No ordinary sushi bar
M.Y.O Sushi brings a twist to traditional Japanese cuisine with its make-your-own sushi menu. Located on Nogales Street in West Covina, this casual sushi restaurant is one that can be enjoyed by all.
Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed a Spartan white interior that covered almost half of the room giving the room a boring feel. Contrastingly, the other half of the room was very well decorated with abstract art and fine China, carefully adhering to the theme of black, white and red. There was rap music playing which was likely intended as a vehicle to give the restaurant a modernistic vibe.
The restaurant was not very crowded, so my family and I picked up menus and seated ourselves. The menu was extremely organized with its make-your-own sushi. It organizes the sushi making process in four steps: selecting a style that the sushi was served in (sushi burrito, roll or bowl), choosing a protein, choosing add-ons and selecting a sauce.
I ordered a sushi burrito containing imitation and soft-shell crab, avocado, roast mushroom and crispy red onions with tangy mayo sauce. My dad bought a hanger steak bowl which was comprised of steak, gorgonzola cheese, spinach and crispy red onions with poke sauce spread throughout the rice. We also ordered a mango smoothie.
The cashier was very friendly and meticulous with taking our orders, double checking everything we asked for after we finished buying our food. She was also knowledgeable regarding the menu, walking us through menu items and ingredients while also helping us determine which items were raw or cooked.
I felt the items we bought were slightly overpriced. The Hanger steak bowl cost 11 dollars while the sushi burrito cost approximately 15 on account of having more than one protein. The mango smoothie cost a single dollar and came in a rather large container. Despite the high prices, the portion sizes were large making the price justifiable.
After a mere 10 minutes, our orders began arriving in waves. The hanger steak bowl came first as it had a lower cooking time because it contained no fried items. The sushi burrito I ordered promptly followed the hanger steak bowl within five minutes. Each order was accompanied by miso soup, a salad with tangy mayo dressing and the two sides of the day, which were fried sweet potatoes and edamame beans.
The miso soup was very mellow and slightly salty while still subtly exuding the ever-present taste of miso paste. It filled my body with a warmth that was perfect for a cold night. The salad provided a stark contrast to the miso soup with a tangy and almost sour mayo sauce. With its crunchy exterior and soft, sweet interior, the fried sweet potatoes were a nice blend of texture and flavor. The edamame was quite bland and as someone who had never tasted edamame before, I was quite disappointed.
The hanger steak bowl was dominated by an overpowering smell and taste of gorgonzola cheese. However, the meat was well cooked and the rice was full of flavor due to the sweet poke sauce that was drizzled throughout the bowl. The crispy red onions vastly improved the overall otherwise bland texture of the bowl by giving the dish a pleasant crunch with each bite. I would have liked for there to be a little more meat in the bowl as to balance out the excess of cheese and rice. There was too much rice as the majority of the large bowl was filled with it, leaving us with extra rice at the end of our meal without any meat or vegetables to eat it with.
The sushi burrito is among the most carefully crafted meals I have ever eaten. Each constituent of the burrito worked in conjunction with one another creating an exceptional blend of seafood and vegetables. Although slightly hard to bite off, the crispy soft shell crab greatly enriched the texture of the burrito along with the crispy red onions, endowing it with a satisfying crunch. The avocado and roast mushrooms worked in harmony to bring a mellow and neutral flavor that kept the tangy mayo sauce and seafood from becoming excessively overpowering. The sushi and rice were neatly wrapped around to keep the ingredients together and provided an aesthetic factor to the burrito. Leaving the tangy mayo sauce in a small cup separate from the burrito was a stroke of gratifying mindfulness from the chefs, allowing me to use the sauce in proportions I personally preferred rather than forcing upon me too much or too little sauce. Finally, the imitation crab in the burrito brought a slightly sweet and fishy, seafood taste to the table.
The mango smoothie we ordered was nothing more than a mango and some ice put through the blender. I could almost feel pieces of mango on my tongue despite it supposedly having been shredded into liquid. Although its pure taste assured us that no additives were inserted into the smoothie, it also had me personally hoping that next time it was more than just that.
M.Y.O Sushi left little to be desired from Japanese cuisine. It was generally consistent in the quality of its work and left me feeling glad I had eaten there. However, I would have liked to see small details implemented including the lack of decorations on the wall being fixed and the mango smoothie being more than just a shredded mango. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and one that I would not hesitate to have again.
By Isaac Le, Staff writer
Photo by Isaac Le