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May 14, 2007 01:21 AM

Disappointed by Echigo... Any suggestions?

So the other night my friend and I tried Echigo's omakase menu for dinner. We were expecting a lot b/c of the glowing reviews here on Chowhound but were rather disappointed.

Most of the fish was pretty fresh (except the fishy toro - ugh), but the sauces were in general too overpowering for me and several times I tasted more miso, yuzi, or green onion than anything. : (

Urasawa, Kiriko, Mori... there are so many sushi places I'd still like to visit. But after my Echigo encounter, I've decided to ask for more specific advice before venturing out again.

Can you please refer me to places where the fish is super fresh and the sauces are more subtle? Many thanks! : )

For reference, here are my taste buds' reactions to the places I've already visited.

Wonderful: Sasabune, Zo
Good: Hama, Uzen, Kampachi, Sennari, Kaizuka, Nobu
Disappointing: Sushi Karen, Echigo

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  1. Urasawa is in a class alone, but it's also not just about the sushi with its wonderful mix of cooked dishes to begin. Certainly you can't go wrong at either Kiriko or Mori. I like Mori better, but there are plenty of passionate posters here who would make the opposite argument. I say try them both and then go to Urasawa as the final and ultimate test of your taste buds ability to be awed and your credit limit to be strained to the maximum.

    7 Replies
    1. re: tony michaels

      Thanks so much for the advice! I'll be out of town for most of the next 2 months but will definitely do the Kiriko, Mori, then Urasawa combo you suggested when I return. Sooo looking forward to it! : D

      Any favorite cooked dishes at Urasawa that you recommend?

      1. re: emmaramma

        If you will eat anything that Hiro-san puts in front of you then just sit back and watch him do his thing. Normally the meal works out to about 29 or so courses, 17 of those being sushi.

        1. re: tony michaels

          29?!?!? Holy COW... I may just explode, but that's awesome. Am now looking forward to it even more! Thanks! : )

          1. re: emmaramma

            Just so you're aware to start saving now ;), the base price for omakase at Urasawa is $250, not including tax, tip or any drink (you have to purchase the water). From what everyone here says, well worth it, but I'll be at Zo until then....!

            1. re: mollyomormon

              WHAAAATTTTTTT???!?!?!?!!! What the... what the... (I seem to be unable to stop stuttering...) Do they have GOLD FLAKES in their fish or what?

              *SIGH* Duuuude, that's pretty steep. And you have to purchase the water? Aiyayay. I mean, 29 courses of sushi and various cooked dishes *is* tempting but 1/4 of a grand is a humungous chunk of change. Aggggh.

              Though I am now in agony (my stomach is battling my more practical brain at this point) thanks for the heads up! : )

              1. re: mollyomormon

                last i heard the price went up to a bit to $270. but then again, its not just a meal....its a dining experience! =)

                1. re: wilafur

                  (I keep responding... This was my first Chowhound post... Didn't realize it's such a blackhole... though a wonderfully informative and entertaining blackhole - hehe) : D

                  Thanks for the update. Just checked out Urasawa on citysearch and the reviews were intriguing indeed. I wanna GOOO...

      2. I am newly in love with Zo. I used to go to Echigo alot and I noticed that alot of the time, the waitresses are putting the sauces on the fish. Aside from the sanitary issues, I would prefer the sushi chef to handle the fish. That's just me though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zoomchic

          *Sigh* Isn't Zo great? I'm in love too... Viva ZO!!! : P

          We should start a Zo Revolution. Hehe.

        2. There are almost no sauces whatsoever used at Sushi Ike. The red snapper gets a bit of salt-treatment, but that's common. Also, I'm a big fan of Hirozen, but I'm eating at Ike most often these days due to its proximity as well as its quality.

          9 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            Thanks for the info! I'd never heard of Sushi Ike or Hirozen. (Yes, I'm a sushi novice. : P) Just looked both of them up and they look very promising. Will mosey on down to your neighborhood (Hollywood) and try both of them after the above Kiriko, Mori, and Urasawa combo.

            Dude, like Tony Michaels said above, my credit limit *will* be strained to the max. LOL.

            Also, I thought it was hilariously ironic that you, SauceSupreme, responded to my complaint about Echigo's sauce problem... : D

            Speaking of sauce, the filet mignon at Osteria Latini had the best red wine reduction ever. I felt like licking the plate clean (though it was too rich and I felt bloated afterwards - haha). Long live sauce!

            1. re: emmaramma

              The problem with Echigo is the fish is pre cut. Thanks to chowhound I've been going to Kiriko and Zo for sushi. I love kiriko for their $30.00 omakase meal. It is a great value and the food is great. Only thing is when I first started going Ken was working at lunch he no longer works the lunch crowd which is disappointing because it was always a varied menu. Now it seems the omakase is pretty rote unless I go with more people in which case they tend to add different things to the omakase ie sweet shrimp. Which I don't get if I go by myself. Sushi Zo is nothing short of spectacular I was there a month ago and ate $120.00 worth of omakase for LUNCH. but I did ask for seconds of the cod fish milk, which I later found out was milt. Plus I had abalone which I requested. I went back two weeks later with my wife who like rolls over sushi and I told her when keizeko (sp?) asks you what you dont like please say you like everything. she ended up loving everything he gave her but the baby octopus. Just thinking about Zo makes my mouth water.

              1. re: trojans

                Wow, $30 for omakase at Kiriko sounds fantastic. Is that for lunch? Will have to try it.

                Re: Zo. You ate $120.00 worth for LUNCH?!? LOL. You sure can pack it in! I admire that! : D I've never had cod fish milk (aka milt). What the heck is that? OMG, I just looked it up on wikipedia and it's fish/mollusk *SPERM*. I freaked out for a moment but realized that I've had fresh crab sperm and crab brain as well and both were yummy. Will most definitely ask for the milt next time I go.

                Glad to hear your wife loved everything the chef (don't know his name though he's quite a charming fellow) gave her! The last time I went my "I'm not really a sushi person" friend went w/ me hesitantly. I think Zo was somewhat of a religious experience for him as well b/c he was almost speechless the whole time we were there (as was I). Haha. Gotta love it.

                1. re: trojans

                  Oh phew-My $106 dinner doesn't sound so bad now. I too had the abalone and had seconds of the toro. When I took my husband there for Omakase, I requested no abalone. For two of us (stuffed) with three glasses of sake, the total was just under $200. A bit better.
                  I still can't figure out how to slow Keizo down. I made a concerted effort to wait at least 30 to 45 seconds to move retrieve the sushi but I still felt a bit rushed.
                  Toshi at Echigo gives you a crab roll to let you know he is finished. Does Keizo do the same? Usually I just ask for one so I'm not sure about the "ending". It seems that he will just keep serving until you say uncle.

                  I do remember when the fish was not precut at Echigo. I guess with success, a little had to give. It is still a great lunch deal though.
                  Is Kiriko still worth going for lunch if Ken is not at the helm?

                  1. re: zoomchic

                    ken is never at the helm but yes it is.

                    echigo is great for the lunch special, i wouldn't go for omakase.
                    save that for Zo.

                    i had a lunch there recently and stopped at what turned out to be 150 dollars, solo, no drinks. i could've kept going but i'm on a diet so i stopped. it was worth every moment

                    1. re: epop

                      Sounds like my kind of diet! ; )

                    2. re: zoomchic

                      I noticed that Zo usually finishes w/ a blue crab hand roll, but when I was at Echigo it came in the middle. To be fair, even though I didn't like Echigo's nigiri that much, the crab roll wasn't bad. Seaweed was nice and crispy. Yay. : )

                      I've only been to Zo twice but both times Keizo (is that his name?) asked us how many more we wanted and if we wanted a crab roll at the end. Excellent communication! I really like that man. Has a scary memory too, btw. I went once, then went back a month later and he remembered me AND the seat I sat in before. Scary... (but impressive!) Has anyone else had a similar experience?

                      1. re: emmaramma

                        Yes. I finally made it to Sushi Zo for the first time recently. I had last seen Keizo perhaps two years ago at Hide, where he used to work. I sat down and he greeted me by name. Yes, it is a bit scary - perhaps he has elephant blood.

                        1. re: omotosando

                          Or maybe he's a cyborg created by a mad foodie scientist. Haha. Two years though, that's pretty crazy. : )

              2. Sushi Ike and Sasabune are my favorites.

                Also good are Takumi and Sushi Gen -- both in Little Tokyo.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Thanks for your input! So many sushi joints, so few bills in my wallet. : P

                  Wow, my list has now grown to 7 solid-sounding choices. Thanks, everyone! : )

                2. Try Sushi Dokoro Ki Ra La - its on little Santa Monica just east of wilshire near the Budget rental car place. Yoshi owns the place and goes to the fish market at 3am to pick out selections for that day. He is honest to a fault and will let you know what fish he recommends. Everything I've had there from sushi to cooked dishes has always been excellent.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: js76wisco

                    Thanks for the suggestion! Just looked it up on citysearch and it sounds divine. I think I'll actually try this place first before doing the Mori, Kiriko, Urasawa, etc. lineup.

                    (Though truth be told, it may be a while before I complete all of them - Oh, the joys of being a full-time student... countered only by the void in my once professional life where disposable income used to have a home...)