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

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?

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  1. 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

      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

        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

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

          1. re: wilafur

            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

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

        1. re: Servorg

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

        2. re: SauceSupreme

          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.

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

          1. 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

              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


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

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  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. 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. Z Sushi
                  Little Tokyo
                  Sushi Gen
                  The Sushi

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

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

                    1. re: ipsedixit

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

                      1. re: stangoldsmith

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

                        1. re: amoretignis

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

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          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

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

                        3. 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

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

                          2. 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

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

                              1. re: UnbrokenHope

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

                              2. 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

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

                                2. 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: calabasas_trafalgar

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

                                    2. re: marisabeast

                                      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. 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

                                        where's kappo seafood? thanks.

                                        1. re: kevin

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

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            Torrance, here's the link and website

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