Just have a craving for raw fish? Yeah, me too. Kashiwa Sushi, hidden in Signal Hills, is perhaps the best place south of LA to find heaven on rice. Let’s delve into why this is the best sushi in Long Beach.
Best Sushi in Long Beach
Usually I talk about food first. This time, I’m going to start with atmosphere before getting into food.
I’m a huge fan of authenticity. By “authentic”, I mean the restaurant backs up it’s words with deeds. For instance, if I walk into a Mexican Restaurant and there are no Mexican’s present then I have to assume that it’s not good Mexican food.
Follow that same logic with sushi. Since this is Japanese, I prefer the owners, chefs to be Japanese and guess what? At Kashiwa, nearly their entire staff is Japanese. It’s great to see then speaking Japanese to each other, which just adds to the experience. I don’t speak Japanese (yet) but it’s great to listen to. And many times, I see half of the restaurant filled with Japanese patrons.
Speaking of atmosphere, just be aware that if you dine here with friends that you’ll be able to hear each other talk. For reasons I don’t understand, many sushi bars have ear-splitting levels of music and you have to scream at the top of your lungs just to have a conversation.
That’s not here.
So if talking to your dinner date makes you uncomfortable, this is probably not the place for you.
Can I say Holy Cow? Too bad, I said it anyway. This place is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Now I will preface this next discussion by stating that I prefer my sushi “omakase” style. “Omakase” means “I’m in your hands”. You get what the chef knows is good. You just sit back and eat whatever he gives you.
There’s good and bad to this. The good is that you get to try dishes you normally would not try. The bad is that you get to try dishes you normally wouldn’t try. If you’re a foodie (like I am) then this is a mute point. But if you only want the California Roll or the Karen Roll then this is NOT for you.
Another drawback is that true Omakase is expensive. The stuff that is “off menu” is often served at “market price”. Back in the good old days, we would have omakase and every time was a new experience. But then they came up with a standard “Omakase” meal at a certain price point. I guarantee you this was done because someone complained about the bill. You can’t roll in to this place with $20 and think you’re going to have Omakase. It doesn’t work that way.
Back to the food. This place is spectacular. The food is excellent. Under our menu, we got to try numerous types of fish and other dishes served in a variety of different ways. From Toro to Mackerel, from smelt to shrimp. Oh yeah, keep it coming. We also enjoyed baby octopus salad. Yep. Baby Octopus.
The pièce de ré·sis·tance for us was the monk fish liver. No sushi meal is complete without this slice of heaven. This is like foie gras in sushi format. Each meal for us ends with this treat. What better way to end a meal than to have your eyes roll into the back of your head and curl your toes.
There’s a number of drinks you can get but what goes better with sushi than Sake? Nothing. We thoroughly enjoyed this new sake and will definitely drink more once our hangovers have passed. The price of this, interestingly enough, is exactly half of the price of a large bottle. Usually they charge more for the smaller bottle but not here.
This restaurant is what we think of when we go out for sushi. We drive by 3 other locations just to get this one. We have every since we first discovered it a few years ago and I don’t see that cycle being broken any time soon.
I joke with my wife in that when we’re eating sushi, I feel like a seal. I bark and the chef tosses fish into my mouth. But that’s really almost what is going on. This place is hidden, it’s quiet and it’s good! At the time of this writing, Yelp has 259 reviews for this little gem and a rating of 4 and a half stars.