Though both Japan and Thailand are Asian countries, they’re separated by more than 2,000 miles of the China Sea and parts of China itself. Restaurants that present the fare of both cultures may not seem like intuitively obvious options, but they’re popping up across our country anyhow– from Miami, Florida to Chesapeake, Virginia to Long Beach, Calif.
With a name that’s sure to contribute to some humorous confusion among those who utter it, Your House, at 2838 E. PCH, is a casual and cozy eatery that indeed offers what they call “fusion sushi” and Thai cuisine.
Before actually eating at Your House, I was a bit apprehensive that the two cooking styles would negatively influence each other: either each would take on aspects of the other and result in a strange amalgamation, or the uniqueness of each would be lost amid the effort to create the two very different food types.
I was pleased to discover that my fears were unwarranted. The Japanese offerings easily rival those of any reputable sushi place in So Cal. And their Thai dishes hold up against my comparisons to the numerous Thai establishments I’ve patronized in U.S. locales as varied as New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles. (Nope, I haven’t made the journey to Thailand itself… yet.)
Let’s talk sushi first.
I’m not a huge fan of sashimi; I go more for the rolls. So I ordered the Candy Roll, which, according to Your House’s website, was their most popular dish of 2012. Shrimp tempura, avocado and a spicy crabmeat topping comprise this one. Though it’s hard to deny the appeal of its name, “Candy Roll” seems, to me, a misnomer, since it’s not that sweet and its texture is more reminiscent of a crab salad than any kind of candy I’ve had. The roll itself actually seems more “grown-up” than playful. The punch of the mildly spicy crabmeat is a fitting complement to the meaty shrimp inside, and, to this spicy-food lover, it’s a win.
However, the Kryptonite Roll, with its perhaps more suitable name considering it’s predominantly green, is my favorite. First of all, it’s a pretty roll; the thinly sliced avocado overlaying it makes it a work of art. And the pleasure it brings to your palate comes from the texture as much as its flavor. Its “chef’s special sauce” introduces itself as sweet with notes reminiscent of fish sauce, but its afternotes are decidedly, but subtlely, imbued with some heat.
Time for Thai.
Unlike restaurants I’ve been to that were exclusively Thai, I wasn’t asked my choice in level of heat/spiciness when I ordered the Pad Kee Mao– spicy flat noodles with bell pepper, onion and basil. Luckily for me, the “spicy” level was just right. And the basil, which was well highlighted, contributed a sweetness that brought that balance of various flavors that is important in Thai cooking.
Another noodle dish I’m crazy about is Pad See Ew, which, on Your House’s menu, is described as “flat noodles with Chinese broccoli, egg and sweet black sauce.” It has a light, almost sweet, taste, and Your House gets it right.
I brought along my coupon for one free Fried Ice Cream. (You too can find one in the pages of this issue.) I’d heard of fried ice cream for many years, but this was my first time trying it. Theirs is rather hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. It’s essentially a crispy bread wrapped around a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is definitely the choice for those who prefer a not-too-sweet dessert. I’m more of the ilk that leans toward the sugary-sweet, rich varieties, but, I must say, this dish is fun to eat.
Your House offers much more than what I’ve described here, including catering services, microbrew draft beers and live music every night at 6:00 except Monday, which is the one day they’re closed. Check them out at yourhousetoo.com, where you can see their musical line-up and even order online.