Sushi in Venice

Even though I’ve been in Los Angeles for three years now, I’m still tickled by the amazing food one can find in strip malls. This is exactly where you’ll find Irori Sushi in Marina del Rey. I was out visiting my friend Joe who has a lovely little house in Venice. He and my friend Sherri had been raving about this place for weeks, so I finally forced them to take me there. Nestled amongst a SuperCuts, a nail salon, and a Pavilions, ┬áthis unassuming location houses a quaint and authentic Japanese experience. One stashes one’s shoes in a cubby before proceeding to one’s table. But you won’t find chairs – instead you’ll be sitting on a pillow with your feet dangling into a cutout in the floor beneath your table. It’s terribly cute and fun, but, unless you’re sure you won’t need to use the restroom, I would highly recommend wearing socks… yeah…

As you might guess, the starving artist doesn’t make a habit of eating sushi because it is largely not wallet friendly. But it is such a refreshing treat… especially when the weather gets hot… clearly I’m not that good at being a starving artist…. When I do get a craving and find myself at a sushi place, I usually go for a combination platter, which offers a filling variety at a reasonable cost. My 6-piece combo was $19.50 and worth every penny. We also shared some of the house’s special rolls, including the “Irori Roll”, which had smoked salmon, crispy rice, and cilantro. Nothing overwhelming to look at, but utterly amazing to eat. I also quite enjoyed the albacore on a crispy rice square (in the picture at the top right) – a lovely melding of textures and flavors. Fresh and crispy. Mmmm.

Now, I never thought I would find myself saying this, but the service here is almost too thorough. I know, I can feel your rolling eyes and snickering. But check it out. At one point Sherri had taken the last piece of Sushi from one of the plates and, before she even got it to her mouth, a waitress swooped in and snatched the plate from beneath her. Similarly, I could barely take a few sips of water before someone was grabbing my glass to refill it. At first I thought this was impressive, but after a little while I began to feel almost claustrophobic – like they were hovering over me anxiously awaiting for me to make a move. And let’s face it, whenever a waiter comes to the table the flow of conversation gets interrupted, which in turn just exacerbates the claustrophobia. Don’t get me wrong, it was fine – the staff was all incredibly friendly. But, I couldn’t help but take note of this… enthusiasm.

Much to my surprise, Sherri ended up treating me to dinner here, which was quite a generous and unexpected gesture. I love my life.

The verdict: I really enjoyed my experience here, even with overly thorough service, and look forward to returning and trying more of their house rolls. If you’re in the mood for something fresh and a little different, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Irori Sushi
4371 Glencoe Ave
Marina del Rey 90292

Click here for their YELP page and to read my review

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