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Reasonable sushi for a date on the Westside?

Tonight I'm going for sushi on a second date. My date initially suggested Hama in Venice but now he's left it up to me to pick the place (heavy sigh of relief.)

I'd like to pick somewhere on the westside with good sushi (it doesn't have to be fantastic because tonight's not about food), that has good lighting/atmosphere/at least semi-romantic and not too loud... a cozy booth would be great, and not too expensive (about $50 with booze, tax and tip per person.) I'd go with the Hump or Asakuma but they're probably too expensive. I'd go with Uzen for the good food at the right price but it's probably too bright in there. I'm thinking maybe Hana Sushi on Wilshire.

Any other suggestions?

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    1. how about En Sushi on Santa Monica Blvd. near Barrington? I don't remember how expensive it is, and i've certainly heard mixed reviews from others, but i've always had decent meals there. And it has better atmosphere than most sushi restaurants.

      For what it's worth, i HATE Hana Sushi on Wilshire.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ddyouandme

        Many many years ago when Hana Sushi was one of the few sushi restaurants on the Westside, it was good. I hadn't eaten there in years, but when I tried it last year, I was shocked how it had changed for the worse.

      2. Hamasaku on SM. Don't let the strip mall location fool you. Nice atmosphere for a date, the sushi is good with reasonable prices and they have a few non-sushi dishes if you want to branch out.

        1. Sushi King is a good idea. I love that place.

          Never been to En Sushi but it looks like it's dark and good ambiance, that's a good idea too.

          I love Hamasaku but I remember them being on the pricier side.

          1. Okay this is a long shot but i would go to either Kaya Sushi on Washington (actually a Korean place). The atmosphere is nice and the sushi is decent enough. The other place is in a strip mall in Marina Del Rey (can't recall the name) and is between Sav-On and Von's on Glencoe (Mindinao is the cross street just off Lincoln). The reason I like this place is because you sit on the floor and everyone takes their shoes off.......kinda funky! The sushi is good and the prices are just right.

            6 Replies
            1. re: stvjennings

              Irori (where you sit on the floor) is decent. Kaya is abominable. Really really awful fish, but I agree the atmosphere is nice. Much better sushi in th Marina can be had at Tsuji No Hana in that strip mall on Lincoln with the US Bank. The place isn't flash, but the fish is extremely fresh and very well-prepared.

              1. re: hrhboo

                I agree that the sushi is not top notch but the Korean dishes are pretty good. I agree Tsuji No Hana is great - try to get one of the 2 younger chefs as they are much more into their craft than the older guy.

                1. re: stvjennings

                  Thanks for the tip. I've never tried their Korean dishes but will certainly give them another shot!

                  1. re: stvjennings

                    I thought Tsuji No Hana was on par with supermarket sushi and the miso definitely came from a mix. Plus, I wouldn't exactly describe it as a "date" restaurant. There is nothing cozy or romantic about it.

                    1. re: omotosando

                      I never implied that it was cozy or romantic. It's my weeknight sushi spot and I'm usually very happy with the quality of the fish.

                  2. re: hrhboo

                    imho the uncomfortable seating and table crowding at tsuji no hana makes it a no-go for a date

                2. One vote for Azami. Worth the extra drive... Make a reservation!

                  Here's one of my all-time fave blog's on this exact place. ;)


                  Have you been before? I'm curious how you think it compares to your regular spots.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cobalt

                    Unfortunately, Azami does not have, imo, "good lighting/atmosphere/at least semi-romantic " and depending on the night it might 'not [be] too loud" and it also doesn't have "booze" only beer & wine. But, fish is good and the itamae are great at Azami!

                    1. re: yinyangdi

                      Good points all, and I learned a new word.

                      Have a great night chowmominLA!

                  2. What about Noma on Wilshire? They have always seemed a little nicer and with more of a "date night" lighting concept to me. Not sure about your price point there for all in at $50 pp however.


                    1. Sushi Masu on Westwood just south of Santa Monica. I'd normally recommend Sushi King too but I've had some less than stellar fish the last few times I went there. I've been going to Masu for years and it's always been consistent. They also offer creative appetizers on their specials board.

                      1. I'm having a hard time coming up with a good match, given that the evening is:

                        1. "Not about the food," and
                        2. *is* about atmosphere, and
                        2. has a budget limit.

                        Believe me, I hear you on each point, I'm just struggling to think of a sushi place that satisfies all three requirements. The closest I can come up with would be The Hump, eating modestly and not ordering lots of booze. Ditto with perhaps Kiriko?

                        Sigh. Tough assignment!

                        But kudos to you for steering the evening away from Hama. Eek!

                        1. Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I have only two hours left to settle on a place (and hope we don't need a reservation!) so it's getting down to the wire.

                          I live in Westwood and he in Playa Vista (he's picking me up) so I'm thinking the drive back to MDR area might be too much for him. Sorry, I should have specified closer to the 10/405 interchange the better.

                          Never been to Azami but I'll have to check it out. But if it's true that it's not so great on the ambiance I'll have to check it out another time.

                          I have been to Noma and that's a definite possibility. Don't think it's the greatest but it was always pretty solid and reasonably priced. I rank it with about sushi king in terms of meeting tonight 's criterion. I think it's similar to Uzen but a little bit better for tonight because of the ambiance. So that's a possibility.

                          Actually, Sushi Masu might be our best bet because it's walking distance from my place. I've only been there once (on Vday last year, so almost exactly one year ago in fact) and remember it to be pretty good. But it was with family instead of on a date so I can't quite remember it in the date context. Anyone else want to chime in with their thoughts on Masu?

                          I like Kiriko a lot, went there for a lunch special one day, but it would probably be too expensive. At that rate I'd just go with the Hump.

                          Oh yeah, about us almost ending up at Hama.... gawd was that a close one... When he suggested it in an email I didn't know how to respond, I didn't want to be so negative or critical barely knowing the guy but uhhhh it's like one of the worst spots on the westside. That was actually the last restaurant I heavily recommended AGAINST on these boards, like a week ago. So yeah, ANY of these possibilities will be better than that. So I was like, "well, why don't we decide whether you're coming to me or I'm coming to you or we're going to meet somewhere, and then pick a place based on that?" Worked like a charm.

                          1. After spending more time stressing out over which sushi bar and about the date in general, I became thoroughly nauseous with nervousness. Then it dawned on me that I won't be eating much of anything at dinner, so the price isn't so much of a factor. I'm going to suggest the Hump, and a few other possibilities to him and get his input and let him cast the final vote. So.... done.

                            Okay, now what the hell should I wear?

                            1. Noooo! Two different friends (on dates) I know told me recently they had fights at The Hump. I know it sounds crazy, but they both said the food wasn't great and, for whatever reasons, they ended up in spats. I also had a spat there a while back with a gf, who ended up leaving in a huff. I had to catch up with her in the parking lot and make amends. Maybe it's all the aeronautical energy of that S.M airport, I don't know. Tell us how it goes. I would've said you were good to go with a booth at Noma. Much more intimate.

                              1. Noma it is then. thanks!

                                ten more minutes... *barf*

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: chowmominLA

                                  "...food wasn't great" at The Hump? W.O.W.!
                                  I have always thought that The Hump has a gorgeous, sexy room and fantastic food!
                                  If you're not going to eat that much go to The Hump.

                                  1. re: yinyangdi

                                    The few times I went to the Hump, I thought the sushi was unbelievably mediocre. Each time I sat at a table. Perhaps they send out junk to tables and save the real stuff for the sushi bar? It is a nice place to sit outside and have a drink on a warm night, however.

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      The many times I had fantastic sushi at The Hump was never at a table, only at the bar. It *has* been a while, but I cannot imagine that the quality could have changed unless the restaurant was sold from the original owner ... ?

                                2. Sounds like the date may have already come and gone. I hope it went well. For what its worth in the future, I've been to Asakuma a couple times recently, and I think you can have a nice meal there for much less than $50 a person.

                                  1. The date went perfect. We went to Noma and got a booth. No wait, but enough people in there to feel like we didn't settle for a dive. The ambiance was great and service very friendly. We ordered monkfish (very generous serving for only $6), a couple orders each of salmon, hamachi and albacore, a spicy tuna roll and tuna, some edamame and we split a large Kirin.

                                    I've been spoiled by Sushi Zo lately and I knew the sushi at Noma wouldn't hold a candle, but it was still very good and exactly what I had expected. I had had monkfish only at Sushi Zo (LOVED it), so the bar was instantly set pretty high for that. The monkfish was cold and certainly not the same "tastes-so-good-it-makes-your-toes-curl" ankimo as Sushi Zo, but it was still good. It was served with a nice ponzu sauce. It wasn't too fishy. My date tasted it but he didn't like the consistency. I had no problem polishing it off.

                                    The sushi was fresh enough and good. My date liked it too but then again, he really likes Hama. We were both very full after dinner, which was a bit surprising, as I was more full after six pieces of nigiri, a few pieces of monkfish and some edamame, than I was after a "regular" omakase at Zo with almost twice as much food. Why is that? Maybe it was because I was nervous. Maybe it was because I had half a Peking Duck at Lu Din Gee at 1 pm. Anyway, I tried to slip my credit card on top of the bill but my date snatched it away. As he signed I saw that the total with tax and tip was seventy-something. So yes, a good and filling dinner for about $35-$40 per, total. Very reasonable and the dinner was good for the price. I keep finding myself saying "good" but no other way to put it.

                                    We had Pinkberry after, which was a nice way to top off the soosh.

                                    Anyway, thanks for your input, guys!