It’s been said the hole-in-the-wall restaurants create the best food. Hell, I’ve even said it myself. Though a romantic notion, this is not always true. Sometimes a hole-in-the-wall is just, well, a hole-in-the-wall. Nothing special. But in spite of the nothing-specialness, and for reasons I simply cannot understand, some thrive and quickly become the place to be. Such is the case for Sushi Studio in Long Beach.
It’s a little, nondescript place, poised right next to a rent-by-the-hour motel on the PCH where the low-grade “working girls” peddle their wares. Okay so I can’t really say the motel rents by the hour… but it certainly looks like such a place. The security guard roaming the disorganized parking lot looked shady and left me grateful for having found the one parking spot right by the front door.
Normally, I’d opt not to go into a place like this but, well, when a good lookin lady is involved, particularly one who just raves about the place, you forgo your better judgment and defer to her excited praise.
Inside it was dark. Not the romantic ambiance kind of dark… this was more of the inadequate lighting bent. Rock music blared painfully through shitty speakers. It was more like a frantic fish-market than a restaurant. And that small counter surrounding the cooking station barely passed as an actual sushi-bar What? The place was crowded, loud, and I swear the soles of my shoes stuck to the floor with every step.
“So what do you like here?” I asked while flipping through their menu.
“I absolutely love the Sunrise on Second Street,” says she.
We ordered that along with an assortment of sushi, rice, Miso soup, etc. The good news is it didn’t take very long for our food to come. The bad news is the food was at best, mediocre. I suppose I shouldn’t complain since it didn’t make me ill. Yet with it being only so-so, it’s really difficult to get excited about the place.
When I go to a sushi restaurant, I expect it to be quiet and lend itself to soft-spoken conversation. I expect the music to be soft and melodic. Not the non sequitur blaring of too loud rock-n-roll. The food should be pleasing to the eye as well as the belly. And the place should be clean! Ugh…
If you love sushi and more importantly the sushi-dining-experience, don’t bother with this place.