Ai Japanese Restaurant A I Japanese Restaurant Ai Japanese Restaurant

Ai Japanese Restaurant

1013 Fair Oaks Ave. (El Centro St.)
South Pasadena, CA 91030
Cuisine: Japanese / Sushi
A serviceable neighborhood sushi bar with no pretenses of fine dining.
Openings: Lunch Tues.-Sat., Dinner Tues.-Sun.

Ai Japanese Restaurant Restaurant Review:

A miniature Zen garden sits inside the entrance, while oversize, boldly colored art and a cozy sushi bar illuminated by carved wood lanterns make the place appealing enough. Salmon is nicely marbled, seared albacore is not drowned in dressing (like at most suburban sushi bars), as it has enough flavor of its own, and reasonably high-quality toro hand rolls are one-half or one-third the price of more acclaimed sushi purveyors. A handful of vegetables is listed under starters, such as string beans, asparagus and okra, all of which can be sautéed or tempura fried. The short selection of teriyaki dishes is adequate, but doesn’t generate too much enthusiasm. Quite a few rice and noodle bowls are also available. There’s generic hot and cold saké, house wine and Japanese draft beer. While it’s hardly among the area’s finest Japanese restaurants, Ai has become a solid neighborhood resource.

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