“On a Roll” for Pasadena Magazine

October 2009

When it comes to sushi in Pasadena, there are plenty of fish in the sea, as a walk in Old Town can tell you. It’s not uncommon to stand outside a sushi restaurant and spot at least one other sushi restaurant within walking distance.

Fortunately, this is a good thing, since sushi continues to be created and elevated, while contributing many health benefits. Fans would agree the taste doesn’t hurt either.

“For people looking to get a balanced meal, sushi offers that in a neat, attractive little package,” says registered dietitian and Sweet Science Nutrition director Mariana Bowman. “Generic rolls include rice, which is a starch, and if you have brown rice instead, that adds more fiber and vitamins like B-1. Vegetables also add vitamins and fiber. Seaweed adds protein, B vitamins, vitamin A and anti-oxidants, which help protect the immune system. B vitamins help with energy and B-6 and B-12 protect the nervous system and enhance its function.”

When it comes to the main ingredient of raw fish, Bowman says any kind of fish will be a healthy choice, though smaller fish like sardines and mackerel and medium-sized fish like tuna will have lower mercury content than larger fish.

“They are a great source of protein and fattier fish like salmon mean more Omega-3s,” says Bowman. “Omega-3s are essential fatty acids and must come from food. They are crucial in developing the brain and also help battle depression and reduce cholesterol and inflammation associated with heart disease.”

Raw fish and vegetables are especially healthy, Bowman adds, since heat reduces vitamins in vegetables and Omega-3s in fish.

But heat is a positive in terms of spicy ingredients like ginger, wasabi, spicy tuna and jalapeno, which she says can minimally raise metabolism during digestion.

“Ginger also has anti-bacterial properties,” says Bowman. “In several cultures, in addition to eating ginger, there is ginger tea that is used during cold season. Wasabi, being a hot ingredient, would help with a cold to decongest and clear airways.”

Now that you have even more reasons to consume sushi, here are some restaurants and dishes that can fix your appetite and well-being.

Sushi Roku                                                                                                                                           33 Miller Alley, Pasadena. (626) 683-3000

Saba Gari Roll: Seaweed outside with Mackerel, Avocado, and Ginger.

Garden Roll: Sushi rice wrapped with cucumber and seaweed on the outside and shiso leaf (plum leaf), chives, asparagus, and mizuna (Japanese variety of mustard greens), topped with crispy wonton chips and served with ginger soy vinaigrette.

Japon Bistro                                                                                                                                                 927 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 744-1751

Green reef roll: Salmon, tuna, and white fish (rock cod), wrapped in cucumber instead of rice Sashimi roll: A rice-less roll with yellowtail, rock cod, tuna, salmon, asparagus, and imitation crab meat wrapped in soy paper.

Kampachi: Baby yellowtail, grated fresh cucumber, yuzu sauce and fresh sea salt.

Maikobe                                                                                                                                                       45 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. (626) 795-5215

Baked spicy roll: Baked yellowtail and salmon, pickled burdock root, and daikon sprouts Sashimi carpaccio: A slightly torched combination of sliced halibut drizzled with truffle oil, grated daikon, and green onions

Sliced salmon fusion-style sashimi: Sliced Scottish salmon, sliced ginger root, jalapeno, hot extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil

Kabuki                                                                                                                                                   Old Town Pasadena: 88 W. Colorado Blvd. #103. (626) 568-9310                                                   Pasadena: 3539 E. Foothill Blvd. (626) 351-8963

Lotus on fire roll: Spicy tuna, lotus root, and jalapeno on top of California roll

Lotus roll: Baked premium lobster meat on top of California roll served with eel sauce

Omakase special: Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, white fish, shrimp, imitation crabmeat, egg, sea eel, albacore and California roll

Spicy tuna salad: Spicy tuna, cucumber and daikon on top of gourmet spring mix, served with ponzu sauce and sesame oil

Happy fishing!

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