Irori Sushi

Photo by Amanda "the shocker" S. (Yelp)

Photo by Amanda "the shocker" S. (Yelp)

4371 Glencoe Ave B4
Marina Del Rey, CA | MAP

WHAT TO EAT: Wide variety of sushi choices including Golden Eye Snapper and Escolar
EATER TIP: Enjoy a lunch combination (aka Bento Box) M-F until 2:30pm

My lovely design team treated me to a surprise birthday lunch at Irori Sushi nestled in the Villa Marina Marketplace Mall. Upon arriving, I had no idea why they chose this particular spot — I mean, there are tons of sushi joints scattered about in Santa Monica, so why go here?

TA-DAAAAA — no shoes allowed!!

It was one of those expose-your-socks-or-stinky-feet dining experiences inside an intimate seating environment. I thought it was so cool because I could show off my worn-out pair of Hanes socks to everyone in the restaurant!!

At Irori, guests take a seat on the wooden floor and insert their legs/feet underneath in a hollowed-out space (no need to criss-cross apple sauce it). As a result, the waitresses can mistakingly be perceived as 7-footers every time they tower over you to refill your water cup.

Ah, they're not Hanes, they're PUMA'S!! Silly me...

There is ample space underneath for your feet to roam around so that you can focus on your food, such as fresh nigiri or Wakame Seaweed Salad (no, wakame in Japanese does not mean alien slivers).

Although I love sushi, I indulged in a 3-item bento box instead. My choices were Tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet), Chicken Karaage (pretty much Japan's version of fried chicken, and it's pronounced ka-ra-ah-geh, not ka-RAGE!!), and Salmon Roll. There was also a cucumber side dish which was light and refreshing which helped balance the strong, hot flavors of the meat entrées. 

What's a birthday without some sweets :) There are five dessert items on the menu (including a White Chocolate Macadamia Créme Brulée) but I requested a simple scoop of Green Tea ice cream.

As we were leaving and putting our shoes back on, my design team said "Happy Birthday" to me again. One of the workers at Irori overheard and proceeded to gift me with a pair of wooden chopsticks (keeping this one in my murse right next to my bottle of Tabasco). It was a sweet ending to a joyful lunch.