This week, at the urging of a friend, I popped into Love Sushi for happy hour. I need to confess that I've only recently started eating sushi and am not all that adventurous, but at least I didn't chicken out and go for the, well, chicken.
223 W. Los Angeles Ave.
Overview: Though I'm a beginner, the friends I met there are sushi veterans and swear by the place. After tasting the various rolls and enjoying the antics of the sushi chefs, who aren't adverse to a bit of imbibing with the customers at the sushi bar, I just may be a convert.
Decor: Nothing stood out especially in the way of decor for me. My friends and I sat at the sushi bar and I was more interested in what was going on behind the counter than the color of the walls, which, I think, is a good thing. Including the bar, there are a good number of tables for big and smaller groups, including one where a large teppan grill used to be before the owners replaced it in favor of more seating.
The Drinks: An assortment of beer and sake is available and during certain times of day is available on a buy one, get-one-for-a-nickle-basis. I quickly realized the sushi chefs might be getting the best deal out of this because customers often buy one for themselves and one for the chefs.
Appetizers: How can you tell what's an appetizer and what's a main dish when everything is bite-sized? The restaurant does serve soups and noodles (miso ($1.50) and different types of udon ($6.95-$10.95) ) as well as an assortment of salads, so I suppose this might be a good place to mention them. The salads run the gamut from a simple house salad of iceburg lettuce and cucumbers ($3.95) to salmon skin salad ($6.95) and taco salad ($7.95)—note even a beginner like me knew this referred to octopus and not some Mexican-Asian fusion dish.
Entrees: Love Sushi offers the standard fresh, baked and tempura rolls plus a list of chef specialty rolls and shashimi offerings. For those who don't eat fish, various chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian dishes are available. Most of the items are around $10, but if you visit the restaurant during happy hour, prices are considerably lower. I ordered two kinds of rolls during happy hour and my bill was less than $9—and I had leftovers to take home.
Sides: The menu's sides include steam and sushi rice, deep fried garlic and mountain carrot. A dish of edamame is brought to you after you're seated.
Desserts: The choices for dessert include green tea or vanilla ice cream; mango, green tea, strawberry or vanilla mochi; tempura ice cream; banana tempura and frozen yogurt. At the end of your meal, you're also brought some slices of apple atop a scoop of peanut butter all drizzled with chocolate.
Service: Our servers were incredibly attentive. Our water glasses were constantly full and servers checked on us often to see if we needed anything.
Signature Dish: It's hard to list just one signature dish, though there are a few with the word "love" in their names. The chefs often create something all on their own, though, and offer it to the patrons sitting in front of them. This may be reason enough to sit at the bar. It was a fun surprise, though I nearly chickened out with one of the offerings.