Sunday, February 15, 2009

California Roll Factory

When looking through my archives, I realized I hadn't done a review of California Roll Factory - how in the world could I not have reviewed this place properly?! This place was an old haunt for Amber and I back when we were in college, as it was across the street from the Art Store (back then, now it's renamed Dick Blick and down the street from its' original location).

Since then, I've been back periodically, a craving that I never really shaken, even though I've eaten at much better sushi places since my old college days when I was really pinching pennies (although, I'm STILL pinching pennies!). I think mainly it's because their California rolls are an exact copy of the kind of California rolls I fell in love with back in San Jose, at Miyake. (by the way, that place was great in high school, not so much now. Just saying.) The crab mixture is spot on, not too much mayo, generous on the crab, sweet tasting. I mean, of course it's not REAL crab or anything, but it's a nostalgic taste that I can't hate.

This is not a place for people who are sushi aficionados. This is a place for people who want huge, filling, unconventional rolls. I had taken Owen here a lot when he was warming up to the idea of sushi (can you believe he used to HATE sushi? He hated raw fish...I'm glad he has since changed his mind, hah), because they have a lot of varieties of rolls that include cooked stuff instead of just raw. The walls are lined with little pieces of paper, with funny names and descriptions of rolls ("420 Roll"? Nice.), the waitstaff usually consists of one person who is also manning the cash register. This is not a place for ambiance and romance. The business here is to get rolls into you as fast as possible.
California Roll Factory
Daphne and I were sharing a few rolls, and honestly I don't remember exactly what the name of these rolls were. I'm horrible! But from what I remember: The roll to the upper right was a tempura roll, with a baked salmon filling on the inside, with eel sauce on top. The lower left roll was a roll with a spicy salmon mixture. Both were huge rolls, with substantial fillings. I liked the tempura one just a tiny bit more, I think mainly because I liked how they did the tempura seaweed, and the salmon mixture had a few tendons laced among it. Both of these were plenty for us to chow down on, but we also ordered...
California Roll Factory
...a sashimi tempura roll. This is one of my favorite things here, especially when they do it right. It's a salmon and tuna sashimi, with some asparagus, rolled into some seaweed, rolled into tempura batter and quickly fried. The dipping sauce for this is a spicy mayo with roe and green onion.

California Roll Factory
Here's a close up of one of the pieces of the roll. The frying process makes the outside slightly cooked, sometimes they cook it too much so a lot of the fish is cooked, but they did it right today. It's really filling, there's a lot of good fish in there, and it's just a delicious treat. Worth every bite.

Again, this is place is not for hardcore sushi fans. If you want that, go elsewhere. This is a place for filling rolls!

California Roll Factory
11629 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 996-2366


Jared said...

Reading your blog, I was thinking you could use a map to chart the restaurants you write about. You can go get one for free at

heysandra said...

Thanks Jared, I'm actually in the process of redesigning (shhh! Super secret!) and will probably take advantage of the map feature you mentioned. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the suggestion!