Flavor and creativity shine at new Japanese restaurant Seabutter.
By Ashley Ryan
Sushi and Laguna Beach go hand in hand, matching freshness and creativity with a coastal town that’s bursting with individuality, luxuriousness and sprawling ocean views. Seabutter offers all that and more with its innovative takes on the popular Japanese cuisine.
After three successful years at the eatery’s first location in Beverly Hills, owners George and Angie Fratkin expanded over the summer with a new restaurant that opened in July at the Village Faire Shoppes in the former San Shi Go space. The thing that stands out the most about Seabutter is its outstanding flavor—but creativity is a close second.
While you’ll find traditional sushi and sashimi on the menu, which is the same in Laguna as in Los Angeles, there are other dishes that are sure to pique your interest. One option is the crispy rice, where hearty chunks of white rice are browned on the outside then topped with ingredients such as spicy salmon, spicy yellowtail or simply avocado.
Another deliciously unique option that will leave your mouth watering is the pressed sushi, Osaka-style rectangular morsels that sandwich ingredients between layers of white rice. This manner of sushi-making eliminates the taste of seaweed, allowing the unadulterated flavor of the fish itself to shine—a detail that is important to Seabutter’s chefs. Try the Salmon Avo, with fresh salmon and avocado inside, seared salmon on top and drizzles of artichoke truffle and lemon olive oil, or opt for the Pressed Tail, which has a kick to it thanks to spicy yellowtail and jalapeno.
Those seeking elements of added creativity are in luck. The salmon truffle plate is a simple, sushi-style dish featuring seared salmon, but accented with citrus juice, artichoke truffle and sea salt. For a lighter choice, try the sashimi-style kanpachi yuzu, which starts with thin layers of amberjack smothered in a house-made yuzu sauce plus the zest of yuzu and lime for a citrus-centric finish.
And it wouldn’t be sushi without rolls. There are plenty to choose from. The 911 combines sweet yuzu and spicy jalapeno, while the Mr. Crab is a luxurious blend of blue crab, baked langostino lobster and crunchy shrimp tempura topped with eel sauce. The tuna shishito is another favorite, with spicy tuna inside, bluefin tuna outside and slices of crispy tempura shishito peppers and shallots on top. Seabutter also offers low-carb rolls, with names like Marlyn Monroll and The Hottie, for anyone seeking to dine healthier.
Those looking for cooked meals can enjoy chicken teriyaki, miso-glazed Chilean sea bass or black cod as well as a number of other dishes, such as mushroom miso soup, garlic edamame, seaweed salad, veggie udon, beef gyoza and more.
Mix and match your own pieces and plates, or try one of four medleys. The toro, or belly, option comes with two sashimi pieces each of bluefin toro, seared toro and bluefin akami, while the salmon medley features one nigiri each of salmon, king salmon and salmon truffle. Lux and Hon Maguro medleys are also available.
Or, better yet, register in advance to enjoy the Chef’s Special, a dine-in only offering that includes an edamame starter, a course of specialty nigiri (with toro, salmon truffle and hye, or yellowtail belly), a sashimi course (with salmon, albacore and yellowtail), a pressed sushi course, four additional pieces of nigiri and a hand roll.
There truly is something for everyone on the menu at Seabutter, from traditional tastes to original dishes. Dine outdoors on the third-floor patio overlooking the ocean for fresh air and fresh flavors you won’t soon forget.
1100 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 303
5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday;
5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday
Photos by Ashley Ryan