Sushi in/around Sherman Oaks (on a first date)
Looking for a nice sushi restaurant in or near Sherman Oaks -- for a first date! Doesn't have to cost a fortune, but obviously I'd like to make a good impression (with someone who lives in Sherman Oaks and probably knows the restaurant scene around there).
Depending on what you prefer, here are some options.
1) Katsu-Ya in Encino on Ventura near Hayvenhurst. Nice atmosphere and very good fish. The downside is that you will have to wait and it will be very busy. It also is expensive.
2) Hirosuke in Encino on Ventura near Louise. A larger restaurant, not very romantic, with a lot of families and kids. The nigiri is not as high quality as Katsu-Ya, but their specialty is non-traditional rolls. The price is going to be lower than anything else on the list.
3) Sushi Iki in Tarzana on Ventura near Yolanda. A little farther away, but my choice for combination of atmosphere and quality. The fish is better than the above and the restaurant is a small, quiet storefront. The downside is that the sushi menu is pretty limited and the prices beyond the normal nigiri are quite high. The cuts of fish are huge, however, which offsets the price a bit.
4) Sushi 4 on 6 in Encino on Ventura near Hayvenhurst (in the Office Depot/Tony Roma's center across from Katsu-ya). A good, small, and quiet sushi bar that would be good for a date. I was not particluarly impressed with the quality of the fish compared to Iki or Katsu-ya, and the prices are higher than Hirosuke. But if you want to stay close to Sherman Oaks and want a quiet restaurant, it's not a bad choice.
5) Tama in Studio City on Ventura near Lankersheim. Also out of the way. There is a long thread about Tama on the board. I'm of the view that it is overrated. For the price, I would go to Katsu or Iki first.
6) Nozawa in Studio City on Ventura near Lankersheim. Same general vicinity as Tama. High quality, but with attitude and high prices. If you sit at the bar, you have to do omakase. There are no non-traditional rolls.
To help directly answer your question, in Sherman Oaks you have House of Taka on Van Nuys across from Solley's Deli, which I would not think to be date-worthy, yet the sushi reputation is good.
Sushi Iwata on Ventura in the same center as El Torito at Van Nuys Blvd. is well thought of by sushi afficionados on this board.
Midori on Ventura around Stern in a mini-mall is modestly priced, good value, and has several other locations, including one in Studio City with no parking.
Tama Sushi on Ventura just 2 blocks east of Laurel Canyon is very good - see many other discussions on this board, Sushi Katsu-Ya is very good in Studio City, yet is extremely busy, yet with mostly young people and the noise and cramped factor is high.
Asanebo in Studio City is the highest priced place, yet tends toward star-sightings as well as great food.
Sushi Iroha on Ventura just west of Coldwater Canyon in a small house is very charming, has many devoted followers, and has been doing its thing seemingly forever.
Studio City is nicknamed Sushi City for a reason - there are over 25 sushi bars there alone, so you really cannot go too wrong, as they have to do a decent job or they would not stay in business.
$50 for omakase is going to be difficult.
To address Carter's comments, Midori is an all-you-can-eat sushi place. I really don't think it's a date place.
Tama and Katsu-ya are going to be outside your price range. So would Sushi Iki from my list. You could always call the restaurant and see if they could pre-arrange an omakase menu in your price range.
I haven't been to Iroha in years, but it may fit your price range. I remember not being terribly impressed and have not seen it discussed on this board in a long time. Iwata is okay, but parking is a nightmare (the lot is small and is for Gyu Kaku, El Torito, and Sushi Iwata).
There also is Sushi Toshi in Encino (just west of Sepulveda), which is close to Sherman Oaks, but also has not been discussed regularly.
Tama has an excellent omakase for $40 per person, I believe. (they have 3 different versions, either ranging fr 30-50 or 40-60, I can't quite remember). You should have no problem staying w/in your budget there. Never had omakase @ Katsu-ya STudio City, but gorged myself on sushi there for less than $50. For a date, I think Tama is quieter, more romantic & overall nicer; also think they have the highest quality sushi of the places under consideration. Iwata by the way has tasty fish & you can valet the car to solve the parking, but it's a very small, neighborhood restaurant; great for a casual sushi dinner w/ family or friends, but I don't think it's quite the ambiance you want for a first date
While I'm a fan of Iwata, I don't think it's got a great atmosphere for a first date, as it typically gets very crowded and noisy. Also, they don't exactly specialize in omakase although they will do it if you ask.
Iki is fabulous with an ambience that is definitely suitable for a first date, but it's too expensive for your budget (which by the way seems generous for a first date). Maybe you can spring for Iki later if the first date leads to future dates.
To stay within your price range, I agree with those who recommended Tama. They have the set omakase menus so you know ahead of time how much your meal will be, and the ambience is appropriate.
BTW, my husband took me to Brothers sushi in Woodland Hills for our first date on 7/25/96. I was a more experienced sushi eater than he was, and I didn't like Brothers very much, but he suggested it and I wasn't going to argue. We've never been back there. On 7/25/06 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our first date, by going to Iki!