Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 14, 2007 07:44 PM

How To Ease Into Sushi?

I love great food but I just haven't had much exposure to sushi, despite living in Los Angeles, where the average person eats about 12 pounds of sushi a week. I literally live minutes from Little Tokyo, but I have been totally overwhelmed and confused by my ventures into sushism so far. I love a good spicy tuna roll, but I know there's so much more. Does anyone have any tips? Perhaps suggestions about what the next level of sushi might hold for me (without getting into the REALLY adventurous stuff)?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Since you live so close to so many great places, with such great range of fresh items, what I would suggest is this: pick a place you have the recommndation, of friends, trusted associates, or even chow here, try to go on a *non-prime* time, so attention can be on you and slow, and ask the sushi chef to guide you. Tell him what you liked about what you have tried so far, what you hope to gain as experience and what you "fear". A good chef, will be delighted to help you explore the world he lives in, and move forward as he sees what you enjoy.

    1. If you can afford it try finding a restaurant that offers omakase. Usually there is a set price or price ranges. The sushi chef will guide your meal, not only the sushi and sashimi parts but cooked items interspersed through out. A good chef will ask about preferences or things you want to try.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sweetie

        I second this. Omakase is a great way to try lots of different things that you otherwise might not order. I owe my love for uni, ankimo and ikura to omakase!

        1. re: hrhboo

          I am also new to sushi and rolls. A new place opened up nearby and so far all I tried was the spicy crunch roll and shrimp rolls. I would like to venture out in other places and try new things. Thanks for the tips so far

          1. re: hrhboo

            Omakase seems it'd be the second step for the OP. Since they want to ease in and not get to the really adventurous stuff right away, seems like it would make more sense to go to things like yellowtail, salmon and perhaps scallop. The textures are fairly familiar and the flavors pretty straightforward. Once you find something you like, ask for something else similar. Personally, I wouldn't want to lay out the bucks for a good omakase only to end up not liking many of the dishes.

            1. re: hrhboo

              As much as an omakase can be an amazing experience, I don't think being served uni sashimi is the best way to begin one's venture into the world of sushi. I don't want him to be turned off by having something many would consider great, but perhaps may be an acquired taste. Go slow, somewhere with very fresh fish (i.e.- usually busy) and ask for some popular dishes. Most Japanese/ sushi places have small portions, so it's easy to try many, small things. Always ask for recommendations, from the chef or the server.

          2. I agree with the other posters.

            One other thing I love to order at sushi restaurants is Chirashi, which is where they just pile different types of raw fish on top of rice or daikon. The slices of fish are big and although that might be a little bit intimidating, if you are open to it, it's a great way to really taste the fish by itself so that you can decide which types you really like.

            If you're looking for just what types of fish you might venture to next I would recommend trying salmon, yellowtail (which I think technically is tuna), crab stick, tamago (egg) and eel -- although with eel be careful, some places leave the little bones in.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Adrienne

              Yellowtail is not tuna... it is snapper. You are probably thinking of Yellowfin tuna.

              1. re: lianas

                There are specimens of snapper, flounder and many other fish that have yellowtail as a part of their name. Hamachi (which is what we're all referring to, I think) is most often yellowtail amberjack which is very similar to tuna as its a migratory fish but is not directly related to tunas or snappers.

            2. If you are near Little Tokyo, I would suggest heading to Sushi Komasa or R23 or Takumi.

              Sit at the bar. Don't have to necessarily go omakase, but just sit and ask the chef what's good that day and take it one order at a time, each time asking about the dish, how it's prepared, and what makes it special.

              Be as adventurous as you want, or play it safe. Just remember, to enjoy your time and eat only what you like. Life is too short for anything else.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                California rolls, tuna, salmon, yellow tail are all very easy fish for beginners to handle. Not fishy tasting and not chewy at all. One of my all time favorites is white tuna which is just like tuna but much much richer. ymmmm. Eel could be a bit of a gamble, its cooked and has a sauce on it but its usually hit or miss. Either you love it or you hate it. I'm not a big fan but my brother can't get enough of it (even though I did enjoy a piece of eel this weekend down in Miami). Also, you can try spicy tuna/salmon or shrimp/softshell crab tempura rolls which are cooked but delicious.

                1. re: FoodDude2

                  Salmon is very "fishy tasting" and I know Japanese people who will not touch it. It's a fresh water fish and shouldn't be eaten raw- I know people do and love it, but I won't.

              2. I would recommend that you try regular raw tuna nigiri, or a tekka maki, and compare the two (ie raw tuna vs with spicy sauce/spicy tuna) and see how you like it to start.
                Then perhaps chu toro or otoro.

                Then hamachi, salmon, perhaps a white fish, albacore (specify albacore, because white tuna at Korean run sushi places places might yield the escolar = instant diarrhea for some) unagi, ebi (cooked shrimp) as some have already suggested. Try the basics see if you like it. One increment at a time :-)