Monday, December 07, 2009

Bai Plu & Sushi Bar

Bai Plu Restaurant & Sushi Bar
2119 N Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach

To be honest I was conflicted about going to a Japanese restaurant on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. But then I thought about it and maybe going to a Japanese restaurant on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, can be a tribute to the Japanese-American men who fought in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Takes a hell of a lot to volunteer to fight for a country, that forced your family into concentration camps.

The 442nd would become one of the most decorated units ever and proved the racist John L. DeWitt, wrong. I have talked with members of the 442nd and the most interesting thing they told me was how well they were treated by the white people of Mississippi, where the 442nd were training, at Camp Shelby. The same people who treated African-Americans like slaves, went the extra mile for the men of the 442nd, who their government considered enemy alien. The irony of race relations in America during the early 1940's.

Bai Plu is owned by the same owners Aki Sushi. If you want to get technical that location is really two restaurants in one location; sushi at Aki Sushi and Thai food at Bai Plu. This Bai Plu location has much better parking and some daily specials.

I started off with the edamame, $3.95. Nice and firm. Good quality edamame.

The specials from Sun-Thrs, until 6pm, include selected sushi for $2.99 and $6 on selected rolls, that change everyday. So I got the tuna and octopus. The sushi rice at the 7th St. location, would fall apart when trying to pick it up and dip it into soy sauce. The sushi rice here didn't fall apart. So they must be using better rice here.

The tuna has a beautiful, deep, rich red color. It was very fresh and tasty.

The octopus was the second time I had octopus. It wasn't as chewy or rubbery as the first one. But this octopus had a weird smell as if it wasn't fresh. One thing I have learned is that seafood shouldn't have a smell. That means it has turned bad.

Then I got the yellowtail, $4.50. This was fresh and tasty.

I then decided to try the rolls that were on special for $6 each.

I got the crunchy roll and the red dragon roll. The crunchy roll is normally $8.99, comes with shrimp tempura, avocado, asparagus, and topped with crunchy flakes and eel sauce. The shrimp tempura part of this crunchy roll was fine. But the avocado and asparagus part of this was mushy, not fresh, and ruined the flavor and texture of this roll.

The red dragon roll had spicy tuna, cucumber topped with tuna, avocado, masago and onions. Again the avocado was mushy and not fresh. But this was better than the crunchy roll.

Service at the sushi bar was very good. The sushi chefs, who are Thai, were nice and helpful and quick. The servers were always there to refill drinks.

Honestly I wasn't that impressed with the Bai Plu. Too many things, like the octopus and avocado, weren't fresh at all. Sure the special prices are great but I'm not giving up freshness for a discount price. Not sure if I would go back.