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Sushi recs in the West LA/Santa Monica Airport area

Have a friend flying in to SM Airport this weekend. He's been to the Hump and wants to try something else in the same area for comparison. I know what I like, but what's the consensus from others?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Sushi Mori in West LA or Sushi Tenn on Sawtelle or Kiriko http://www.kirikosushi.com/ on Olympic Blvd. (all of these should be no more than 5 or 10 minutes drive from SM Airport)

    2 Replies
    1. re: tony michaels

      Those are the three I would have picked as well. Kiriko is one you want if you want sushi AND cooked items. Kitiko's entrance is on Sawtelle, just north of Olympic, although its street address is on Olympic.

      1. re: igj

        Actually, you can get pretty good cooked food at both Mori and Sushi Tenn as well. I don't know if you can get it at dinner, but at lunch, Mori has really good tempura - probably the best tempura I've had other than at the old Ginza Sushi-Ko and at a couple tempura-only restaurants in Tokyo.

      1. re: vnehring

        The OP said that his friend had been to the Hump and wanted to try another - hopefully comparable place.

        1. re: tony michaels

          why not try something better instead? The Hump is about as pedestrian as it gets, and way overpriced, too!

      2. Sushi Zo, my new favorite go-to sushi joint. On National, call for a rez (310) 842-3977.

        My other favorite on the westside is Echigo (12217 Santa Monica Blvd, 310-820-9787). It's similar (edo style, no cooked foods) to Zo, but Echigo's rice is decadent; very warm and creamy, almost like risotto and the ponzu sauce tends to dominate everything. It's not as close to airport as Zo.

        3 Replies
        1. re: vinosnob

          I hated Echigo the one time I went there. You either like warm rice and sauced soft fish or you don't (I don't). Hiko (which somebody else on this Board recommended as the best sushi in L.A.) is in the same vein and I found it equally dreadful. It just depends on what you like. I actually like to taste the fish rather than to taste hot rice and ponzu sauce. Maybe this is sushi for risotto lovers - I don't like risotto.

          1. re: omotosando

            "Hate" is such a strong word; what's wrong with dislike? And only based on one experience? Yikes, you're tough.

          2. re: vinosnob

            second the sushi zo recommendation

          3. everybody is right (except the one that hates echigo) but Hump seems like the obvious choice fresh off the plane

            2 Replies
            1. re: epop

              "He's been to the Hump and wants to try something else in the same area for comparison."

              1. re: tony michaels

                i know but i find it odd (especially the words "in the same area"). i guess i look fwd to one day getting off a plane and
                heading to the Hump. forgive the 007 in me

            2. Hey, I have an idea... what about the Hump? just kidding...

              Sushi Zo is a good recommendation as long as he is okay with just sushi (they have no cooked food), otherwise I'd try Kiriko (haven't been to Mori or Tenn but now I want to.)

              Hope you're eating on Friday or Saturday and not Sunday, as many restaurants (including Zo) are closed on Sunday, and those that are open may not be at their freshest since fish markets are closed that day. Not sure if Kiriko is opened on Sunday.

              1. Yeah, that Hump place is as good as it gets in SM area. Akwa is good, but I find it very expensive I tell ya. It's in downtown SM, about 5 min drive from the SM airport. Also in Downtown SM there's a new place called Tengu in the old Ivy space. I'm trying the place next week for the first time. What about Sushi Roku? It's on Ocean.

                Sushi King is good cheap neighborhood sushi on Wilshire and 15th (I think). But, it's all about The Hump for me.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

                  expensive is: i won't eat at sushi roku... quality first//

                2. Thanks for the recs. Yes, we love The Hump but I was thinking Sushi Tenn or that place on Gateway (can't remember the name). Been to Mori and had an awful meal for $450. Will never go back. Hiko is great, but we've been there too. Wanted to try something new and close by (Friday night, only staying for a few hours).

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: swsnan

                    If you're going to Sawtelle, Kiriko is vastly superior to Sushi Tenn both in sushi and cooked food. I've been repeatedly disappointed by Sushi Tenn.

                    1. re: Jwsel

                      Agreed, Jwsel. Kiriko offers a wide selection of items, both raw and cooked. But beware: you can get to four dollar signs very quickly!

                      1. re: liu

                        True, but I'm not sure it is much more expensive that Sushi Tenn for cooked food and sushi.

                        1. re: Jwsel

                          Whoops if I implied that...I would absolutely choose Kiriko over Sushi Tenn. Last time we left Kiriko, however, I was comfortably full but still could have had a few more; after seeing the bill, I was glad we stopped where we did. Their sushi is really delicious and I would return again and again!

                          1. re: Jwsel

                            When I had the omakase at Sushi Tenn for $80, I thought both the sushi and the cooked food were great. I have never had an equivalent meal at Kiriko for $80 - more like $120 - $150. I also think the service at Sushi Tenn is vastly superior to Kiriko.

                            The only thing that I would say at Kiriko that is vastly superior to Sushi Tenn is dessert. Kiriko has a lot of good innovative desserts if you have a sweet tooth. Sushi Tenn just has green tea ice cream.

                            I think the atmosphere at Kiriko is a little nicer. Sushi Tenn is very bright and stark. Kiriko is more cozy and inviting.

                        2. re: Jwsel

                          Although Kiriko does serve excellent food, the service is SLOW. My last 3 visits were horrible in terms of serivce; especially if the chef is working on his regulars at the sushi bar.

                          Also, couldn't disagree more about the sushi quality between Tenn and Kiriko. For one, their vastly different in terms of style. Tenn is simple, edo-style with perfectly, melt-in-your-mouth fresh fish while Kiriko excels in innovative flavor combinations, ornate presentation and quality fish.

                          1. re: vinosnob

                            I have experienced that same slowness problem at Kiriko, which is large part of why I don't eat there as regularly as I used to. Part of the pleasure of a sushi meal is the pacing and the pacing can be way off at Kiriko. Also, getting a refill on a cup of tea can be an ordeal there. They definitely need more waitstaff.

                      2. i feel like the sushi at kiriko is a notch above tenn's. i'll try tenn again soon and report back though, as it has been a year.

                        they're kind at kiriko but when busy London Bridge definitely falls down there. i find the problem to be more with the sushi chefs than the waitstaff. 9/10 times it is great.