Finding a decent sushi place in the northeast Valley is like coming up on a San Fernando or Sylmar bar that doesn’t feature big screen TVs or that creepy uncle type. In other words, it just ain’t happening. With the opening of Su Viche Sushi Bar, it looks like we’ll have to keep driving to Ventura Boulevard for an albacore fix.
I wanted to like Su Viche, I really did. Even before their grand opening on Oct. 6, I made a point to drive by the Hubbard Village shopping center (where Casa Torres is located) almost every week to see if they had opened. The name made me nervous (just hand over the fresh goods and don’t bother with the Latin twist), but I was optimistic. I wasn’t expecting anything on the level of King’s or Chiba Restaurant but, please, something better than Courthouse Sushi.
Unfortunately, the menu at Su Viche sets you up for the initial disappointment. I tend to judge a sushi place by the items that aren’t fried or baked. At Su Viche, all but three of the “fresh rolls” are California rolls or made with spicy tuna. Everyone knows California rolls are imitation crab and, though I like a spicy tuna hand roll every now and again, it’s best to stay away from the stuff — it’s basically the sludge of the fish ground up with mayo and some sort of spice.
I had no choice but to go with the Sylmar roll (pictured above) since it’s wrapped in cucumber and made with yellowtail, salmon, tuna, asparagus and avocado. The roll was drowning with house sauce when the friendly chef handed it to me; the fish wasn’t very fresh, the sesame seed sauce was too much and it was all together very salty.
I had planned on ordering a sashimi salad, but the first roll’s lack of freshness scared me off, so I went with another one of the “fresh rolls” and a water eel roll, both of which were nothing to write home about. I scanned the menu for some sort of sushi ceviche fusion (I thought that would be their thing?) to no avail.
The service was fine overall, but I feel like a lot of places in the area have finally caught on to understanding that public opinion will sometimes make or break you. As a result, local businesses are overcompensating with service that feels forced in hopes that it will garner them more stars on Yelp. Can’t we just keep it real? If you provide a quality product, great service and a sense of authenticity, it’ll all fall into place.
I don’t mean to bash on Su Viche, especially since my sincere hope is that diverse eateries will flourish in this area. But I also have a responsibility to curious readers who trust i am san fernando. I have tell them where I enjoy spending my time and money and point out the not-so-hot spots.
At the very least, maybe it’ll help establishments like Su Viche and future restaurants identify areas that need improvement, and bring them closer to that sought-after glowing review on Yelp.
What: Su Viche Sushi Bar
Where: 14117 Hubbard St., Sylmar
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
More information: Sake and draft beer available, including Saporro and Kirin