Have you been to I Love Sushi lately? If not, it’s time for a trip. The restaurant is under new management and that means updates to the menu, décor, and service.
Open the door and you’re transported from a strip mall to a cool, dimly lit, neon-infused space lined with big black and blue leather booths. Bold graphics perch over the sushi bar, while cherry blossom trees add a delicate touch to the room.
Wherever you sit, a friendly server will soon appear and take care of you throughout the meal, which is one goal of manager Edwin Kim.
“Customer service is big for us, we want to give you the best experience,” he said. “Another goal is quality. We order our fish in small batches, in real time, to make sure it’s as fresh as possible.”
That commitment to freshness is especially apparent in the Oh Baby Roll ($15.99), one of close to two dozen chef specialty sushi options. Tuna is wrapped in a heart-shape around real crab, gobo, and avocado. It’s beautifully presented and delicious to eat – succulent, savory, creamy – especially when paired with a garlic soy sauce made in-house. Salmon sushi ($4) is simple, silky, and delectable, a perfect bite of seafood and rice.
There are six hand rolls to choose from, from shrimp tempura ($8.50) to the Kingster, which features baked crawfish and avocado with eel sauce ($6.95). The Love Special ($5.75) is stuffed with a generous blend of spicy tuna, crab and bits of crunch in a rich, orange house sauce that has a welcome little kick to it.
For those aren’t a fan of raw fish, there are several baked rolls, including the popular spicy baked salmon roll ($12.95)) and crunchy tempura rolls ranging from the classic shrimp crunch roll ($10.99) to a unique white love roll ($12.95), which combines deep fried real crab and avocado wrapped in soy paper.
Chef and owner Michael Ko is originally from Korea, which lends authenticity to many of the Korean dishes on offer here, from the BBQ Beef Ribs ($12.95 appetizer, $15.95 to $17.95 lunch or $17.95 to $19.95 dinner) to the bulgogi, featuring tender sliced beef with a sweet and sour tang from garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and honey.
If you’re in more of a ramen mood, I Love Sushi has that covered, with Korean and Japanese versions, one with dumplings, another with seafood ($8.99 to $13.99). Add an order of California roll or spicy tuna roll for just $3.95 to $4.95 more.
Lunch specials are served Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm (except holidays) and include soup, salad, and rice, along with perennial Asian favorites such as chicken, beef, or salmon teriyaki ($9.95 to $12.95), fish katsu ($10.95) and shrimp and vegetable tempura ($11.95).
I Love Sushi is a family run business with Kim’s mom, stepfather Ko, and other relatives who hail from the successful Newhall and Bakersfield Love Sushi restaurants. The long-time Santa Clarita residents took over the I Love Sushi location less than a month ago, remodeling the restaurant themselves and creating the new menu based on previous hits.
“It’s geared towards customers who’ve had Love Sushi before, this is just closer to the original recipes,” Kim said.
Happy Hour and kids menus are in the works, so stay tuned.
“We want to make sure everyone is happy when they come here,” Kim said.
I Love Sushi, 26526 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita. Open 11:30 am to 10 pm daily. For more information, follow on Instagram at _ilovesushi or call (661) 673-5200.