Eatery - I Luv Sushi (CA)
3215 Carson St, Lakewood, CA 90712
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Japanese
Hey roll lovers! If you're in the Long Beach/Lakewood area, you might just enjoy I Luv Sushi but more so during their Happy Tummy hour when the majority of their rolls are priced at $5 or $6. Otherwise, you might be spending upwards of $15 for a roll (which I stayed away from even though I really wanted to try some eel). I met up with a friend here on his suggestion as he's been a few times. After a long drive (I was coming from Irvine at 4 in the afternoon...on surface streets), I arrived at the unassuming place and saw a wide demographic of customers. The interior was quite loud (perhaps a result of Happy Tummy hour?) and Americanized. It's okay - I got a warning before I came in.
My friend knew what he wanted to have fairly quickly but I kept wavering as I was trying to figure out what was on the regular menu, which had descriptions, and what was on the specials menu. The first thing that came out was his Fantastic Roll which had spicy tuna and whitefish...and was deep-fried. A sign of Americanization? Of course. Who deep-fries sushi? Well the presentation was nice, and the roll came out fairly quickly. The quick deep-fried batter got soft quickly from the moisture of the other ingredients. I got a piece where some of the tuna ended up getting cooked so it wasn't as good as I think it was meant to be. I tried another piece to see what it was like but the batter overpowered the other tastes. That's what you get when you douse something in oil though eh?
My orders came out next - the Autumn Roll and some Yellowtail Sushi. Shrimp tempura with spicy albacore made for a fun combo since the albacore was on top. That allowed me to taste a lot more of the raw fish and less of distracting tempura. I liked the crunch inside, and the sweet, tangy sauce atop the whole roll lessened any heat from the spicy albacore. It was quite good and the fish fresh. My yellowtail was actually very impressive when I first received it. I mean, I hadn't seen yellowtail that clean and luminescent in a while. It was very clear meat and nearly melt-in-your-mouth. Delicious!
The last order to come out was the Atlantic Roll made of spicy salmon and shrimp tempura wrapped in soy paper. The soy paper reminded me of those white rabbit candies that I had had as a child which were always wrapped in a thin rice paper but a bit thicker and stickier. There wasn't enough salmon in this but as rolls tend to have, plenty of sauce. I wasn't feeling it, especially with the intrusive chunk of avocado inside. Overall, I think the place would be great for a roll lover but for me, I can do with a lot less rice and sauce please...and a little quieter works out better when communicating orders or having a conversation. However, for roll lovers, eat up! I rated keeping in mind that it served mostly rolls, so the bar for sushi judgment isn't as high.