Long Beach Lunch: Maru Maki Sushi
Now the words "cover charge" and "sushi" don't go together very often (unless you're at The Venetian strip club in Anaheim), but I crunched some numbers and determined that even if I only ordered a Dragon Roll, lunch would still be a good deal. So I walked the few blocks from my place, told the waiter that I agreed to the peculiar "Maru Maki Fee" and grabbed a seat at the sushi bar.
With all the ground rules out of the way (whew!), I marked up my ordering sheet with what I wanted for lunch: one Crunch California Roll, one Rainbow Roll and one order of baked scallops.
The baked scallops came first, a ceramic dish filled with what was more seafood casserole than anything Japanese. The menu listed the dish as "scallops baked with dynamite sauce topped with green onion, eel sauce and masago," but what ended up in front of me was a bowl of warm, creamy imitation crab meat with occassional small, dime-sized scallops buried within. Not a horrible combination in theory, but as it cooled off, the fishy taste grew too much to bear and since I knew I had a lot more of that fake crab coming, I picked out the scallops and pushed the plate aside.
|Crunchy California Roll (front) and Rainbow Roll|
My rolls came next, one covered in crispy tempura, eel sauce and spicy mayo and the other topped with assorted fish. The fish probably wasn't the catch of the day and the cuts might make Jiro Ono cringe, but I'm no sushi snob and for someone who drenches each bite in soy sauce and ginger slices, it'll fill you up.
If you're looking out, it's easy to see the tactics Maru Maki implements to keep costs down (no avocado on the Rainbow Roll, gobs of imitation crab in the California Rolls), but the restaurant does not pretend to be the home of the freshest fish in town nor is it trying to compete with high falutin' places like Sushi Nobu. Instead, Maru Maki is an above average $3 sushi restaurant that plays epic J-pop music videos on a tiny TV behind the counter and gives away free beer to anyone who can prove that they checked in there on Foursquare.
Maru Maki Sushi 745 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 435-1847.
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