Eat This Now: Hamachi Kama at Sushi Town
You've probably passed by Sushi Town a million times without knowing it. It's on the one-way part of Newport Boulevard that parallels the 55, in a strip mall with a liquor store and a massage parlor that advertises "colon hydrotherapy" in neon. When you go in, you realize the whole neighborhood is here at the bar, knocking back the sake like they've got something to prove and feasting on rolls drenched in sauce. There's a wait list for the booths and the specials are scribbled with marker on plain white copy paper taped on the walls. Everything seems to be served on no-frills cafeteria plates but that doesn't mean it doesn't serve well-made, bright-tasting sushi any Tokyo ex-pat would approve of.
There's a TV tuned in to sports that no one's really watching and the waiter is one of friendliest, most sincerely affable chaps you've ever had serving you anywhere, sushi bar or otherwise. The prices are relatively low, with nothing generally over $10. The broiled unagi comes in slices thick enough for two nigiri pieces, belted with a strip of nori and brushed with enough sauce to taste like candy. The raw scallops come cuffed in more seaweed, tossed in a light mayo-based lubricant with bits of caviar.
But the best dish might just be the hamachi kama, yellowtail collar. It's wonderful, plainly broiled, seasoned with black pepper you can taste, the meat soft like pudding. You do to it the same as other fish collars: take a pair of chopsticks to task and go spelunking deep in the nooks and crannies on the swoop of bone and cartilage to extract that perfect morsel of meat. And it's all perfect, especially dipped in a tart house ponzu sauce and served with a fistful of coleslaw.