It maybe the height of futility to do a review on a restaurant in its last week of operations, but Maruhide Uni Club is certainly not fading away into that dark night with a whimper. Quite the contrary - The place has absolutely been blowing up the past week, with every single seat already completely booked until its imminent closing on May 21st. In case you were thinking of going, it all sounds impossible, right?
There is hope. If you are a stalwart and don’t mind getting there an hour (or two!) before the day’s lunch or dinner services, then you just might score a vaunted “waiting list” table for walk-ins (very few are available each service).
Genmaicha is served - Really good…
Salad with uni dressing, because we all need our veggies…
Maruhide’s uni shutou sampler (3 types): Original uni marinated with kelp shoyu, uni with ika (squid), and uni ruibe (frozen uni)…
Original uni shutou “sets the palate”… It’s really great. Just premium uni with a bit of yummy soy sauce. Perfect.
Uni shutou with ika… One of my favorite bites of the night, featuring great textural contrasts.
Uni ruibe… Surprisingly outstanding!!! The texture here is more akin to a harder Spanish membrillo, and spreads on bread very nicely!
Ikkomon Shochu, distilled from sweet potato… Potent.
Uni cream croquette… The sauce was made from uni, but I detected no uni in the croquette itself.
Tuna & grated yam (yamaimo) with uni… Lots of yamaimo appear in this dish (almost too much).
Uni miso-flavored grilled squid… Really excellent bite, but not as much uni miso as I had hoped for.
Uni cream pasta… Here, the “less gentle” uni pieces (which would otherwise be unfit for nigiri or sashimi) are used perfectly to render a stronger taste to the pasta dish. I thought this was quite good. Bread is also served to sop up that remaining uni cream afterwards!
Uni toro don: Chu-toro (medium fatty tuna), uni, uni omelette, cucumber, gari (sweet ginger), nori (seaweed) and wasabi all over a bowl of rice, and served with uni in clear seaweed konbu soup… Despite not tasting any hint of uni in the uni omelette pieces, this bowl was a total winner.
The uni konbu was a startlingly refreshing accompaniment to the richness of the uni + chu-toro don!
Dessert time! Maruhide Uni Club offers 3 ice creams: Azuki (red bean), matcha green tea, and black sesame. I tried one of each. Tasted like the supermarket variety. Nothing to see here.
Service was excellent all-around. The servers are gracious and competent, in spite of the onslaught of customers.
If you are a diehard fan of uni, then Maruhide Uni Club is worth one final trip.
Maruhide Uni Club
2130 W. Redondo Beach Bl.
Torrance, CA 90504