For years the best-kept sushi secret in Hollywood was Sushi Ike in a little strip mall. Despite the unassuming exterior and inconspicuous location, Sushi Ike drew fans from locals to celebrities that included the likes of Bette Midler, Phil Collins and Katherine Heigl, who swore by the high standard of sashimi. Then one day, Sushi Ike was no more. Luckily, Chef Ike hasn’t left the sushi game entirely. As suddenly as he had disappeared, Chef Ike reappeared, this time in Pasadena.
Although the location is a complete 180 from a Hollywood strip mall, Chef Ike’s new restaurant is now called Sushi Kimagure, located here in family-friendly Pasadena at the Del Mar Gold Line station. And critic Jonathan Gold has already named the place as the best sushi joint in town.
Located on Raymond Avenue, across from Central Park, Chef Ike seems to be settling in to his new digs just fine. He tells writer Shelby Hartman, “It’s different from Hollywood. It’s pretty and family-friendly.” And the new location hasn’t stopped some of his old customers from making the journey across town, where they meet and mingle with new fans.
Like his original restaurant, Sushi Kimagure isn’t for the sushi squeamish. Rather than finding Americanized rolls, there is only sushi in its purest form, no California rolls, crunchy rolls or anything like that. Chef Ike appreciates creativity, but he adheres to the tradition of just the best fish on rice. Each morning Chef Ike treks down to L.A.’s fish market to pick out the best for the day’s offerings. He promises that after a few times, he’ll know exactly what you like. After all, his real specialty is taking care of customers.
Sushi Kimagure, 220 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. 626.535.0880.
PHOTOGRAPH by Erin Adams