I’ve been to i-naba over a dozen times and had no clue they also had a tiny six-seat omakase-only sushi-ya in manhattan beach. They started as a lunch only place and about a year ago added reservation-only dinner service for up to six guests (good candidate for an FTC buyout). The space has no gas line, no bathroom, and no liquor license, however you can bring your own “beverage”.
Sushi i-naba is run by chef yasu-san who’s doing some legit aging. He gets most of his fish, killed using ike jime, directly from his mom in japan (she owns a restaurant and has access to the fishing ports) and his nori from his step-father who makes his own nori, a true family business.
- aged amberjack belly
- japanese water snail
- kanimiso tofu
- aged akami zuke
- aged chutoro
- aged toro
- braised kama
- anago temaki
one week aged amberjack belly, mustard, yuzu zest
barron point oyster, ponzu
no gas, this will have to do
sanma (pike mackerel) seared and raw
tsubugai - simmered japanese water snail, yuzu zest
Sweet with a great abalone-like texture
kanimiso (crab brain) tofu, snow crab
Wow, this was like eating the entire essence of the crab in one bite, fantastic.
Resting at the proper temperature and not sitting in some ice box.
one week aged akami zuke (marinated lean tuna)
18 day aged chutoro (spain)
So fatty it got denied health insurance for having pre-existing diabetes
sea bream kobujime (cured in kombu)
isaki - striped grunt (shizuoka prefecture)
kamasu - barracuda, lemon juice, seaweed salt
gindara - black cod, yuzu salt
Seared to render the fat and crisp the skin
hotate - hokkaido scallop
sawara (spanish mackerel), green onion and ginger freshly ground using a suribachi and surikogi
The freshly ground negi and ginger put this over the top.
hokkaido bafun uni
Nori was outstanding
braised sea bream collar, gobo, daikon
Wow, another hit, so good. The meat was fatty, sweet, and falling off the bone. The gobo still had a nice bite and the daikon was like a soft caramelized onion. I wish i had some rice to soak up all the sauce. I can only imagine how good @beefnoguy’s braised kinki he had at tsukiji must have been.
japanese butterfish, red yuzu kosho
kue (longtooth grouper) shabu shabu
only miss of the night, not sure if this was supposed to have soy sauce or not, pretty bland.
22 day aged toro (boston)
I’ve never seen this technique of gently warming up toro by placing it on top of a plastic-covered bowl of hot water.
so old, it goes to bed earlier than @Linus
yukimasu - snow trout (nagano prefecture)
sweet shrimp, caviar
kue (longtooth grouper) clear soup
Much better than the nigiri version.
hirame - halibut
ishidai - knife jaw
smoked trout roe, king crab
golden king crab egg chinmi
@beefnoguy, not sure what this is called, yasu-san explained this was pre-formed crab eggs.
santa barbara uni
matcha red bean mochi from japan
Had another great meal with yasu-san. word must have gotten out, he did two full seatings the night i was there.
Temperature, seasoning, and NSR were all “on point”, just wish there were more hikarimono (kohada, aji, iwashi, sayori), kanpyo and tamago.
noresore - undeveloped baby seawater eel
the eyes have it
kazunoko - herring roe
kanimiso (crab brain) tofu, snow crab
love this, like a crab flan.
shako (hokkaido) - mantis shrimp
wish there was more shako in la. this was meaty and sweet, very good.
hotaru ika - firefly squid, sumiso
shirako - cod sperm
tis the season for sperm, come and get it.
tsubugai - simmered japanese sea snail
delicious. sweet with a nice bite. nice contrast between the crunchy meat and the soft liver.
braised turnip, ground chicken
warm and comforting
21 day aged akami zuke (marinated lean tuna)
15 day aged chutoro (boston)
soft, fatty and full of umami. outstanding.
isaki - striped grunt
ishidai - japanese knifejar
kamasu - barracuda, lemon zest, seaweed salt
yamaimo - marinated japanese mountain yam
kinmedai kobujime - golden eye snapper cured in kombu
ankimo - monkfish liver
fucking delicious. this was served warm and sliced off a huge lobe and had a texture of custard. i prefer this over the cold, pate prep. if chef’s replaced foie gras with this i would be okay with that.
reminded me of a certain emoji
hirame (chiba prefecture) - halibut
santa barbara uni (red sea urchin), hokkaido bafun uni (purple sea urchin)
Doesn’t get any better than this, incredible.
kan-buri shabu - kan-buri (winter wild yellowtail), mejina (large scale black fish), maitake mushroom
i’m not a big fan of shabu shabu and unfortunately this didn’t change my mind, i mostly just tasted the ponzu dipping sauce. i would have preferred just eating the sashimi straight up with wasabi and soy sauce.
kami-nabe - paper pot
i’m always amazed by the physics of cooking broth in paper over an open flame. freaking japan.
gindara - seared black cod, yuzu salt
hotate no isobeyaki - scallop
sawara - spanish mackerel, green onion and ginger
loved the freshly ground green onion and ginger on top.
28 day aged otoro (spain) - fatty tuna belly
instead of placing the neta on top of saran wrap over hot water before serving, yasu-san changed it up and used a plate warmed with hot water.
shime saba - marinated mackerel
mejina shiso - large scale black fish
yukimasu - snow trout, dehydrate soy sauce powder
madai - wild seabream
clam, kama soup
anago two ways, sauced and salted
vinegar-y hikarimono goodness
santa barbara uni temaki
great sweet cold ending
1300 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266