Hirose is a hidden sleeper of a tiny sushi restaurant sandwiched between a Jersey Mike’s & Ko-ryu- Ra-men. It’s mostly a Japanese speaking clientele, especially during the lunch hour, but that shouldn’t discourage non-Japanese speakers from enjoying the fresh, light, healthful aspects of Japanese cuisine. The menu has explanations in English, and the waiters and waitress are proficient enough in English to take your orders.
The best time to visit Hirose is during lunch, since the prices are significantly lower at that time. Dinner prices get higher, so it’s not quite a bargain anymore. An especially good deal is to get the Sushi lunch set or the Chirashi, which is a bed of rice with a melange of Neta (neh tah)/ seafood or other ingredients to put over the Sushi rice which is seasoned with Japanese rice vinegar and a touch of Mirin/sweet Japanese cooking Sake.
There is also an “Omakase” lunch deal that goes for around $28 that includes eight pieces of Sushi, Miso soup, appetizer, a cooked course, steamed egg custard soup, and ice cream. This lunch Omakase is available only Monday-Friday, and is not for people who have limited time. With omakase be prepared to leisurely enjoy an extended lunch.
If you do decide to dine at the small sushi bar that seats only about six people, don’t expect this sushi chef to be gregarious and garrulous. He seems to be by his very nature a taciturn, phlegmantic man. Small talk is not in his genes. If you want entertaining and sociable sushi chefs, go to Mako Sushi on the 3rd floor of Weller Court in Little Tokyo or go to Sushi Kimagure in Pasadena. They are masters of their craft with a penchant for idle chatter about everything and anything when a humorous topic pops up. The Sushi bar at Hirose is a great place to get zen-like serenity if dining alone or having a minimum of interruptions if dining with a friend.
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and the “pudding” at Hirose is more than just competent. It is a nice experience in an unassuming, unflashy, yet flavorful Japanese sushi restaurant where the style is very much “old school” sushi. The main emphasis is on good quality of fish and expert preparation of the ingredients. This is as it should be. To those people who are addicted to those outrageously outre rolls like the caterpillar roll or rainbow roll with ingredients that clash and heavy, mucky sauces will not be happy with the more pristine, clear tastes at the House of Hirose.
Crenshaw Blvd, Ste L Torrance, CA 90505 (310) 530-3533
Photo by Yuichi Sakuraba via Flickr