Sushi in South Pasadena

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White is the traditional color of an artist's canvas. At Zushi Restaurant, however, the canvases come in shades of aquamarine, cobalt, watermelon, and lemon yellow. It's onto this colorful collection of dinnerware that chefs plate sushi in startling shades and variations, with garnishes such as orchids, orange slices, and wasabi "leaves" completing each still life. The rolls themselves range from simple to elaborate. The standard list includes sushi with a single element, such as quail egg, scallops, or sweet shrimp. By nature a minimalist art form, Zushi's sashimi nevertheless demonstrates inventiveness with the lemon tako—alternating layers of octopus and lemon, accompanied by a blossom-shaped dish of sesame oil for dipping.

It's with the more complex rolls that Zushi's chefs really flex their creative muscles. The addition of heat to the preparation of baked and tempura maki adds contrasting textures and temperatures to the table. The deep-fried california roll sports a cloak of crispy batter. The warm outer layers of the baked barbecue beef roll mask the cool fresh tuna at its core. Heat is also prominent, twice, in the spicy barbecue pork, or once in the shrimp teppan yaki. House saki—served hot or cold—can extinguish or augment the fire in one's mouth, accordingly.

133 W California Blvd
Pasadena,
CA
US

From the deep-fried popcorn lobster to the banana tempura dessert, A'Float Sushi's menu is a ripe with Japanese dishes prepared with creative flair. But sushi rolls are where the chefs really excel, from classic California or spicy tuna rolls, to green mussel rolls and rolls made with honey walnut shrimp tempura. Entrees, meanwhile, are a bit more traditional, featuring choices such as deep-fried pork tonkatsu served with salad, rice, and soup.

87 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena,
CA
US

Fresh, flavorful sushi is only half of the story at Japon Bistro. The other? Carefully paired pours from an artisan assortment of sake, stocked by owner and sake expert Clarence Wong, also known as Koji. His seasonal selections complement unique rolls, such as the spicy, jalapeno and-salmon-filled Southwest, or the New Age, featuring tuna, salmon, and albacore topped with a secret-recipe sauce. A selection of noodles and teriyaki entrees satisfy diners who prefer their raw food cooked. The drinks and dishes unite to create a dining experience that has won a recommendation from the Michelin Guide, and been named amongst the area's best by Citysearch.com and Pasadena Magazine.

927 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena,
CA
US