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Indulge in Fresh Seafood and Fine Japanese Whiskey at Sandfish

Written by: Andrew Smith
Photographed by: Laura Perkins seafood in Palm Springs

Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey is unlike any sushi you’ll ever experience. As one of the world’s top sushi chefs, Chef Engin Onural both respects and transcends tradition. At Sandfish, he’s incorporating his second passion—Scandinavian cuisine.

“It’s a fusion entirely unique to Chef Engin,” General Manager Omar Diaz enthused. Chef Engin frequently travels, bringing back an assortment of ingredients to incorporate into his cuisine. The Scandinavian experience starts with the décor and scatters accents across the menu. There’s a traditional sushi menu for purists, but the real flair is in the signature rolls and dishes.

Our tasting started with scallops on the half shell, garnished with walnuts, a yuzu vinaigrette and sea beans. The scallops were tender and nicely chilled with a sweet, lightly salted flavor, and the yuzu vinaigrette offers a light zest, while the walnuts and sea beans (actually greens, not beans) offer a crunchy and salty contrast. It’s a dish that’s light and refreshing, perfect for the desert climate.

Next was the octopus carpaccio with preserved lemon, citron oil, herb oil, chives, microgreens and sesame seeds. The octopus (from Thailand) has a fresh, clean taste with a hint of sea salt. The chives and microgreens lend a nice touch of spice and a crisp texture. Chef Engin is a big advocate for his microgreens. “They’re my most expensive ingredient, intensely flavored and highly nutritious,” the chef raves. It’s another light, fresh dish that plays well against the citrus, herbs and greenery.

The Sandfish Roll is their bestseller; it’s got both the name and a show-stealing presentation. Spicy tuna and crab meat make up the roll, which is then topped with a forestry of microgreens, green onions and lightly fried potato threads. It’s then drizzled with spicy aioli, teriyaki and black truffle zest. The spicy tuna—mixed with Sriracha and pure Japanese sesame oil—is a highlight. Chef Engin explains that Japanese sesame oil “doesn’t have the burnt flavor you find in other versions.” The sushi is exceptional, and the combination of microgreens and truffle zest bring an extra element of decadence. 

Chef Engin calls Sandfish “a whiskey bar that serves sushi.” With an extensive Japanese whiskey list, sake and a highly knowledgeable bartender, you’ll find infinite permutations to elevate your experience. 

Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
1556 N Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262 seafood in Palm Springs
760.537.1022 seafood in Palm Springs