You are transformed walking into Hama Sushi. You throw out all of your standards of what you thought good sushi is and allow their sushi chefs to take rein. My experience at Hama Sushi was authentic as can be, and sadly, I am only able to share this with you through words. Their no camera policy was disappointing — some of their dishes were amazing, visually and taste wise. Above all, I want to respect the establishment of their rules. Heck, I would hate to be black listed at this place, that is for sure. I would have loved to share those with you through pictures, but unfortunately, my writing is going to have to carry all the weight (grammar mistakes and all).
We started off with the albacore sashimi. Thinly sliced, the fish was fresh and of the highest quality. Topped with a yuzu sauce that made everything citrusy and savory, I felt the fish was masked. Though not a mellow flavor, the albacore was too good to pass up.
One of my favorite fish served raw is probably salmon (sake). The sushi chef was careful in cutting each piece to a perfect size. With each bite dipped in my perfectly portioned soy sauce and wasabi mixture, the flavor was so familiar and perfect. The fatty, buttery texture of the salmon paired perfectly with the slight nose flaring wasabi and soy sauce is one of my favorite things to eat. I would have a bite, reset my palate with some ginger, and do it all over again. Salmon is just an exceptional fish. If tuna is the “chicken of the sea”, it is safe to say that salmon is the beef of the sea — fatty tuna (toro) being the kobe beef of the sea. It is no wonder bears eat this stuff, fresh. It melts in your mouth, with a slippery and slimy consistency, it is the perfect food.
It wouldn’t be a night out with sushi without tuna rolls and hand rolls. Cut to a precision, the tuna rolls were small and packed flavor. The spicy tuna hand rolls were spicier than expected and was still very good. Rice is an important part of sushi, undoubtedly equally important as the fish itself. Their rice wasn’t perfect, but I am nitpicking here. I would have liked the rice to be a bit more cooled. the slight warmer temperature gave it an over cooked texture. Nonetheless, this was great.
Sitting inside the small establishment, you are side by side with other patrons. In a “U” shaped sushi bar seating only about 15 people, three sushi chefs took everyone’s orders. The experience was new and fun, and the chance to have such good (not the cheep stuff) sushi was a treat. I may have spoiled myself here, and all other everyday sushi spots might not be as good anymore, but that’s alright. Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo is one of the best in Los Angeles. They don’t try to be anything they are not — they are genuine and down to earth. Eating at other establishments, I will say to myself, “Its good, but nothing like Hama”.