I love it when I am pleasantly surprised by a restaurant, and today I felt as if I got an unexpected gift at Sashi Sushi + Sake in Manhattan Beach. The restaurant is in the Metlox center, just steps from the beach and other fine restaurants, so there is plenty of competition around them which provide beautiful surroundings and wonderful food.

The space has a large covered outdoor terrace that looks out over the central square with a small dancing water area, so it’s the perfect place to sit when the weather is warm. Even though it was a chilly day (for Southern California this means it hovered around 50 degrees), I chose to sit outside on the cushioned seats and people watch. Thankfully I had a wide selection of seats, so I chose the one closest to the heat lamp and was comfortable throughout my meal. A complimentary dish of edamame was brought out with the menus and I appreciated having something healthy to munch on while I perused the selections of sushi, sake and other Asian style dishes.

I ordered the dry “Summer” sake selection ($10) and enjoyed it’s clean light taste, I also tried to order the Kanpachi sushi as an appetizer, but they were out of nearly all the white fish sushi, including the halibut and the fluke, so I ordered the Grilled Asian Flank Steak Salad ($16).

The salad is made with BBQ Indian Spice Marinated Flank Steak, Avocado, Mango, Mixed Cabbage, Bocconcini Cheese, Red Bell Peppers, Peanuts, Vine Tomato, Mint and Basil served with Sweet Chili Lime Vinaigrette. It was as tasty as it looked, with the steak done on the rare side (my preference even though I did not specify when I ordered), and all the vegetables were crisp and freshly chopped. The combination of mango, fresh basil with peeled vine tomatoes and bocconcini mozzarella in the salad was a successful taste twist on an Asian inspired salad.

My server, Cynthia was the epitome of an efficient professional, suggesting various substitutions for sushi items not available, and being instantly available even when not immediately visible to provide anything I might have needed.

Pleasant surprises are always the best ones, and Sashi is one of the best surprises I have had in awhile.