Photo by Joy BastSouthern Californians have a way of transforming food from its original state to something else, usually involving artichoke hearts or avocados. Now comes Mahe, a Seal Beach sushi restaurant, that changes not the sushi but the restaurant.
They serve meat at Mahe. Real meat. Red meat. Chicken meat. Pork. Meat that is not exclusively prepared on the teppan range or served with noodles. MEAT! Meat as God and Stewart Anderson, in their mercy, intended.
Yes, in fact, Mahe is an answered prayer. The answered prayer of every sushi lover who suggested, "Hey, how about sushi?!" for dinner only to receive the reproachful gaze of their Luddite acquaintances who respond, "Sushi? But idn't dat fish what not been cooked?"
Mahe offers a delicious meeting for their lack of minds. Listing to the port side of PCH, it has a neon Mahe fish on the outside and, thankfully, kept the model glider on top of the roof, a remnant of the building's previous incarnation as The Glider Inn.
But there is little inside to remind you of the ol' Glider Inn. The interior features a calm, Zen-like vibe with indirect lighting, potted palm and bamboo trees, and earth tones. It was really wonderful—I guess. I don't know. I was too busy eating
The food is great, although glancing at the menu, you might wonder if someone has become a bit overzealous in the name of creativity. Appetizers are pretty standard with the exception of the shark-stuffed mushrooms ($9.95). Pop one of these little fungis in your mouth, and any fears about what may lie ahead will be allayed. No fishy taste; no grit.
Now we get to the main course. And the meat. The Kiwi-raspberry chicken ($14.95) constitutes one of the more daring—not to mention fruity—dishes, with an exquisite kiwi-to-fowl ratio (people go to school for years to learn this. No. Really). The house special is filet mignon stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon ($25.95). Kill you? Sure. But what are you going to do? It tastes damn good.
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The meat, which is 10 ounces cooked, is so tender and rich in flavor you would gladly accept the risk of a bypass for another bite. If steak isn't your bag, there are also pork and lobster dishes. Each dish comes with a choice of soup or salad and two side dishes. The white clam chowder is a stand out.
The sushi is fairly ordinary with two exceptions: the Trust Me ($8) and the Jackie Chan ($9)—the former a spicy scallop roll with asparagus, and the latter a simple but delicious combination of salmon and California roll (available in English and dubbed versions).
Dessert was also simple but delicious, especially the grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream ($6.95). If indulgence is the way to relieve stress, then biting into the warm pineapple and having your mouth simultaneously cooled will make you temporarily forget your stress . . . and wet your pants. I had a tough week.
Mahe, located at 1400 Pacific Coast Hwy., Seal Beach, is open Mon.-Sat., 5-10 p.m.; Sun., 4-10 p.m. (562) 431-3022. Full bar. Dinner for two, $50, food only. AmEx, MasterCard and Visa accepted.