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The Beach Gourmet: SugarFish – Sweet Sushi

When I first arrived in Los Angeles from across the pond in the early nineties, one of the most striking and curiously entertaining ornaments of the restaurant experience here that made an immediate impression upon me was the “film star” servers: always actors, always supremely confident, invariably efficient, and speaking the same lines from the same script, but on different stages. It has seemed that rather than being the norm as I remember it, of late this phenomenon has gone the way of the socialist revolutionary, not quite so popular anymore, but curiously cute when one is encountered. Last week a colleague and I paid a visit to sugarFISH sushi in Marina del Rey for a working lunch, and my memories of these dramatic wait staff were well and truly refreshed, as were my taste buds.

SugarFISH is a nouveau style restaurant with traditional cuisine located in a pristine mall on Admiralty Way, and upon entry I was impressed by its bright and functional clean lines, simple and tidy furnishings, and a novel electronic twist in the form of flat screen dynamic menus and information displays, with the theme of a trio of set prix combinations, each entitled “Trust Me,” one through three respectively, with the option of additional items if desired.

This method of dining is based on a Japanese tradition called omakase, where the restaurant guests put trust in the chef to choose the dishes that the diner is going to eat, a risky business perhaps, but at sugarFISH the risk proved to be worth it.

That lunchtime, neither my colleague or I required any of the additional offerings, apart from a most flavorsome of cold green teas, and so from the options of three combo lunches consisting of: Trust Me #1 (tuna sashimi, one piece albacore and one piece yellowtail sushi, four cucumber and four toro rolls, $21.50), Trust Me #2 (tuna sashimi, one piece albacore, one piece salmon, one piece shrimp sushi, four cucumber, four crab and eight toro, $29.50), and Trust Me #3 (tuna sashimi, two albacore, one yellowtail, one halibut, one shrimp sushi, four toro, four cucumber, four crab and four yellowtail rolls, $36.50), we chose to trust the chef with a Number One.

After gratifying ourselves with the fresh and crisp edamame and chilled green tea for a few minutes, one by one our dishes began to arrive. The tuna sashimi was a delicious cut; choice and fresh, it had a melt-in-the-mouth quality that was second to none. The albacore and yellowtail followed shortly afterwards and kept the standards high with, again, some quality sushi.

One notable point about sugarFISH is that their sushi is very much a no-frills, traditional deal. Good fresh fish, well prepared and served quickly, with no attempts to re-invent the piscatorial wheel, so to speak.

As well as the green tea, another refreshing aspect to the sugarFISH menu is that these set combo prices are all-inclusive of tax and gratuity. In fact, they proclaim that under no circumstances will they accept extra tips (visions of a server chasing me out of the restaurant throwing dollar bills at me momentarily presented themselves!). So, the setting at sugarFISH is smart and bright, the actors well-rehearsed (although if I had been asked one more time if “everything was OK,” I would have felt compelled to seek a medical checkup), and the sushi a tasty story. It was well worth being an extra on the set that lunchtime, to be sure.

4722 1/4 Admiralty WayMarina del Rey. 310.306.6300

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