The Search for Sushi in the Desert

Columnist tells you her best picks from 3 locations

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants 0 Comments


Shortly upon making the move from my native Seattle to the desert, I became obsessed with finding a way to exist and not “go coastal” without my culinary go-to…fresh sushi.

I am not talking about pieces of fish haphazardly plastered over compacted, dry rice. I won’t even bother to mention those who use “artificial crab” as filler and call them sushi rolls.

I want the real deal.

Give me fresh fish, artfully cooked rice, and creative composition, or give me a ticket out of here. Fear not, fellow sushionados, pick up your chopsticks and follow me.


Where To Go – Palm Springs

Photo Courtesy of Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise

Top Pick: Monrovia Roll.

Head downtown to Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise.

With a large outdoor patio and bar perfectly placed for people-watching and ample seating inside in the lounge or restaurant, you can’t go wrong. With a fully stocked bar featuring craft cocktails, and a wide range of beers, wines and sakes, you can take your time selecting from the impressive menu. A variety of cooked dishes will please those who don’t love raw seafood. Don’t skip dessert, all made by a talented in-house pastry chef.

Top picks: Plum Guacamole, Chicken Jidori Yakitori, Monrovia Roll, Velvety Roll and Japanese Wagyu sushi.


Where To Go – Rancho Mirage

Photo courtesy of sam's sushi

Sam's Sushi offers a solid list of rolls and sushi.

Plan your evening to see a current flick at The River and make sure to allow time to stop by Sam’s Sushi before or after the show. This restaurant is perfect for families who have teens looking to stroll through the outdoor mall, and the spacious layout is great for groups for a casual lunch or dinner. The menu offers familiar Japanese cooked preparations, kid-friendly options and a solid list of rolls and sushi.

Top picks: Special Baked Lobster Roll, River Sushi Combo and the Chirashi Sushi bowl.


Where To Go – La Quinta

Photo by Lori Cohen-Sanford

Top Pick: Eel Roll.

Do not miss a trip to Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar. Tucked into a shopping center off the main highway, the sleek and dark interior is a surprise. Upscale, yet relaxed décor sets the tone for the artfully presented dishes and quality of ingredients.

Top picks: The Potsticker and Fire Cracker appetizers to start things off. Sushi zen moment of the night was the Eel Roll. Dare I say it made me  “squ-eel?” High marks to the 18 piece Sashimi Sampler of succulent, fresh fish and the New Kye Roll wrapped in soy paper and cucumber. Desserts are worth saving a bit of belly room. I became entranced with the Green Tea Panna Cotta.


Follow Lori on Twitter: @nourishfoodsps

Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services. Her food column will appear weekly on Wednesdays. Have a story idea? You can contact Lori at

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