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Skip Ventura Boulevard's Sushi Row for this secret spot 
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Everyone has a favorite neighborhood sushi joint, but few are dining destinations. The locals will probably have our heads for this, but Sushi Yuzu in Toluca Lake is one.

When thinking about top-notch sushi in the Valley, most people head to Sushi Row on Ventura Boulevard. But Yuzu is as much of a gem, with its simple, streamlined dining room, friendly chefs and pristine fish.

The regular menu is extensive, with plenty of cut rolls and knock-offs of spicy tuna on crispy rice, or yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. But the daily specials menu reveals Yuzu's true delights, like the soy-paper hand roll with chunks of spicy, seared sea bass and cool asparagus ($6).

Better yet, sit at the sushi bar and let the chefs rattle off their favorite selections.

Raw scallop ($12) comes two ways--the flesh thinly sliced and drizzled with a subtle plum-shiso-yuzu sauce, followed by pieces of slightly chewy fin (the part that keeps the shell closed) cooked with enoki and shiitake mushrooms in a delicate soy-garlic broth.

Monkfish liver is unctuous and mild, seared just around the edges ($8.50). Seasoned simply with lemon, wasabi or pink Himalayan salt, the sushi--silky, kelp-flavored red snapper ($8), silvery shad ($8) or sweet Boston shrimp ($5)--barely needs a dab of soy.

It's hard to keep a secret when it's this good.

Sushi Yuzu, 10118 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake; 818-763-8355

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Sushi Yuzu 10118 Riverside Dr Toluca Lake CA 91602 818-763-8355
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