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Traditional Nigiri in L.A. (not for the fashionable crowd)

otoro_chow Jul 19, 2007 03:57 AM

If you are looking for ambience, five star service, and fancy sushi rolls, please look elsewhere. A thread for sushi purist whom truly enjoy no-frills nigiri and perceives their first piece of nigiri as sentient as the very last one. Dedicate to those whom are brave enough to leave their wasabi dousing at the helms of the master chef, instead of their soysauce dish.

Here are my personal favorites (in no particular order),

-- Hide Sushi --------------------------------------------
- Otoro sushi (ask for expensive "top" cut)
- Amaebi sushi
- Aji sushi
- Ankimo sushi
- Mirugai sushi
- Hamachi sushi (hit and miss, depends on who is cutting it)
- Hotate special

-- Noshi Sushi --------------------------------------------
- Otoro sushi (when available)
- Engawa sushi
- Aji sushi
- Mirugai sushi (one of the best and cheapest in town)
- Hamachi belly
- Spicy tuna cut
- Spicy Hamachi cut

-- Hirozen --------------------------------------------
- Kinme sushi
- Sayori sushi
- Amaebi (domestic)

-------------- My dislikes --------------
- Kiyosuzu (arcadia)
- Ton-Ten-Ke (sgv)
- Sushi 5 (tustin)

From one sushi enthusisast to another, I am eager to hear your recommendations. Where are some local places that offer suzukis, akagais, or kohada sushis? What are some of your personal favorites?

  1. s
    Sgee Jun 26, 2008 09:49 PM

    Tops on my list for traditional sushi is Shibucho in OC.
    - Clasically sized and shaped nigiri.
    - Only place I've seen futomaki for takeout wrapped carefully in ti leaves with instructions to the customer to absolutely not refrigerate. Come to think of it, only sushi bar I've seen diners ordering futomaki.
    - Fish carcasses used for soup
    - Cures some fish with Konbu
    - Turned away suburban soccer mom in search of california roll for takeout.
    - Offered me shirako he had been curing to try the first time I was there.
    - They only serve sushi with fresh wasabi and no surcharge.
    - Austere and simple, definitely not for the trendy.
    - Amazingly prices are very reasonable

    Downside, unless you're Japanese you will likely have a better experience once he gets to know you.

    As reference for my sushi cred. locally some places I've dined in Hump, Zo, Mori, Nozawa, Tama, Ike, Sushi Gen, Echigo, Kiriko, Shibuya, Kanpachi, Senari, Matsuhisa, Kappo Seafood

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sgee
      kevin Jun 27, 2008 09:21 PM

      where's kappo seafood? thanks.

      1. re: kevin
        Sgee Jun 27, 2008 11:49 PM

        Located in Torrance, here's the link to their site.

        1. re: kevin
          Sgee Jun 27, 2008 11:53 PM

          Torrance, here's the link and website

          Kappo Seafood
          1757 W Carson St Ste S, Torrance, CA 90501

      2. m
        marisabeast Jul 23, 2007 05:26 PM

        Sushi King in Santa Monica is great sushi with no frills as well. It's one of the restaurants I miss the most about moving to Pasadena.

        4 Replies
        1. re: marisabeast
          calabasas_trafalgar Jul 24, 2007 11:01 AM

          so where do you go now?

          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
            faymao Jul 25, 2007 02:01 PM

            hey CT, still hoping you will divulge where THE SUSHI is located to a CH newbie :)

            1. re: faymao
              calabasas_trafalgar Jul 25, 2007 04:26 PM

              see payorplay's post above

          2. re: marisabeast
            westsidegal Jun 26, 2008 10:35 PM

            i definitely wouldn't call it 'great' sushi.
            it is somewhat better than the daisuke kaiten sushi place in the olympic collection, but not even close to the quality of hide.

          3. f
            FDawson Jul 22, 2007 03:33 PM

            If you want real authentic nigiri in Los Angeles, the only place to go is Kappa Ishito. Low on atmosphere, high on taste and tradition. I'll let you find it. Best fish I ever had outside of Osaka.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FDawson
              kevin Jun 27, 2008 09:20 PM

              But it's not really a sushi bar. It is good, and very traditional too boot.

            2. u
              UnbrokenHope Jul 22, 2007 10:07 AM

              My personal favorite is Otom (おとむ). (Which my mother affectionately calls "Sushi-ya" because the sign that says sushi-ya is bigger than the one that says Otom XD)

              3936 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City

              Definitely has great amaebi and albacore. They also have an interesting deal where for $35 dollars you can eat as much sushi as you want for an hour, which always turns out to be worth it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: UnbrokenHope
                Foodandwine Jul 22, 2007 03:20 PM

                And they dont watch the clock so closely too. Not bad for the price..

                1. re: UnbrokenHope
                  westsidegal Jun 27, 2008 11:39 PM

                  when the place first opened, it's name was 'sushi ya.'
                  then, i believe it was sold and the new name, otom, appeared.

                2. yinyangdi Jul 20, 2007 09:18 PM

                  I've had excellent "no-frills nigiri" at many sushi-ya that many (myself included) would consider, ahem, trendy. My favs, in alpha, not preferential, order, are:

                  Mako (at Weller Court)
                  Shibucho (on Beverly)
                  Sushi Gen

                  Also, fwiw, some of the worst sushi I've ever eaten was at Noshi.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yinyangdi
                    calabasas_trafalgar Jul 21, 2007 03:49 PM

                    i WOULDN'T GO BACK TO THE hUMP IF IT WAS FREE...

                  2. c
                    calabasas_trafalgar Jul 20, 2007 04:30 PM

                    Z Sushi
                    Little Tokyo
                    Sushi Gen
                    The Sushi

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                      ipsedixit Jul 20, 2007 04:38 PM

                      Doh! You're going to ruin it for the rest of SGV folks if you keep posting about "The Sushi"!

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        stangoldsmith Jul 20, 2007 05:37 PM

                        The purist will not be disappointed at Sushi Sushi in Beverly Hills. It's the best I've ever had.

                        1. re: stangoldsmith
                          amoretignis Jul 20, 2007 06:13 PM

                          I second that. Hands down the best purist sushi restaurant I've had to date.

                          1. re: amoretignis
                            barryc Jul 1, 2008 01:46 AM

                            i concur. unfortunately, the non-purists don't recognize themselves as such.

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          calabasas_trafalgar Jul 23, 2007 04:00 PM

                          sorry! I'll be quiet.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            kevin Jun 27, 2008 09:19 PM

                            where's The Sushi? in the SGV? Never heard of it.

                            Out with it, now that the cat is out of the bag.


                          2. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                            faymao Jul 20, 2007 06:08 PM

                            where is The Sushi located? love to find a good sushi place nearby

                            1. re: faymao
                              PayOrPlay Jul 25, 2007 03:20 PM

                              Temple CIty? (See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/80150... )

                          3. r
                            revets2 Jul 20, 2007 03:29 PM

                            SUSHI GEN

                            1. n
                              nimo Jul 20, 2007 10:31 AM

                              Ike in Hollywood and 4 on 6 in Encino both serve extremely fresh fish, and their owner/chefs (Ike and Saito respectively) are pure traditionalists.

                              1. ipsedixit Jul 20, 2007 09:59 AM

                                In no particular order:




                                Ike Sushi
                                6051 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                Takumi Sushi Restaurant
                                333 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                Restaurant Komasa
                                351 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  rameniac Jul 20, 2007 02:00 PM

                                  komasa's goodly priced, pretty quality, and a great deal, but they never have toro. i tend to like hama (2 doors down from komasa) even though it's a few bucks more...

                                  1. re: rameniac
                                    ipsedixit Jul 20, 2007 03:05 PM


                                    But then the world does not revolved around toro. :-)

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      ClaudeTheDog Jun 26, 2008 07:16 PM

                                      Komasa is ranks on my top list of sushi places to eat in little tokyo.
                                      Great deals and good food. Their spicy tuna rolls are good too. They use chunks of tuna instead of the blended mashed up stuff that most garbage places use. Also in their sushi sets they give you the sweet shrimp instead of that garbage shrimp.

                                2. d
                                  Diana Jul 20, 2007 08:00 AM

                                  Asanebo is always my tops, followed by 4 on 6. Of course, they are both scarily close to me.

                                  1. SauceSupreme Jul 19, 2007 09:11 AM

                                    Why would you assume that traditional sushi provides poor ambiance? There's something intrinsically beautiful about many sushi shop's austerity and simplicity.

                                    I've enjoyed kohada at Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa, as well as the mackerel (both Japanese and Spanish).

                                    Hirozen serves great kinme, as does Z Sushi in Alhambra.

                                    Sushi Ike is my favorite for toro.

                                    Sushi Zo is my favorite for ankimo.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: SauceSupreme
                                      silverlakebodhisattva Jul 19, 2007 09:47 AM

                                      Shibucho; (both the O.C. one, where they have kohada regularly, and the one on Beverly, though with substantially different pricing);
                                      Saito on Sunset in Silverlake/E. Hollywood;
                                      Sushi Gen downtown.

                                      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva
                                        cls Jul 24, 2007 06:04 PM

                                        Had a rather odd experience at Saito's for lunch. Although he was happy to serve me, he almost kicked out a guy who sat next to me and only ordered a salmon skin roll. He worked VERY fast and left a couple of scales on tuna, a bone in mackarel, and cut snapper sashimi poorly leaving some sinewy red meat in about half of the cuts. The room was austere but plain and bordered on dirty not like Nishimura which is austere and relaxing.
                                        I wanted to like it but think the best bet close to Silverlake is downtown.

                                        1. re: cls
                                          wilafur Jul 24, 2007 06:05 PM

                                          scales, bone, sinew and poorly cut fish? that is simply unacceptable.

                                          1. re: wilafur
                                            silverlakebodhisattva Jul 25, 2007 03:10 PM

                                            Astonishing and disappointing to hear, though I guess everyone has an off night once in a while. I'd always found Saito very accomodating, and his place spotless, though VERY basic in its decor, in a cofee-shop kind of way.

                                      2. re: otoro_chow
                                        Servorg Jul 20, 2007 04:25 AM

                                        Have you tried Sushi Zo? On National just north of the 10 Frwy.

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          MeowMixx Jul 23, 2007 02:31 PM

                                          I second Zo: I love the ankimo, kanpachi, uni, aji, shima aji and hamachi

                                          1. re: MeowMixx
                                            westsidegal Jul 25, 2007 03:02 PM

                                            i third sushi zo

                                        2. re: SauceSupreme
                                          westsidegal Jun 27, 2008 11:38 PM

                                          must completely concur with you about the ankimo at sushi zo. i've tried it at about 10 other sushi bars, and nobody else comes close.

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