Pisces Sushi: Hidden Sushi Gem in Manhattan Beach

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Originally posted on the L.A. Times. To see the whole piece, click here.

Name of restaurant: Pisces Sushi.

Owner: Sarah and her husband and chef, Yoshi. They’re a soft-spoken Japanese couple and run the entire operation by themselves. Sarah manages the restaurant while Yoshi stays behind the counter to do all the cooking.
What dish represents the restaurant and why? The chirashi bowl. Like the restaurant itself, it sounds remarkably simple. You won’t discover the nuances until you try it. Chirashi is raw fish over rice, but Yoshi seasons the rice so well with vinegar that there’s a hint of sweetness to each grain. He takes great care to arrange the lean pieces of tuna, salmon and yellowtail in a fan-like assortment. It’s topped with shrimp and a liberal scattering of shrimp roe. A handful of scallops are placed in a foil cup, drizzled with roe and a creamy orange sauce. Bean sprouts are piled up high for a refreshing garnish.

Concept: Pisces gets the bulk of its business from take-out orders. And it’s no wonder why — there’s only enough space for five guests at a time. There’s a table outside and counter space inside. Yoshi is cooking to the left and Sarah is the manager and waitress. If the tables are full, just wait a while. It’s worth it. They serve some of the freshest and most wonderfully arranged cuts in the area.

Who’s at the next table? Manhattan Beach locals who have uncovered this hidden gem but refuse to tell anyone else about it.

Appropriate for … an intimate lunch with one friend or better yet, a solo meal out. If you have a party larger than two, consider taking the spoils home and offering your seat to smaller groups.

Uh-oh: There’s just not enough space to accommodate everyone and when the orders stack up (and they will), Sarah and Yoshi tend to get overwhelmed.

Service: But the food is so fresh and Sarah is so accommodating and polite that once you get your order, you’ll forgive the wait.

What are you drinking? Freshly steeped green tea in a nice warm mug.

Info: 3216 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach. (310) 545-3980.

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