One of the first restaurants I remember visiting after moving back to Los Angeles from the east coast was Hamasaku. I was meeting new and old friends and remember pulling up to the odd sushi restaurant in a strip mall on Santa Monica Boulevard, thinking, this food can't be any good, but I'm here for the people. I ended up being wrong on many levels with some of my best friends coming from that dinner 10 years later, as well as naming Hamasaku one of my favorite go-to sushi restaurants in LA.
When I heard about Hamasaku's dining room remodel, I knew it was time to pay another visit to an old friend. The restaurant is more open now with one steady uninterrupted flow through the room with light wood tables, chairs and flooring. A bit Scandanavian in its simplicity, but it works. Eater also just did a nice profile on the eclectic chef and restaurant.
The menu still has some of its classically named celeb dishes like the Blondie shrimp tempura roll, Blaine spicy tuna and one of my favorites, the Charlize taco which wraps spicy tuna and avocado into a friend wonton skin.
The sashimi has stood the test of time. Albacore is thinly sliced and topped with fried onions and ginger soy. Salmon crudo is another melt-in-your-mouth dish with some simple flavors like olive oil and lemon combined with a punch of horseradish aioli.
While I may not have enjoyed anything on screen with Twilight, the Hamasaku roll combines some of my favorite things like seared albacore with spicy tuna, crab, avocado and ponzu.
There are rolls with rice, without rice, with seaweed wrapper, with soy paper, without any wrapper. If you feel like making no decisions at all, you can "trust the chef," and go with the omakase tasting menu for the best of the best.
You should try and make a reservation before you go as the place still books up, though the sushi counter is often open if you want a front row seat. It's good to know that some places don't change, except for a little face lift now and again. It is Los Angeles afterall.
11043 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles