There are three things that Los Angeles’ upper crust is always willing to fork out premium prices for: German autos, Italian fashions and Japanese sushi. It’s that last one that is often the most impressive in its mastery: dishes served at places like Urasawa or Sushi Zo boast some of the finest and freshest ingredients available, prepared by chefs so skilled they make brain surgeons look jittery. Of course, it comes at cost; go often enough and you may rack up the kind of debt usually reserved for recent college grads. The good news is that you can still find some decent sushi in LA for the same price as valet parking at Sugarfish.
Sadly one of my favorite places for tasty $4 rolls, GaJu Sushi, closed about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been curiously scouring LA for a place to find sushi that would fill me up for a single Jackson note without requiring a stomach pump. Murakami Sushi, a Japanese bistro in Hollywood that serves great bowls of vibrant sashimi for very reasonable prices would be a excellent choice, but its prices skewed a bit higher than GaJu’s. So just like Inception, I knew I needed to delve deeper and enter into the next level of cheapness. Many would suggest the ubquitous Sushi Mac chain, which serves $3 plates of passable sushi, most of which involve large globs of spicy mayo and tempura batter. But seeing how it was a weekday afternoon and I was reasonably sober, I opted to try out the aptly named Ugly Roll Sushi, a small shop located behind a Burger King in Palms. Of course one must approach eating here with limited expectations, but for the cost Ugly serves up sushi that is fresh, tasty and not overly reliant on greasy gimmicks. The most popular dish, the Ugly combo gets you two rolls, a side of tempura and artfully sliced orange half for $7. The selection of rolls is scant but simple, which can often be preferable to the sauce-drowned behemoths commonly found in some LA sushi bars. The spicy salmon roll may miss the mark on spiciness but the salmon is fatty and tender, probably the best bet for fish choice here, though the albacore and eel are close seconds. Extra points are awarded for free brown rice substitutions, the shelves of battered japanese comics to skim through, and tray of markers regulars use to scrawl illicit graffiti on the walls. I’d suffice it to say I’ve found a new place for odd times when Mitsawu’s deli case doesn’t cut, yet I find myself a couple hundred short of the the platinum tier.
Ugly Roll Sushi
11128 Palms Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034