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best omakase experience?

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I realized there are a few levels of recommendations for sushi bars from friends.
i.e.- the “unique roll” group, the fresh fish crew, and the omakase crowd.

I perfer to sit at the counter and enjoy the meal with one to two other guests.

Where in LA has the best omakase experience?

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  1. Sasabune (Chef's Special w/ Nobi)

    4 Replies
    1. re: russkar

      I stopped going to this Sushi "nazi" when he started pre cutting all his fish. Is he still doing it since he has moved?
      Give Sushi Masu on Westwood Blvd just south of Santa Monica a try for omakase.

      1. re: russkar

        Agreed, although their new location on Wilshire is always packed. Also, I don't believe they're open on Saturday nights. I would recommend Echigo, located on Santa Monica Blvd. nearby Bundy. It's in a non-descript strip mall. Excellent quality. The chef's choice is the way to go and it always ends w/ an epic crab handroll. It's much more reasonable than Sasabune too!

        1. re: russkar

          We went there for dinner the other night and the first plate of sashimi we got was all clearly pre-cut and had obviously been sitting in the ponzu (I think that's what it was) for some time. Icky!

          1. re: mollyomormon

            nobi has been serving this albacore as an opener this way for years.

            it's some of the best albacore on the planet and he's so meticulous about it being in the sauce for just long enough to marry the flavors, but not be overpowered by it.

            we look forward to it whenever we go. as a matter of fact, i think i'll go back tonight for it.

            never had an issue with the quality of nobi's fish.

        2. I'd vote for Shibucho (the Orange County one) Saito, or Gen. Haven't tried Takumi yet.

          1. Mori has a sushi omakase and an even more expensive omakase that adds some cooked dishes. Both are great.
            Kiriko (only downside is service can be very slow if the place is busy). The $30 lunch omakase is tasty and a good value; the proper omakase I've ordered in the evening was more expensive but really tasty.
            Kappo Ishito (A lot of cooked dishes in addition to sushi)
            Asanebo (Also a lot of cooked dishes)
            Sushi Tenn (weird ambience, mild seasoning of rice and fish, sushi plus a few appetizers). This place has several reasonably priced lunch specials also.

            Of the above, Mori serves the best sushi (though the others are excellent) and is the most expensive (though not by a wide margin).

            If ambience is of no concern and speed is of the essence, Nozawa. The fish is excellent, on par with the best of the above. I also think the rice is excellent, though some have complained that it is too warm, over-seasoned, and / or falls apart. (Well, I'll concede that it does fall apart pretty easily.)
            Tama has "omakase" at 3 price points. Not sure if the selection varies day-to-day.
            I didn't manage to get the omakase at Kazu ("too busy" even though there was only one occupied table and I was alone at the bar), but the sushi was great.

            Of the venues mentioned by others, I am also fond of Saito. I liked Sasabune years ago; I felt the quality declined a little during the year before the move, then declined even more after the move; but I haven't been back in a long time, so I'll defer to those who have. I've had a couple of good lunches at Takumi but haven't ordered the omakase.

            5 Replies
            1. re: HPLsauce

              I'm curious about this omakasa thing...is it a new trend? I looked it up on the internet because I lived in Japan for a couple of years and never heard of it. However, in Japan I never went to high-end sushi places so maybe that's where it is common.

              1. re: bohemiana

                No ... basically it is whatever the chef wants to serve you.

                1. re: bohemiana

                  I don't think the term, "omakase," is used in Japan... you might have had it or not... you just put your trust in the chef to bring out the best of the best that he has on hand... And that is what omakase roughly translates into - trust. The better chefs really like this as it gives them free will to show their knowledge, creativity and skill. And of course, they make a pretty fair amount of money doing this...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    The word omakase is used very commonly in Japan. Not sure why you would think that.

                    1. re: E Eto

                      If that's been your experience, that's great... It's not been mine, but I don't live there - only visited a few times... as usual - thanks for the critique.

              2. As a first-timer to any sushi place, it will be hard to get the "best" omakase experience, whatever that means.

                For me, to truly enjoy and experience what an omakase should be, you have to develop a rapport with the sushi chef, which is developed, or actually, more like cultivated, over time and several, several seatings at the bar.

                The chef learns your palate, your likes and dislikes, the size of your appetite, your eating pace, etc.

                You, in turn, come to appreciate the nuances the chef takes to the fish, e.g. the cut, ratio of fish to rice, the seasonings, etc.

                At some point, there is a happy convergence, a sort of sushi synergy, if you will. Sort of like a Vulcan mind-meld. This is when you have achieved omakase nirvana.

                But this state of being is not something you can attain simply by walking into one of the very many fine sushi joints in LA and expect to get.

                I think I am about 3/4 of the way there with Ike, but there's still a ways to go ... and I'm looking forward to each and every step with bated-breath...

                Cheers.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Or, since we are talking about sushi, baited breath.

                2. Having tried a number of the omakase in town, some repeatedly, my feeling is that Mori is hands down the best there is. The sushi is sublime, and the use of fruit and fresh vegetables in the prepared dishes makes it an amazing experience. I also like that they are not so bullheaded as to give attitude when you indicate that there is something you don't like. I give honorable mention to Taiko in Brentwood, very good when it is on, but too inconsistent to put with the status of Mori.

                  1. urasawa, if you can afford it. failing that, sushi zo.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rameniac

                      I'll second Urasawa.

                      Photos from my 31-course omakase there: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fus...

                    2. My old answer used to be Sasabune, but the more time I spend at smaller sushi houses, the more I'm inclined to lean toward Hirozen.

                      I just had a pretty good omakase at Shibuya in Calabasas:
                      http://taste-buzz.com/lunch-hour-omakase

                      1 Reply
                      1. Has anyone tried the Omakase at San Sui on Hillhurst in Los Feliz? It costs $50 and includes about 8 courses; sashimi, sushi, tempura, something beef...the description sound delicious, but I'd love to hear about someone's experience there. I know it is not the best japaneese food ever, but I can walk from my house and there is space outside for a baby buggy.

                        1. I love the omakase at Mori and at Sushi Zo.

                          1. Go's Mart... Simply the best. Go san has such an amazing talent. Very very fresh fish and the flavors he uses: French sea salts, truffles, gold dust, caviar....This guy is very creative with sushi. The textures and tastes are perfect. But be careful when he gets really creative you will have to pay $$$$, one time our bill for 2 came out to $350 just for omakase not including drinks and tip. But like I said this guy is worth the price of admission. For me he still is the best kept secret in LA