Feb 2018

Ichima Sushi – Pasadena

Ichima - Pasadena

Sometime last year, before L.A. Weekly became shady AF, I read an article in its online pages about an under-the-radar sushi spot in Pasadena. In the post “Pasadena’s Best Restaurants, According to Salazar’s Chef,” Chef Jonathan Aviles shared that the restaurant had “a little small and outdated interior, but once you sit down and start to take it all in, you’re in for a treat.” I instantly bookmarked the spot.

My mind must’ve been mush at that very moment because instead of bookmarking Gin Sushi on Colorado Boulevard, the Chef’s recommended spot, I bookmarked Ichima Sushi in Hastings Ranch. Doh.

Ichima - Pasadena

Which brings me to Ichima, a fluorescent-lit beacon of unremarkable sushi settled in an East Pasadena strip mall. When The Astronomer and I stopped in for a late weeknight dinner in December, the restaurant was so busy that we waited 20 minutes for a table. Chef-driven hype or not, Ichima is definitely loved by its regulars.

To start, a bowl each of hot miso soup that was standard and satisfying.

Ichima - Pasadena

The Astronomer and I shared a variety of a la carte nigiri, as well as “Sushi Combo C” ($16.50). The pre-set platter included pieces of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, crab, albacore, shrimp, octopus, tamago, and eel sushi, plus a spicy tuna roll.

Ichima - Pasadena

Let’s give it up for spicy tuna!

Ichima - Pasadena

From the a la carte sushi menu, we ordered pieces of mackerel ($3.95), yellowtail belly ($5.95), red snapper ($5.50)…

Ichima - Pasadena

…salmon eggs ($4.85)…

Ichima - Pasadena

…and mayo-laden scallops. The individual pieces were straightforward, fresh, and good.

Ichima - Pasadena

The best bite of the night was the salmon hand roll.

Ichima - Pasadena

On the flip side were slightly shriveled oysters served over ice on the half-shell (M.P).

Obviously, our dinner at Ichima wasn’t a mind-blowing omakase, but it was just what we were in the mood for: unfussy sushi of palatable quality. As a sushi lover through and through, it never hurts to have another neighborhood spot churning out good enough fishes at reasonable prices. Ichima, you’re alright. #HastingsRanchLifestyle

325 North Rosemead Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone: 626-351-0560

One year ago: Maple Block Meat Co. – Culver City
Two years ago:
 Fuku – New York City
Three years ago: 
Rainbow Drive-In – Honolulu (Kapahulu)
Four years ago:
Jonathan Gold’s Scouting Report #3: East Borough
Five years ago:
Mission Chinese Food – New York City
Six years ago:
Pailin Thai Cuisine – Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Seven years ago: Sushi Komasa – Los Angeles (Downtown)
Eight years ago: The Dining Room at The Langham – Pasadena
Nine years ago: Root Beer Bundt Cake
Ten years ago: Bánh Tằm Bì
Eleven years ago: Le Bec-Fin – Philadelphia

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5 thoughts on “Ichima Sushi – Pasadena

  1. I have been to this place a few times, with mixed results, never going really above mediocre. As far as Gin Sushi goes, though, that used to be my go-to sushi place in college before they slid further and faster than an avalanche (this is over ten years ago). They made me ill on the regular and I have not been back in easily 8 years now. That it was recommended is surprisingly curious – I’ll have to rally up my old Gin sushi buddies and have another go.

  2. Same here. I’ve probably been to Ichima four or five times over the last 20 years. (My brother loved it when we were teenagers.) I’ve never had anything better than average, and quite a few things that have been awful.

    But you are correct, the people in the neighborhood really like it. Though I think that has more to do with proximity and price (especially the ≈ $10 lunch bento boxes) rather than quality.

  3. Rachael & Justin – Y’all are my Hastings Ranch lifestyle experts! Thank you for reading and sharing your tales of Ichima mediocrity. What took me so long? I kid…

  4. I’ve lived in Pasadena and Sierra Madre for the past 5 years. Ichima is my favorite local sushi spot. Obviously, not a destination restaurant, but it hits the spot for reasonably priced and within ten minutes. My favorite is the hotate on their specials.

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