Kiriko or Echigo for Omakase?
I've eaten and enjoyed sushi at both Kiriko and Echigo, but have never had omakase at either. Any opinions on which place reigns supreme for omakase and why? I loved the food at both so please help me choose! The ambience, delicious cooked dishes, and that amazing homemade ice cream at Kiriko, but then again, shima aji for the first time at Echigo was a transcendental experience.
What is the approximate price per person for omakase at each? I'd also appreciate any insights into whether there is a particular chef we should try to get, or whether there is anything they do particularly well that we should request. Thank you!
My GF and I did an omakase at Kiriko several months ago, and were very impressed. On a par with a tasting menu at a place like Sona, and in my opinion better than the one at Mori's or Tojo's in Vancouver (can't speak for Echigo). The seared wagyu beef was out of this world. The bulk of the meal was sashimi and sushi, but I had requested that. The warm mushroom salad was incredible. Came to about $100 a head with beer and tip.
In fact a friend (and occasional Chowhounder) and I are going tomorrow for the omakase lunch.
Echigo was around $30 the last time that I was there, but that was a full Omakase lunch which just seemed to go, and go, and go. I believe it's more like $40-50 for dinner.
Kiriko was around $90, but that was for dinner. I think that it's closer to $50 for lunch (that said, I also recollect that there's a "small omakase lunch" that's just over $30, akin to Echigo's $11 special).
In either case, if you're upfront about what you want to spend (as long as it's not way outside the range of normal omakase), they'll tend to tailor something to meet your needs.
At Echigo the only chef is Toshi. He's very deft with a paper-thin cut that, in sashimi, would be called "ito zukuri..." this makes him very unpopular with some chowhound posters, and absolutely beloved by others. His Osaka style rice carries much more sweetness than most sushi chefs allow, which is also a contentious point. The major draws at Echigo are the immaculate quality, the traditional presentation, and the nearly unbelievable price point.
At Kiriko the primary chef is Ken. He's much more social than Toshi which is both a good and bad thing as he frequently allows himself to be monopolized by regular diners... and has been known to "forget" items otherwise included in his regular omakase. His cuts are a little heavier, and he tends to be far more "creative" than Toshi, while still remaining within the traditional cannon. Things like tropical fruits and less subtle spices have a way of sneaking into Ken's menu without inspiring great outrage on Chowhound.
Both of them are strip mall sushi places, both are immaculately clean and reasonably well appointed (especially when compared to the old guard of Sasabune and Nozawa). You'll get a better buy at Echigo and a more impressive meal at Kiriko...
But, you've experienced their skills on previous visits, so in both cases Omakase will more of what you loved about them in the past. So, to be honest, the best person to make the decision on this one is you...
Thanks for all the info. I was actually looking to stay around $60-70 per person, so it looks like we can eat heartily at Echigo or skimp a little at Kiriko.
I hadn't considered Sasabune as I've been reading that it's declined since the move. How would you compare Nozawa to Kiriko and Echigo? What about Shibucho (on Beverly) or Ike in Hollywood?
I'm not a big Nozawa fan. I've been twice. I wrote a report after my first visit a little over a year ago.
On my second visit I wasn't paying, which removed the sticker shock element... but I still didn't feel like it lived up to my expectations.
I haven't been to Shibucho on Beverly, but the Costa Mesa location (unrelated, I know) is remarkable. The best value in traditional sushi I've ever had.
P. and I tried Sushi Zo last friday and had the most amazing meal there... We are a bit Okamase shy so we just ordered a la carte based off the specials and things we loved.
It's really a straight up Sushi in it's purest form. Handrolls, Pieces of Sushi, that is it. Each piece (Sold one piece) is garnished with a light hand, if at all.
Having gone to Irori, Zo is one step above in fish quality and care in preparation. We had the best scallop and skipjack of our life there. We also adored the butter fish....
Irori is good for the whole package, the setting, the varied menu and Good sushi made by skilled chefs. Zo is strictly about you and the sushi. It's also a bit cheaper than Irori (We nibbled at Irori and got a big bill, we got a big sake bottle and left Zo stuffed for big bill) That is the focus. So for me and just me, I think Zo is indeed superior...
First time I ever tried omakase was at Zo yesterday for lunch and it was absolutely awesome: miso soup,and (not in order) bigeye tuna, butterfish, skipjack, scallop, amberjack, barracuda (!), yellowtail, sweet shrimp, giant clam, orange clam, blue crab roll, premium mackerel, spanish mackerel, japanese mackerel, fatty tuna -- total before tip was $50 and I was stuffed and very happy.
Try the omakase there. He will not disappoint you.
Kirikio does a limited omakase at lunch served miso, salad, and excellent homemade ice cream. It includes ten pieces of sushi-- the last piece is often a large crab handroll. This is the omakase listed on the menu for $30. You can also order "real" omakase which includes more zing and cooked dishes. That is around $50. Excellent value, both, especially if you sit at the bar.
Omakase at dinner is much more expensive, generally $75-100 depending on how much you eat. It includes cooked dishes and it s very good.
Our favorite DEAL for Great Omakase is Sushi Go 55 in Little Tokyo. Same Lunch you describe but only 10-, UNBELIEVABLE PRICE!. Everything is fresh, much better than Echigo.
As much as we wanted to like Sushi Zo it just wasn't that amazing to place it in our top 10 regarding Omakase. The Sushi Restaurants we like better are:
Sushi Go 55
Sasebune (never been better)
Sushi Wasabi (Tustin)
Kasen (Huntington Beach)
Shubicho (Costa Mesa)