Me, two years ago: “It’s stupid to cheap out on raw fish - it’s RAW.”
Me, this year: “It’s stupid to spend $70 on raw fish - it doesn’t even get COOKED!” How a recession changes you. Let’s move on.
Taro Sushi & Teriyaki is a tiny storefront in Culver City, three blocks west of Sony. Call it what you want: Divey, hole-in-the-wall, B, etc.
Yes, the exterior is a bit jenky. As mentioned, the storefront is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it small and it looks like some DIY refurbishments happened in the form of Christmas lights and saggy grocery store balloons. But wait till you go in!
Alright, the inside isn’t much better. No music makes it a bit awkward (since there is a continuous whirring noise from the fridge), but there is some mom-and-pop charm here. Pull up a chair at the counter and you’re basically staring into the kitchen, the dishwashing area, and the top of the chef’s head at the same time. Menus are propped up against the counter and, once you’re ready, you let the person behind the counter know what you want.
Here’s where the SOLID starts. This place is mad cheap. Sushi are priced by the piece and are $1.90 for most fish. The pieces are FINGER-THICK. Consensus on the quality among the diners with me: Their fish is fresh, bright-colored (a good sign) and delicious. I’ve been to much more expensive places and gotten thinner pieces with less flavor. 6 pcs + miso soup is a filling lunch (and runs you about $12 total).
If you’re there for dinner, point your eyes down to the Rolls part of the menu. For most fish, a 6-pcer is $3.95. No fancy Hamasaku combos here, but again, the size is impressive and the fish is tasty. Handrolls are $3.50. Combos are a good deal, too: $7.95 for 6pc California roll and 3 sushi pieces of your choice. Other highlights from the menu: Salmon skin salad -$4.95! Tempura - $1.50! You get the gist.
The service is just like the food - nothing fancy, but fast and polite. One other thing that I must mention. Inexplicably, they have a clock whose second hand runs BACKWARDS. It almost makes “Charlie Brown Riding A Bass” look normal.
Don’t be sketched out. Go have yourself a working-class fun time, and you can write me back here if you get a tummy-ache. Other things you may want to know:
- I’m not kidding…place is SMALL. There is a narrow space between the counter and the backwall. Seats 4 MAX. There are 2 folding tables outside. Don’t be bringing a big group here.
- For summertime eating - this place is not air conditioned.
- If you don’t want to wait for a seat, call ahead for take-out.
- They close at 8 pm and are not opened on Sundays.
- Do you look good under fluorescent lights? Not many people do. Be ready to be a worse-looking version of yourself.
- No alcohol, but you can BYOB, which I prefer anyway.
Taro Sushi & Teriyaki
10834 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232