Uni Uni Uni! - Sea Urchin Everywhere at Miyabi Uni (Review / Pics)

I remember reading on our old board about a new restaurant that had opened up, specializing in all things Uni (Sea Urchin), known as Maruhide Uni Club. It seemed to have gotten positive and negative reviews, but generally seemed like a place we’d have to visit one day. Sadly, we never made it out before it closed, but the 2 Executive Chefs - Isao Minami and Hisao Kasama - from Maruhide Uni Club recently reemerged with their new venture, Miyabi Uni.

The interior sports a clean, minimalist look, with the only slight oddity being HDTVs playing NBA Basketball games.

As we opened the menu, it was Uni Insanity: They have Uni Croquettes, Uni Tempura, Uni Miso Soup(!)… sadly they didn’t have Uni Ice Cream, which would’ve completed the craziness. :stuck_out_tongue:

Uni Chawanmushi (Japanese Steamed Egg Custard with Sea Urchin, Shiitake Mushroom and White Fish):

Perfectly cooked Egg Custard, silky, delicate with tender, meaty Shiitake Mushroom was the highlight of the dish. :slight_smile: The Uni matched the Chawanmushi, but it felt unnecessary - not really incorporated like the absurdly delicious Foie Gras Chawanmushi at Aburiya Raku.

The White Fish was overcooked, however, and seemed more ideal as adding flavor into the Egg Custard rather than actually for the meat itself.

Osakaya Chobei - Daiginjo Sake (Hyogo, Japan):

Miyabi Uni features a few familiar Sake we’ve had around town (like the safe, clean Kikusui), but we had never had Osakaya Chobei before, so we decided to give it a try. Lightly fruity, rounded and very easy to drink, it’s quite smooth. :slight_smile:

Uni Onsen Tamago (Soft Boiled, Cage-Free Egg with Dashi Soy Sauce and Fresh Sea Urchin):

A nice, albeit slightly showy presentation with Salmon Roe, Soft Boiled Egg, Sea Urchin Roe, topped with Edible Gold Flakes. Thankfully the taste was even better!

Breaking open the Soft-Boiled Cage Free Egg, it’s a gorgeous deep orange color, creamy and luscious, and you get the little pops of deliciousness with the Salmon Roe, and then the Uni. It was fantastic! :blush:

My favorite dish of the evening.

It should be noted that this week they are featuring South American Uni. Our server noted that their regular supplier for Santa Barbara Uni mentioned that this week’s wasn’t up to par, so they went with South American Uni.

Uni Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Cage-Free Egg Omelette with Sea Urchin):

Their Tamagoyaki was perfectly cooked: Fluffy, still soft in the middle, but what set it apart was that the center of this Tamagoyaki was stuffed with Uni! (A lot of it.) :open_mouth:

It was also served with a Housemade Shoyu-Uni Sauce (Soy Sauce and whipped Sea Urchin Sauce), which went quite nicely with the Omelette. :slight_smile:

Jidori Chicken Karaage (Deep Fried Marinated Free-Range Chicken Thigh with Lemon Zest Salt):

This was OK. Not bad, but not great. The Boneless Fried Chicken morsels arrived a little bit dark, and it lacked the crispiness of the better versions locally. But more importantly it was a nice reprieve from Uni overload this evening. :stuck_out_tongue:

Agedashi Tofu (Deep Fried Tofu Served with Tempura Sauce and Grated Turnip):

A pretty solid rendition of Agedashi Tofu, it retained a light crispiness on the exterior, with a nicely restrained Sauce (not too salty). But after having versions using Housemade, Fresh Tofu (there’s a real delicate, cleaner, softer, brighter aspect), it makes you appreciate what a difference that makes.

Uni Aglio e Olio (Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Chili Spaghetti with Fresh Sea Urchin):

The core taste of Fried Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Chilies tossed with Spaghetti was lightly spicy and offered a pretty clean background to showcase the Uni. Sadly, the batch of Uni was not so fresh. :frowning: It tasted like funky ocean water (old). :frowning:

What’s strange is that the Uni we had in the previous dishes were much better. I’m guessing since they have so many dishes on the menu that feature Uni (and it was at 90% capacity) that Miyabi has to stock a lot of Uni each night, and we probably just got unlucky with a bad batch.

Butterfish Saikyoyaki (Broiled Miso Marinated Butterfish):

One of the Daily Specials not on the regular menu, a good Saikyoyaki dish is always welcome, so we were looking forward to this. The Butterfish is just slightly overcooked, but otherwise, delicious, fragrant and the Saikyo Miso really elevated the Butterfish. :slight_smile:

Uni Cream Pasta (Creamy Sea Urchin Spaghetti with Fresh Sea Urchin):

This was SO GOOD! :heart: So much better than the Aglio e Olio, the South American Uni in this Pasta dish was very fresh, lightly sweet, a good, delicate brininess and the Housemade Uni Cream Sauce just gave each bite of the Spaghetti this really luxurious, pleasing taste with every bite.

This was easily the best Japanese-style Uni Spaghetti we’ve had in years. :blush:

Chef’s Choice Sashimi Platter:

We all knew this wasn’t a Sushi restaurant, but we were curious how their Sashimi was. Simply put, Miyabi’s Sashimi is very straightforward and typical. And it reminds you of just how crazy-good Aburiya Raku’s Sashimi is (that they can churn out top quality Sashimi for an Izakaya); there’s no comparison.

Tai - Red Snapper:

Their Sashimi in general was on the thicker, rustic cut style, which took away from the enjoyment. You got generous portions, but it felt a little too thick at times. Their Tai was really rather pedestrian (not bad, not great).

Uni - Sea Urchin Roe:

This bit of South American Uni tasted a little old. Slightly more oceanic than in some of the previous dishes.

Shima Aji - Stripe Jack:

They were featuring Shima Aji from Ehime, Japan, and it was the best item on the Chef’s Choice Sashimi Platter, firmer, but just a more pleasing mouthfeel and taste.

Shake - Salmon:

Chutoro - Medium Fatty Tuna Belly:

This was the weakest of the pieces, surprisingly. The cut was very thick (and distracting), and there was chewy gristle in my piece. :frowning:

Miyabi Kaisen Donburi (Fresh Sea Urchin with Assorted Premium Sashimi (Tuna, Chu-Toro, Scallops, Salmon, Yellowtail, Squid, & Salmon Roe):

While not as pretty as Tsujita Sushi’s Lunch Kaisen Don offerings, Miyabi offers a generous amount of nice ingredients, and it went well with the Steamed Rice.

My favorite parts were a bit of the Squid, Wasabi and Salmon Roe bursting open with some of the Steamed Rice. :slight_smile:

It’s a pretty respectable Kaisen Don / Sashimi Bowl.

Service overall was fine, being a bit on the casual side, but attentive enough.

If you’re in the mood for Uni - and lots of it - Miyabi Uni might be the spot for you. They offer a wide array of Uni dishes, so you can explore your Uni fantasies and see how Sea Urchin Roe might taste with Egg, Deep Fried, in Soup, in Salad, and beyond.

At some point it started feeling overwhelming for me, and some of the dishes were just brought down by uneven quality Uni. If Miyabi Uni is able to guarantee top-grade, fresh Uni in every single dish, it would make things better, but I think I’d still be tired of it after a while. :sweat_smile: And at $75 per person total (tax & tip included), it felt a little spendy for what we got.

But as it is, their Uni Onsen Tamago (Soft Boiled Cage-Free Egg with Fresh Sea Urchin), Uni Tamagoyaki (Rolled Egg Omelette with Sea Urchin), and their Uni Cream Pasta were the stuff of Uni lovers’ dreams. We’d be glad to go back for those items at least. :slight_smile:

Miyabi Uni
1231 Cabrillo Ave, Suite 101
Torrance, CA 90501
Tel: (424) 376-5135


So is it all fresh uni out of the box? Any live uni in the shell, or uni shutou?

Hi @happycat,

We were sitting in the dining room, and couldn’t see the bar very well, but I didn’t notice any of the chefs cracking open live uni in the shell (nor did we see any giant mounds of those black spiky creatures piled up anywhere). I’m guessing they were out of the box. Thanks.

The place is a mixed bag as far as I am concerned: nothing else makes me want to rush back, except the Uni Spaghetti, but if I lived closer I would go often for that.

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Hi @CiaoBob,

Totally agree. I’m glad I don’t live closer, or else I might end up there every week to have that Uni Pasta. :smile:

I would consider this a good thing.


Compared to live uni, probably so. But uni shutou is a whole 'nother ball game, like any chinmi, IMO.

Uni quality can be wildly inconsistent there. But that’s the risk you agree to take when you dine at a place which is banking its fate on whatever the uni-mongers have in stocks that day. Every day.


My husband made a house call on a patient who lived in Torrance just so we could go have lunch there. He took so long at the appointment, though, that we had to switch restaurants. I called Wadatsumi at 1:30pm and waitress said we were too late. I know that when we were there last, they did seat people up to 2pm, but didn’t want to take the chance, since everything closed at 2pm.

When I called Miyabi Uni, the very friendly hostess said the kitchen closes at 140pm but will stay open if they know we are coming. We arrived around 145 and had no problem taking our time to read the menu and order. Service was great. Prompt and helpful!

Started with sake. Was hoping for some seasonal options, but there didn’t seem to be.

Had the live Santa Barbara uni as a starter. It was some of the best uni I’ve ever had, and I’ve been eating uni for over 25 years, having grown up in so cal. Maybe it was the soy sauce, but it was even better than the live uni I had at Hungry Cat.

We had the toro with roe over rice. It was good, but not as good as the bowl I had at Wadatsumi.

We also had the creamy uni with pasta. It was just that - creamy, delicious, with large pieces of uni.

It came with bread and the waiter recommended we sop up the drippings with it. We did and he was right, it was fantastic! The bread was bland and took on the sauce flavor without any addition.

We had some yuzu sorbet on the house to finish. The kitchen was closed by then, but we were never once rushed. They encouraged us to take our time.

The hostess recommend we come back at dinner to try their much expanded dinner menu. My husband liked the food so much he wants to. For us, living in West LA, trapped in by traffic, it takes effort to head to Torrance for dinner, but we will make the effort.


Went for lunch this past Saturday. Ordered the uni cream pasta. I have to say I was rather disappointed. There was a lot of sauce and it was really watery. They bought salt and pepper shakers to the table, which is not necessarily a good sign. Even more telling: I used both of them. And it didn’t really help much. The sauce was really underseasoned and kind of devoid of a solid uni presence. Maybe it was an off day. Don’t know if I’ll go back.


Thanks for the latest update @djquinnc. Your pasta looks nothing like ours, but even for ours, we felt it wasn’t that memorable (due to the bad Uni we got). Uni can be really variable, especially if an establishment isn’t willing to shell out for the best quality stuff on a nightly basis.

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On the other hand, my experience only made me crave some uni pasta more. Went to Spoon House in Gardena for the first time. Uni, wakame, and spicy tarako with al dente spaghetti. Although this dish was not the most refined, it was far more satisfying than my plate at Miyabi. And I kind of want to go back to try some of the other options I saw being consumed around me. Some nice looking plates filled with red sauces as well as ones with copious amount of clams.