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Best Sushi in LA

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jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 06:57 AM

Where am I to find the best in this crazy city? I would prefer to stay on the westside, but I will travel if it's worth it!! I prefer omakase (chef's usually know what is best!), but anything awesome will do! Thanks!

www.ManjaManja.com

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  1. w
    wanderlustre RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 07:07 AM

    So far for me, the westside has turned out to be the best place to go for sushi (Mind, I haven't ventured out to Torrance yet). Sawtelle Blvd, where the 405 hits Santa Monica, features some of the best sushi in LA. Two (or three?) of the best rated sushi restaurants are right there. Hide is my favorite for great sushi at a reasonable price. Of all the upper class sushi places I've only been to Sasabune, which is no longer the little house on Sawtelle. Sasabune was absolutely excellent, no frills, incredible sushi. Seems like a lot of people around here like Urasawa which I have to try, maybe when I've got the money. Happy eating!

    7 Replies
    1. re: wanderlustre
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      iLoveFood RE: wanderlustre Aug 4, 2006 03:42 PM

      I have to totally disagree about Sasabune...here is a recent thread on it:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: wanderlustre
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        dkawai RE: wanderlustre Aug 4, 2006 03:50 PM

        Sasbune was pretty average...not worth the attitude. Nishimura (on Melrose east of San Vicente) is substantially better. If you're willing to travel, Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa (do a search on the Board) is incredible for traditional sushi from a master sushi chef who's apprentices include the owners of Nishimura, Katsu, Kawa-cho, and R-23.

        1. re: dkawai
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          yum RE: dkawai Aug 5, 2006 02:14 AM

          i second shibucho.. it is the BEST

          1. re: dkawai
            Porthos RE: dkawai Aug 5, 2006 07:02 AM

            I'd recommend a pass on Nishimura. The sushi is good but the attitude is unbelievable. I went twice, dropped $300+ for two each time and they still managed to make me feel unwelcome.

            Go to Mori Sushi instead. The fish is just as good if not better (Mori's toro dusted Nishimura's_ and they don't forget the service part of the equation.

            I also second the pass on Sasabune.

            1. re: Porthos
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              dkawai RE: Porthos Aug 7, 2006 06:31 PM

              Never expereinced any sort of attitude issues when dining @ Nishimura myself. Always been an excellent experience for me. Price, however, is another matter. $300 sounds about right for two for Omakase + a lot of premium sake.

              1. re: dkawai
                Porthos RE: dkawai Aug 8, 2006 03:01 AM

                The attitude at Nishimura isn't uncommon. J.Gold mentions it in his excellent take on LA sushi:

                http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/din...

            2. re: dkawai
              madison RE: dkawai Aug 16, 2006 08:53 PM

              You are 100% right on the Nishimura...he is very well known to many sushi chefs (that speaks volumes).

          2. r
            rameniac RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 09:54 AM

            sushi zo on national in palms.

            1. w
              wakko11 RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 03:06 PM

              Sushi Iki in Tarzana has the freshest and best sushi IMHO. The best bluefin toro and live hotategai (sea scallop) around. All of the shellfish is live - even the uni is live!

              18663 Ventura Bl., #106
              Tarzana, CA 91356
              818-343-3470

              1. b
                bza RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 04:32 PM

                Unless you are going to pay big money, the best sushi in town is at Sushi Gen on 2nd in Little Tokyo.

                Fresh fish, cut well, with a minimum of fuss. The squid with uni dish is one of the great plates in LA.

                1. m
                  mc michael RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 04:45 PM

                  If you want to stay on the Westside, get out your credit card with the most available and head to Mori Sushi at Pico & Gateway. Sit at the counter and listen to what Mori says and watch what he does with fish, wasabi and rice. If he says it's seasoned already, don't add anything. Omakase, OMG.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mc michael
                    yummyinmytummy RE: mc michael Aug 4, 2006 10:52 PM

                    Mori sushi is amazing...both for quality and price...worth every dollar, dinner for 2 with 1 drink each is well under $100

                  2. e
                    estone888 RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 04:57 PM

                    I recently had one of the best omakases of my entire life at SushiGo 55 in Little Tokyo. There was nothing flashy about it - just simple, straight-forward, perfectly fresh, perfectly constructed, no muss no fuss sushi. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't outrageous either. They also have a nice selection of sakes and the waitresses are knowledgeable about them.

                    That said, I'm also very fond of Tsukiji in Gardena.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: estone888
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                      jniceyw RE: estone888 Aug 4, 2006 06:55 PM

                      Thanks for all your help! Can anyone give the amount of money I might have to shell out? Esp. for Sushi Zo, Mori Sushi and SushiGo 55. I must agree on Sushi Gen and Shibochu--been to both places and there really is some good stuff there.

                      1. re: jniceyw
                        e
                        estone888 RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 07:17 PM

                        When I had omakase at SushiGo 55, I totally pigged out - I can't even recall how many courses - and my girlfriend and I also had a $40 carafe of sake - it came to about $65 per person including tip. The other night I went there and had their chirashi sushi - one of the best I've ever had, and huge - and it was $22.95 for the bigger one.

                        1. re: jniceyw
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                          NAspy RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 07:47 PM

                          I had omakase lunch at Sushi Zo on Tuesday -- I had about 15 or more pieces for $50 -- I thought it was fantastic -- bigeye tuna, scallop, yellowtail, spanish mackerel, barracuda, premium mackerel, sweet shrimp, amberjack, skipjack, orange clam, giant clam, toro, japanese mackerel, butterfish, blue crab handroll. Don't know if that's pricey or not, but I didn't begrudge a cent.

                          1. re: NAspy
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                            WBGuy RE: NAspy Aug 4, 2006 10:47 PM

                            I'll tell you. That's pricey. :)

                            I agree that Zo is really good, probably the best that I've been to in the westside (apart from Urasawa -- whole different league), but still... that works out to over $3 per slice. Greatness doesn't come cheap.

                            Probably the reason why, unless I'm desperate, I just wait until it's clear on the 405 before heading to Shibucho for my great sushi fix. Better sushi for 1/2 the price of what they charge out here. It'll be hard to spend $50 over there unless I really wanna stuff myself silly.

                            1. re: WBGuy
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                              NAspy RE: WBGuy Aug 5, 2006 08:22 PM

                              You know I guess it was a lot of dough...but with sushi I'd rather have it zo zo good like that than pay less (though usually not MUCH less, maybe $35) and not be thinking about the meal for days afterward.

                      2. a
                        AquaW RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 07:55 PM

                        Sushi Gen in Downtown or Azami Sushi around East Hollywood. The latter makes esp. yummy (and reasonably-priced) omakase ($35+, depending on when you wanna stop)

                        1. Pablo RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 08:51 PM

                          Urasawa is the best. Reservations required. $250 per person not including drinks, tax, and tip.

                          218 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
                          310-247-8939

                          Pics from our last visit:
                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/64622084...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Pablo
                            b
                            bza RE: Pablo Aug 5, 2006 12:14 AM

                            wow, great photos, thank you.

                            now where did I leave that 800 dollars lying around...

                            1. re: bza
                              Pablo RE: bza Aug 7, 2006 04:55 PM

                              It really isn't that much if you are willing to give up a few regular sushi dinners that would easily add up to $250 (at least for me). Trust me, the Urasawa experience will not leave your brain, you won't care if you are eating ramen everyday for the next couple weeks after paying the bill!

                            2. re: Pablo
                              liu RE: Pablo Aug 5, 2006 01:50 AM

                              Pablo -- Your slide show is spectacular...of course, your subject is beautiful and very appetizing! I love the way you clearly identified everything, and some of the presentations are just gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this with us!

                              1. re: liu
                                Pablo RE: liu Aug 7, 2006 04:57 PM

                                Thank you! Lighting was bad and I am out of focus on so many! Go early so lighting is better if you want to shoot photos.

                            3. jcwla RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 09:02 PM

                              Urasawa, of course -- it's not as good as Ginza Sushi-Ko with Masa (Hiro loads you up on starches early on, makes it harder to get through the meal).
                              Other good sushi places include R-23, Kiriko, Sasabune, the Hump, Sushi Zo (not as good on repeat visits as the first but still good), Asanebo.
                              Others like Echigo, Mori, Matsuhisa, Nishimura, Sushi Gen.

                              1. c
                                calabasas_trafalgar RE: jniceyw Aug 4, 2006 10:14 PM

                                If you go east, try Z-Sushi in Alhambra, Kiyosuzu in Arcadia, Little Tokyo in San Dimas, or Futami in Monrovia.

                                1. l
                                  linlinchan RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 12:07 AM

                                  There is no where else worth going other than Sushi Zo. Just amazing.

                                  I refuse to go to Sushi Go55. I used to and the food is GOOD, I'll admit, but I had a HORRIBLE experience with the owner who was an awful person. So, I can't bring myself to go because it's equivalent in my mind to paying someone whom I despise.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: linlinchan
                                    j
                                    Jerome RE: linlinchan Aug 7, 2006 05:41 AM

                                    I wonder - is the lady still the owner? There used to be another guy there but he's gone and lasttime I was there, a lady was running the place.
                                    That said, I only eat there when Mr. KAwasaki is working and then only if he will seat us at the bar. Without him, ain't no thing.

                                  2. Amanda Enclade RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 12:09 AM

                                    it depends on if you want flashy sushi or if you want to taste fish at it's best with no frills
                                    for a real LA experience and an experience you will never forget go to one of these places:
                                    SASEBUNE (yes, it has blown up)
                                    SUSHI HIKO (amazing...amazing) national/sawtelle
                                    NOZAWA (ventura blvd. laurel cyn)
                                    and it sounds like SUSHI ZO is along the same vein although I have never been and I am planning to go.

                                    the 3 mentioned before are closed on weekends! gotta love that,,,,maybe because the fish markets are closed?

                                    the sushi looks plain here, not fancy california style with sauces etc, the rice is warm, which is an amazing touch and it is delish!!
                                    PS just for the record. I do love fancy sushi too and my favorite is ....MATSUHISA on la cienega

                                    1. v
                                      vivien RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 03:19 AM

                                      Matsuhisa - Definitely have Omakase
                                      Katsu-Ya - Dishes come out too fast at times...
                                      Nishimura - Straight no frills Sushi.
                                      Koi - Surprisingly awesome Toro everytime.

                                      Skip:
                                      Sasebune - Great at first but everything seems to taste the same after awhile.
                                      Sushi Roku

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: vivien
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                                        msmd310 RE: vivien Aug 14, 2006 11:42 PM

                                        Matsuhisa gives you the same omakase EVERY TIME! the cooked dishes are interesting, but the sushi is disappointing

                                        1. re: msmd310
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                                          vivien RE: msmd310 Aug 15, 2006 12:00 AM

                                          They've changed the Omakase up now and then, though not as often as we'd like. Sushi- perhaps our once-a-month trips has proven fruitful as our fish has definitely improved compared to our first excursion.

                                      2. russkar RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 03:35 AM

                                        BEST OF THE BEST is still "URASAWA", hands down!!!
                                        Next: Nozawa, Sasebune, Sushi Gen, Mori, Sushi Go 55, Ansebo, Sushi Wasabi(tustin). I've been to Shubicho(CM) several times and it's good but not in the top 10. 30 years of Sushi Dining multi times weekly.
                                        Best in the USA is MASA , NYC. (Urasawa's mentor)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: russkar
                                          Amanda Enclade RE: russkar Aug 5, 2006 04:26 PM

                                          I've been dying to try URASAWA
                                          as soon as I get over the fear of a 250.00 omakase
                                          or as soon as I really strike it rich
                                          or as soon as somebody else pays for me
                                          I hear it is great but only for the few that can afford such luxury

                                        2. l
                                          Liquid Sky RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 04:28 PM

                                          Great thread. I would love to hear more about the sushi at AZAMI since I'm planning on going soon. Any thoughts? Should I stick to the omakase?

                                          Thanks

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Liquid Sky
                                            a
                                            AquaW RE: Liquid Sky Aug 7, 2006 01:04 AM

                                            Definitely go for the Omakase on your first visit... tell your chef your like/dislikes (and how much you wanna spend a person, $35 up) and she'll tailor the dishes to your preference. Also, you can ask for 1-sushi-per-plate so you can taste more during the omakase.

                                            Let us know how it goes :)

                                          2. z
                                            zack RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 05:27 PM

                                            Definitely go for omakase at Azami if it's your 1st time. Let chef know that you've never been and she'll take care of you. Be sure to ask for the best dishes, not necessarily the most popular ones. You'll get one piece of sushi per fish, that way trying more things. All of the items (sushi/sashimi) come pre-dressed with sauce. I didn't use the soy at all during the entire meal. One of the best sushi meals I've had ever.

                                            On a side note, I recently went to Zo. Disappointing meal after hearing the rave reviews on this board. Maybe my expectations were too high? Not a single touted item blew me away: uni-squid, spanish mackerel, yuzu-ade shot at end of meal. Nothing was bad, just not especially great. Most fish were slightly on the cold side, would be worse if not for the warm rice. I wish chef would use some yuzu on white/shell fish dishes. Chef seemed rushed and even too busy to talk at times when the restaurant was only at 1/3 capacity. I guess that will work itself out after he becomes established at the new place. Service was good and I like the draft Kirin. 1 glass of sake, omakase for 2 came out to $175 total (more than I expected). With the competition in the nearby area (Kiriko, Sasabune), I don't see how Zo deserves the high praise.
                                            Forgot to mention but grilled sweet shrimp head was excellent. Much better than fried or soup versions elsewhere.

                                            1. k
                                              kevin RE: jniceyw Aug 5, 2006 08:30 PM

                                              i like sushi zo, but for some reason, it is definitely cost-prohibitive compared to other comparable and more interesting places.

                                              i did really enjoy speaking with the chef and service is all around great. but it might help him to discount his prices while he's up and running and to attract patrons away from other joints that are working within the same style and frame of reference.

                                              1. l
                                                Liquid Sky RE: jniceyw Aug 6, 2006 05:34 AM

                                                Zack: Thanks!!

                                                1. barryc RE: jniceyw Aug 7, 2006 08:45 AM

                                                  <sigh> this question comes up about once a month it seems. but i am surprised that no one has yet suggested sushi sushi in beverly hills.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: barryc
                                                    jcwla RE: barryc Aug 7, 2006 06:01 PM

                                                    Um -- Sushi Sushi just never ends up being quite as impressive as it should. The sushi is always just OKAY but it is priced at a much higher level than that b/c of the rent. It's also a place where the service can be downright poor if you're not either a) a regular or b) Japanese.

                                                  2. ladius RE: jniceyw Aug 7, 2006 06:21 PM

                                                    Kazen in Fountain Valley is excellent. A bit of a drive but worth it. They don't serve california rolls by the way.

                                                    1. barryc RE: jniceyw Aug 8, 2006 12:06 AM

                                                      i agree that shigei can be quite mercurial; the quality you get generally corresponds to his assessment of your ability to appreciate what he does. while nothing there is bad, you will get OKAY sushi if you've acted like an OKAY customer. this is not unique to sushi sushi IMO; i've accompanied friends to decent places where they're a regular and after a short time while we order the same things i invariably get better cuts of fish, because i have learned how to adopt the appropriate behavior and mannerisms that faciliates good service (while in rome) - as i was leaving after my first visit to sushi sushi, the hostess commented that shigei almost never jokes with a first time customer as he had with me.

                                                      i also note that it's common for serious patrons in japan to seek an introduction to the chef by a valued regular customer - part of what contributes to make the experience special is the relationship one has with the chef. and shigei is definitely old school.

                                                      sushi sushi is not for everyone, but the place does deserve recognition for the nuances the cuisine offers to those who value these kind of aeshetic.

                                                      and in general, for those who are serious about their sushi, i recommend letting a knowledgable friend introduce you to their favorite place. barring that, after finding a good place, investing the time to develop a good relationship with the chef, and your sushi experience *will* improve over time.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: barryc
                                                        jcwla RE: barryc Aug 8, 2006 03:21 PM

                                                        Investing the "time" is one thing. Investing the MONEY at Sushi Sushi to try to get on the good side of the sushi chef and getting mediocre sushi at very high prices in the meanwhile is quite another. Urasawa, R-23, etc. are excellent from the first time you go, no matter who you are -- I'm going to try to EARN my way up to the good stuff at SS by giving some schmucky sushi chef an ego trip?

                                                        1. re: barryc
                                                          E Eto RE: barryc Aug 8, 2006 03:29 PM

                                                          Before we go down the same road again, a read through of this thread will preempt reactions, or maybe provoke others on the subject of building relationships with a sushi master.

                                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                        2. r
                                                          richmaem RE: jniceyw Aug 8, 2006 04:19 PM

                                                          The Hump at the Santa Monica Airport has the freshest, tastiest sushi I have ever had in Los Angeles. It is extremely pricey and not for the faint of heart (last time I was there we watched a live lobster butchered seconds before it's still moving body was placed on our plates.)

                                                          1. barryc RE: jniceyw Aug 9, 2006 08:14 PM

                                                            some people appreciate sushi being not just the meal but an experience that can be influenced positively by respecting the underlying culture and traditions of the cuisine. those who don't probably won't be able to appreciate what a place like sushi sushi can offer.

                                                            i'm personally quite happy going to in-n-out over a place like apple pan or pie & burger, but i'm not going to hammer somebody for appreciating the nuances that are lost on me.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: barryc
                                                              jcwla RE: barryc Aug 9, 2006 09:13 PM

                                                              sushi sushi is mediocre and overpriced.
                                                              you can spend all you want there, it will still be mediocre and overpriced.
                                                              if it were better it would be better regarded, but it's not.

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