 to 5
To see their site go to: