Sugarfish (Santa Monica)
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Simple, straight ahead, and fresh Sushi in Santa Monica.
There’s a certain minimalism to Sushi if you think about it. Just the right moves, just the right fish, cooked with just the right rice, all of it tasting just the right way.
Should it come as any surprise then to anyone that Sushi restaurants should come much the same way: minimalist, simple, clean, efficient.
Sugarfish is such a place. It’s a space that if you blinked at the wrong moment, you’d might miss it entirely. You walk inside, and its decor is…well…it doesn’t feel very Japanese. It’s wood, it’s clean, it’s efficient. Hell, it’s almost Swedish.
But the food coming out of that kitchen is all Japanese, 100% Sushi. No gimmicks or tricks attached there. Just good fish, prepared the right way and paired with good rice. Even me the guy who can only eat Tuna was fairly impressed.
There were still a few strange things about this branch of the Sugarfish empire.
One, is it’s location, not only is it minimalist, not only is it cozy…it’s also parked on Second Street, all but hidden away from it’s most famous 3rd Street Sibling.
That is weird.
And damn if it isn’t loud in here. I’ve been in Sushi places that were far quieter, genteel and…well…downright contemplative than this. Granted, this isn’t Rockin’ Sushi or Sushi Dan’s, and people were just out on a Saturday having a good time, but…I don’t know. I guess I’m just not used to having to raise my voice as much as I did to compare notes on what we were having. Just know that going in.
And damn if it isn’t a place that…well…serves a mixed clientele. You’re not sneaking in and eating where the Japanese-American community is eating. No, you’ll mostly be getting Santa Monica’s latest and greatest. Granted, you won’t be eating in a Don Ho style Asian place. I’m pretty sure Sugarfish would pass muster with the Japanese-American, Japanese, or any community on earth. But it was a bit distracting having people talk about the latest labels as much as what they were having.
It’s a good place. And, despite it’s reputation, it’s also a decently priced place. I’m not going to call it inexpensive, but I’m not going to call it wallet shattering either. If Sushi’s your thing, go here. I’d take it over Katsuya by Stark any day of the week.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, if you’re like me, and have a Seafood allergy, one must proceed carefully.
Then again, dude…what the hell are you doing there in the first place?
C’mon. I was curious. I’d been hearing about this place for nearly forever, and I wanted to try it.
That being said, I was pretty much limited to the Tuna and the Cucumber Roll. But oh, what Tuna it was. I ordered eight cut pieces of the Fatty Tuna, and man was that good. Creamy, light, almost buttery.
Nah, not buttery, but…you get what I’m saying. It was so good, I ordered seconds.
Then there was the matter of the Cucumber Rolls. Something was off here, at least for me. They were far…saltier than I expected. Where I tasted nothing but the beautiful, light and airy Fatty Tuna in the Fatty Tuna rolls, I barely tasted the Cucumber in the Cucumber Rolls. My dining companion thought it was rice vinegar, and it could very well be, but it they were a bit too sharp and salty for me taste.
Also, it should be noted that the Salmon Rolls were also very nice, and very fresh…though I’m counting on second hand accounts for that.
But what the hell do I care? I got a Sapporo Black to go along with it, and all was right with the world.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: We’ll cover this in the parking, but…Sugarfish is in a Brick Building off 2nd Street in Santa Monica, yet…you’ll find Validated Parking for Sugarfish in the big white office building next door.
Confused? So was I. But you cut your deals where you can cut them I guess.
Also, be sure to bring you Parking Card with you when you go to the Restaurant. It’s not just a matter of Validation, but the you’ll need the card to get back into the Building on Weekends.
Trust me. It’s far easier than having to walk down though the garage the hard way.
Also, like I said, Sugarfish isn’t the most obvious of storefronts. It’s literally sitting right next to there you went down to Park, but you can still totally miss if if you blink at the wrong time.
PARKING: Like I said in the Safety Tip, there is validated Parking in a White Building next door to Sugarfish. You’ll pay about $3.25 total if you get your stamp, so make sure you bring your ticket with you (as emphasized above.) If you want to bounce about 3rd Street afterwards, you can try to park in the City Garages. They’re not that expensive, and they’re scattered up and down the Promenade. Consult our Santa Monica Parking map for locations. (It’s an old map, but the locations are still good.)
Street Parking will be…well…iffy at best.
Sugarfish (Santa Monica)
1345 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 393-3338
Monday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm