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Boston chowhound seeks LA sushi

AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 07:46 AM

I'm going to LA to visit a friend in a few weeks and really want to try some great LA sushi. My friend lives in Pasadena, right outside LA and has a car so I don't think there are any restrictions on location. A friend here who considers himself a "sushi snob" (his words not mine) highly recommended Masu. Another friend from CA recommended sushi nozawa or sushi echigo. I'm hoping to keep the dinner less than $100 (not including drinks) so I'm not sure if sushi nozawa is out of this price range. Any suggestions? Would Masu be good for what I'm looking for? Thanks in advance!

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  1. j
    JBC RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 08:42 AM

    You'll never get a consenus on best Sushi for $100; however, the following on Sushi Zo might tickle your fancy since you'll probably not order as much:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/418716

    6 Replies
    1. re: JBC
      a
      aflores RE: JBC Jul 26, 2007 10:43 AM

      I like the spicy crispy tuna there...and the miso sea bass but the sushi I wasn't overly enthusiastic about.

      1. re: aflores
        r
        revets2 RE: aflores Jul 26, 2007 01:11 PM

        are you talking about spicy crispy tuna and miso sea bass at SUSHI ZO in culver city? are you sure? to my knowledge keizo only serves sushi and sashimi and the only thing i've ever had cooked was lightly cooked fish on top of sushi (butterfish, i think). or maybe because we only do omakase there, i've never really looked at the menu.

        1. re: revets2
          mollyomormon RE: revets2 Jul 26, 2007 01:23 PM

          You're right, revets. There's definitely no spicy crispy tuna on the menu at Sushi Zo nor any miso sea bass. Maybe alflores is talking about K-Zo?

          1. re: mollyomormon
            Servorg RE: mollyomormon Jul 26, 2007 01:24 PM

            You said it as I was thinking it mom. Undoubtedly K Zo

            1. re: Servorg
              r
              revets2 RE: Servorg Jul 26, 2007 01:38 PM

              molly...i think you're absolutely right. for the price, anjlm should eat at SUSHI ZO coming from boston. they should order á la carte or let keizo know their limit is $50 per person. they should also order the "live" sake.

              we also have friends who have extraordinary sushi taste who really enjoyed their omakase meal at echigo.

            2. re: mollyomormon
              a
              aflores RE: mollyomormon Jul 26, 2007 04:31 PM

              Yeah sorry!
              K-zo :)

      2. j
        jacinthe RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 09:20 AM

        If you don't want to venture too far from Pasadena, I've always had good omakase at Z Sushi, in Alhambra, just south of Huntington. I think a friend and I have gotten out of there for around $40/person. I haven't been there for over a year, though, so I don't know if things have changed a lot.

        Sushi Masu is very good also - I took a friend there for her birthday, and we got omakase, and that came out to just over $100, with 3 beers. I especially liked how our sushi chef (the younger of the two), took care in the presentation of the fish. We got an assortment of sushi and sashimi, and everything was very good. I don't know if it's worth the drive from Pasadena, though, especially since I haven't been to Sushi Zo or Kiriko or the other places mentioned on the board.

        10 Replies
        1. re: jacinthe
          SauceSupreme RE: jacinthe Jul 24, 2007 10:25 AM

          I second Z Sushi. Great place. I think it's a perfect neighborhood sushi joint. Not enough for me to want to drive from my end of LA, but if I'm in the Pasadena area, it's definitely on my radar.

          1. re: SauceSupreme
            r
            revets2 RE: SauceSupreme Jul 25, 2007 01:07 AM

            coming from the area we much prefer to drive to the valley, downtown, even the westside than eat at Z SUSHI. we think it's not even remarkable enough to scratch the itch. you can always let the chef know you have a $50 limit. lots of other good reccs being made here.

            1. re: revets2
              c
              calabasas_trafalgar RE: revets2 Jul 25, 2007 09:33 AM

              I would NEVER, EVER, go to the Westside or the Valley rather than eat at Z Sushi. Downtown, maybe.

              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                r
                revets2 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Jul 25, 2007 01:32 PM

                i think we know this about you CT. thanks for reminding us!

                1. re: revets2
                  c
                  calabasas_trafalgar RE: revets2 Jul 25, 2007 11:20 PM

                  no problem.

          2. re: jacinthe
            n
            ns1 RE: jacinthe Jul 25, 2007 05:29 PM

            I will 2nd Sushi Masu, my current fav (with Sushi Gen still on the waitlist...)

            It was 60 for omakase w/o tip 1 drink (me + gf). Best sushi experience ever, done by Masu himself.

            1. re: jacinthe
              m
              malisa RE: jacinthe Jul 26, 2007 05:09 PM

              We go to Z Sushi a lot. It's hit or miss regarding whether the sushi is fresh. My husband has a theory that the sushi is fresher on busier days like the weekend. The teriyaki chicken or beef is just americanized chinese stir-fry! and the tempura is not light/flaky/crunchy like it should be.

              1. re: malisa
                wilafur RE: malisa Jul 26, 2007 05:38 PM

                not sure how that theory is valid considering the wholesale fish markets are not open on weekends.

                1. re: malisa
                  barryc RE: malisa Jul 29, 2007 01:05 AM

                  if you stick with toshi's recommendations you're usually ok. but there have been times when toshi has told me that i wouldn't want to order a particular item that day - something that he might serve to someone with a less discerning palate - and i've ordered something else instead. also, if you let toshi know what day you plan on visiting, he'll make an effort to have your favorites on hand - especially if you favor some of the esoteric stuff that might otherwise go to waste because so few patrons will order it.

                  1. re: barryc
                    r
                    revets2 RE: barryc Jul 29, 2007 10:48 PM

                    we've returned a few times with open minds and always done omakase with toshi. we always leave disappointed. bear in mind, we're not looking for the temple of sushi, here. just looking for something to scratch the itch.

                    i find it disappointing that a sushi chef might have two standards in the quality of fish being served.

              2. d
                Diana RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 09:22 AM

                Also consider (but maybe over your price range):

                Asanebo in Studio City: better to me than Nozawa or Katsu ya.

                Sushi 4 on 6 in Encino.

                Ike Sushi in Tarzana

                Good and affordable compared to others: Sushi House of Taka on Van Nuys in Sherman Oaks.

                A more affordable Omakase is Tama in Sherman Oaks..but I had a super bad experience there with service. I seem in the minority, though.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Diana
                  liu RE: Diana Jul 25, 2007 09:49 AM

                  Diana -- I am responding to change one letter ("Ike" to "Iki") because I really like Sushi IKI in Tarzana, but I don't care for IKE Sushi in Hollywood (although there are many posters who do like the latter).

                  Sushi Iki
                  18663 Ventura Blvd.
                  Tarzana

                  Ike Sushi
                  6051 Hollywood Blvd.
                  Hollywood

                  1. re: liu
                    d
                    Diana RE: liu Jul 25, 2007 10:17 AM

                    You're right..Iki is the better one!

                2. westsidegal RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 10:36 AM

                  dinner for two less than $100 or $100 for each person?
                  before or after tax and tip?

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: westsidegal
                    AnjLM RE: westsidegal Jul 24, 2007 10:38 AM

                    $100 for 2 before tax and tip. I don't mind going a bit over $100 for good sushi, but I am a medical student so price is definitely a consideration.

                    1. re: AnjLM
                      mollyomormon RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 11:07 AM

                      I got out of Sushi Zo last week a la carte for $97 for two before tax and tip. We ordered until we were full and also shared a bottle of their live sake (which I think is $40) and a beer.

                      1. re: mollyomormon
                        westsidegal RE: mollyomormon Jul 25, 2007 07:19 AM

                        although i've done that on occasion too, i couldn't get near being full on that amount if i walked in really hungry to begin with.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          k
                          kevin RE: westsidegal Jul 25, 2007 10:22 AM

                          i was really disappointed the last time at zo, no caring and the fish just wasn't as good as at the other omakase places around town, the slice were super tiny too.

                          never again.

                          and they were also gauche enough not to have me try some of the yuzu smoothie.

                          oh, well, now there are much better places around town.

                          1. re: kevin
                            wilafur RE: kevin Jul 25, 2007 10:24 AM

                            what yuzu smoothie do you speak of? all i know is that they provide a chilled yuzu shot at the end of an omakase.

                            a yuzu smoothie...that sounds good.

                            1. re: kevin
                              westsidegal RE: kevin Jul 26, 2007 09:15 AM

                              i've never seen a yuzu smoothie there.
                              do they even have a blender in the place?
                              when did you see a smoothie?
                              what did it look like?
                              i've only been given yuzu juice when i've had omakase there.

                              1. re: westsidegal
                                liu RE: westsidegal Jul 26, 2007 12:29 PM

                                Zo's yuzu "juice" is, to me, more like an elixir or a nectar. It has perfect clarity -- that of a plum wine -- without the alcohol. It is almost like a reduced yuzu syrup.

                                Last year, I tried reducing some yuzu fruits with sugar and water, but I did not come close to Zo's. He told me he imported it from Japan and that it was not available in the States. Perhaps the next 'Hound to go to Japan will check this out????!

                                1. re: liu
                                  k
                                  kevin RE: liu Jul 26, 2007 04:28 PM

                                  so that means he doesn't make it himself?

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    liu RE: kevin Jul 26, 2007 07:47 PM

                                    Hi, kevin!
                                    The message he sent to my inquiry about where to purchase this divine nectar was that it was an imported product and that I could not obtain it in an Asian market. Since this was about a year ago -- just after he opened -- he may be doing something else at the present time.
                                    Perhaps you or anyone else could ask him and share his response.

                          2. re: mollyomormon
                            mollyomormon RE: mollyomormon Jul 25, 2007 11:31 AM

                            My bad, that was two glasses of sake, not a bottle. A bottle would have been way more expensive.

                          3. re: AnjLM
                            bodie RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 08:55 PM

                            Tama on Ventura Blvd. (btwn Radford & Colfax) is definitely the place to go.

                            The quality of the fish and the atristry of the chefs is top notch, plus you are about a 20 minute drive from Pasadena - barring a traffic disaster.

                            Try to reserve seats at the bar. Their menu offers 6 different omakase options (3 are sushi/3 are sashimi) - the most expensive of which is the $50 dollar option which works out perfectly for your budget.

                            Asanebo is great but you'd be hard pressed to come in at $50/ person at Asanebo without feeling famished and resentful of the pricing and portions.

                            -----
                            Tama Sushi
                            11920 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91604

                            1. re: bodie
                              AnjLM RE: bodie Jul 25, 2007 06:20 AM

                              Does Tama do mostly straightforward suhi/sashimi? or do they have some creative rolls as well? .

                              1. re: AnjLM
                                d
                                Diana RE: AnjLM Jul 25, 2007 06:37 AM

                                Ummmm..many here consider "creative rolls" not real LA sushi.
                                Tama omakase will be either all Nigiri/basic rolls or all sashimi, or a mix if you request. You ask the itame for come sort of creative roll, you will be labeled as sort of a "sushi newbie" (hey, I dig theme rolls now and again, when I'm in the mood. SOmetimes, you just want the junk food!)

                                If you want "Rock N' Rolls" or "Philadelphia Rolls" or "Sumo Rolls" or such thing, I highly reccomend you go to some place like Sushi Dan Rocking Sushi, which has a huge menu of giant themed rolls, as well as the basics. I find it gross, really, but they do focus on themed rolls.

                                1. re: Diana
                                  AnjLM RE: Diana Jul 25, 2007 07:10 AM

                                  Thanks for the advice...coming from Boston I guess I do consider myself somewhat of a "sushi newbie" which is why I'm excited to try it in LA. Basic rolls are perfectly fine with me. I just thought it would be good to have a mix of sushi and a few rolls which it sounds like I can request at Tama.

                                  1. re: AnjLM
                                    d
                                    Diana RE: AnjLM Jul 25, 2007 07:31 AM

                                    I'd say Tama is a really good choice.

                                    Also, think of trying Sushi House of Taka on Van Nuys in Sherman oaks

                                    I wouls sort of think about skipping omakase meals, and just go in and ask the itame what's really fresh.

                                  2. re: Diana
                                    c
                                    calabasas_trafalgar RE: Diana Jul 25, 2007 09:29 AM

                                    "real LA sushi" - now there's an oxymoron if i ever heard one!

                          4. Young K. RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 11:41 AM

                            How about sushi plus drinks for less than $100... Kabuki has two locations in Pasadena; the Hasting Ranch area on Foothill or in Old Town Pasadena on Colorado.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Young K.
                              d
                              Diana RE: Young K. Jul 24, 2007 11:44 AM

                              kabuki is just not up to par with the others reccomended. It's sort of cheap chain sushi.

                              1. re: Diana
                                s
                                spicychow RE: Diana Jul 25, 2007 08:14 PM

                                Kabuki would be my last pick for "great LA sushi". I'm sorry, but I had the worst sushi experience there.

                                1. re: spicychow
                                  c
                                  calabasas_trafalgar RE: spicychow Jul 25, 2007 11:20 PM

                                  As bad as it is, Kiku Sushi in Monrovia is even worse. When we were there we witnessed a chef putting frozen tuna IN THE MICROWAVE to defrost it. Unbelievable. We'll never go back!

                                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                    s
                                    spicychow RE: calabasas_trafalgar Jul 26, 2007 11:27 AM

                                    Wow, that's so bad it's hilarious. You're right, that is the worst I've heard!!

                            2. AnjLM RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 11:43 AM

                              Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Now I just need to choose one!

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: AnjLM
                                ipsedixit RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 12:24 PM

                                In the Pasadena are, try Toros (it's in Alhambra, just south of Pasadena).

                                -----
                                Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood
                                500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  c
                                  calabasas_trafalgar RE: ipsedixit Jul 24, 2007 03:28 PM

                                  what's this comparable to?

                                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                    ipsedixit RE: calabasas_trafalgar Jul 24, 2007 03:34 PM

                                    Very different from The Sushi.

                                    Similar to Z Sushi in Alhambra (by the In-N-Out), but in my opinion better. Not just nigri, but lots of rolls and semi-cooked dishes. Great desserts. Friendly service.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      2
                                      2ndAvenue RE: ipsedixit Jul 24, 2007 03:56 PM

                                      While places like Nozawa, Zo, and Hamasaku are excellent, in Los Angeles you can get very high quality sushi at less pricy establishments.

                                      Of these more affordable places, my personal favorite is Iwata in the mini-mall on Ventura and Van Nuys. High quality fish (local as well as flown in from overseas), very accomodating, good sushi, maki, and cooked dishes.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                    c
                                    calabasas_trafalgar RE: ipsedixit Jul 24, 2007 08:38 PM

                                    this is just down the street from Yama, no?

                                    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                      ipsedixit RE: calabasas_trafalgar Jul 24, 2007 09:10 PM

                                      Yup, right next to Triumphal Palace and the Edwards Theatre on the corner of Atlantic and Main.

                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                      c
                                      calabasas_trafalgar RE: ipsedixit Jul 28, 2007 07:51 PM

                                      Just tried it tonight and think it's fantastic. An added bonus, one of the chef's is Sam from the late,lamented Futami in Monrovia. Really liked the house special roll(tuna, yellowtail, and avocado)

                                      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                        ipsedixit RE: calabasas_trafalgar Jul 28, 2007 08:21 PM

                                        Good to hear you liked it.

                                        I'm 2 for 2 now. The Sushi and Toros.

                                        I think you owe me lunch ... LOL.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                        mr mouther RE: ipsedixit Aug 20, 2007 10:53 AM

                                        My girlfriend and I ended up at Toros on frisday night about 9:45pm after a movie. we were going to go to indo kitchen, but there was only one other table eating, and the hostess did not look pleased when we walked in at 9:20. I asked if they were still open, she said yes, and seated us. two minutes later she turned the open sogn off and locked the door. I didn't want to be rushed (i'ma very slow eater as it is) and i didnt want the kitchen waiting for me, so we left and decided to try indo later and toros now since it was open late.

                                        first, they have echigo beer, which is a big plus. This is a great beer that is super clean and bright. the chef (i didn't catch the name) said it was because of the ater used. He proceeded to tell us all sorts of stuff since the place was pretty slow, and was very gracious with attempting to create a meal that flowed nicely and made sense. He said that summer is better for whitefish and less fatty fish, which id didn't know but which makes sense and proceeded to serve us amazing mackeral and golden eye snapper and all sorts of great stuff. What even better is that he let the fish do the talking: no sauce on the mackeral. the golden eye had just lemon juice and cracked sea salt. he gave us A BUNCH of free dishes throughout the course of the night, and was a real pleasure to have recommending things and to chat with.

                                        I rarely eat sushi anymore because i dont think it is worth the money, but this chef was so friendly and the food was so clean and fresh that if i ever want sushi again, i will certainly return there, 1st choice.

                                        1. re: mr mouther
                                          c
                                          calabasas_trafalgar RE: mr mouther Aug 20, 2007 12:11 PM

                                          That sounds like Sam, the ex-Futami chef. I've never met another chef who cared so much about pleasing his customers.

                                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                            mr mouther RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 02:05 PM

                                            I had also never met a snother chef that was this friendly and served such great fish (and was honest about the difference between belly cuts and back cuts, and when he ran out of belly cuts)
                                            He seemed pretty young - around 40. Is that Sam's age?
                                            There was a very young chef (if he was over 20 i'd be suprised) helping out making the rolls and stuff like that, and an older chef waiting for more customers, who didn't come and who eventually left around 10:30 or so.

                                            1. re: mr mouther
                                              c
                                              calabasas_trafalgar RE: mr mouther Aug 20, 2007 03:53 PM

                                              I'm terrible with ages, but I would say Sam is close to 60.

                                              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                                ipsedixit RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 03:55 PM

                                                mr mouther, glad you enjoyed Toros.

                                                calabasas ... I don't think you're all that bad with ages.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  modernist RE: ipsedixit Aug 20, 2007 05:40 PM

                                                  is this in alhambra or near culver city by indo cafe?

                                                  1. re: modernist
                                                    ipsedixit RE: modernist Aug 20, 2007 05:43 PM

                                                    Alhambra.

                                                    SE corner of Main and Garfield, right next to the Edwards theater.

                                                    [P.S. there's an Indo Cafe in Alhambra as well, right off of Second Street near Main, I believe.]

                                                    -----
                                                    Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood
                                                    500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                      3. re: AnjLM
                                        Emme RE: AnjLM Jul 24, 2007 11:46 PM

                                        Will throw in a vote for Zo, as well as Echigo, esp for the lunch special if you're willing to change up eating times.

                                        Also, Sushi Ike in Hollywood at Gower.

                                        Tama is awesome as well, but you'll have to order carefully, unless of course as a med student you've accustomed yourself to eating lightly ;)

                                        1. re: Emme
                                          AnjLM RE: Emme Jul 25, 2007 06:02 AM

                                          What is the lunch special at Echigo? I tried to look online for it but only found their regular sushi menu. Anyone know how it compares to the lunch omakase at Kiriko?

                                          1. re: AnjLM
                                            s
                                            stangoldsmith RE: AnjLM Jul 25, 2007 07:17 AM

                                            shell out a few more bucks, slap it on your loans that you will easily repay and get thee to sushi sushi in beverly hills and sit at the bar and do what the chef tells you to (make reservation too)

                                            1. re: stangoldsmith
                                              k
                                              kevin RE: stangoldsmith Jul 25, 2007 10:24 AM

                                              never been to sushi sushi on beverly dr, but from what i hear it's the real deal.

                                              for some reason, it does seem to get many mentions on this here board.

                                              1. re: stangoldsmith
                                                AnjLM RE: stangoldsmith Jul 25, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                How much is a few more bucks? Would you suggest going there for lunch (which I'm guessing would be more budget friendly)?

                                                1. re: AnjLM
                                                  k
                                                  kevin RE: AnjLM Jul 25, 2007 11:53 AM

                                                  you can do sushi sushi for 50 bucks for lunch maybe 90-150 for dinner

                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    s
                                                    stangoldsmith RE: kevin Jul 25, 2007 04:33 PM

                                                    They do have a lunch special actually, I forget the price but I think it was under $40.

                                                    The best, if you can decide to throw it to the wind, is the chef's omakase, sit at the counter and he'll keep it coming, telling you about the dish, how to eat it, everything. But everything I've had at sushi sushi has been the best sushi I ever have had.

                                                2. re: stangoldsmith
                                                  modernist RE: stangoldsmith Jul 25, 2007 05:18 PM

                                                  echigo borderline makes me gag with their over vinegared near porridge like rice.

                                                  sushi sushi is indeed the real deal. and inexplicably uncrowded and rarely mentioned. i ate there at least once a week for a few months when i was working in the 'hood.

                                                  i can highly recommend their premiuim chirashi and premium sushi lunches which are 20 and 22 dollars each i think.

                                                  you also get more food than echigo, which is like 6 pieces of sushi with the fish sliced so thin its almost transparent.

                                                  unfortunately i had an incredibly rude waitress at sushi sushi on my birthday dinner a month ago... i need to vent to the owners.

                                          2. AnjLM RE: AnjLM Jul 26, 2007 07:03 AM

                                            Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I'm debating now between dinner at Sushi Masu or Tama or lunch at Sushi Sushi (although this will probably change in a few minutes as I scour these boards for sushi postings). I think I'll just have to extend my trip to LA, take out some more student loans, and try all the sushi I can!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: AnjLM
                                              modernist RE: AnjLM Jul 26, 2007 09:43 AM

                                              fyi, heres a long ass list of favorite food places in la.
                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/313050

                                              and heres a short write up of when i visited boston and cambridge
                                              http://modernistx.livejournal.com/200...

                                              1. re: modernist
                                                AnjLM RE: modernist Jul 26, 2007 10:52 AM

                                                wow! thanks for that list. I'll definitely take that with me to LA. Looks like you hit up some great spots in Boston/Cambridge as well, especially my favorite-Formaggio Kitchen!!

                                            2. a
                                              aflores RE: AnjLM Jul 26, 2007 10:49 AM

                                              Echigo is pretty good but a little on the expensive side. But the Toro and crab roll is awesome and my BF says he loves the monkfish liver there. Bill will likely be over $100 depending on what kind of sushi you like...

                                              If you're looking for the traditional sushi I would definately try Hide it's on sawtelle. They serve really big pieces for a really reasonable price. They do have a few rolls and sushi such as Amaebi and monkfish likver if that's what you like. You can definately eat til your full and spend less than $100 including drink.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: aflores
                                                westsidegal RE: aflores Jul 26, 2007 09:29 PM

                                                if you go to hide, be aware that they only take cash.
                                                as i recall, there is an atm machine in the restaurant in case you forget.

                                              2. lotta_cox RE: AnjLM Jul 26, 2007 01:06 PM

                                                run, don't walk, to sushi gen in little tokyo. the food there cannot be beat. the price will run you 100+ if you indulge in alcohol. if you are married to that price range including alcohol there is a hole in the wall restaurant a stone's throw away between sushi gen and the japanese american cultural center on 1st street. I cannot remember the name (although I have been there 3x in the last 6 weeks, there is a green neon fish sign above the door. Thechef is wonderful, the bill will be reasonable and the sea urchin and monkfish liver are fresher than fresh. the times i have been, we were the only non-asian people in the small restaurant. i love it, it is my holy grail.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: lotta_cox
                                                  modernist RE: lotta_cox Jul 26, 2007 01:56 PM

                                                  sushi gen is my go to place for sushi. it has a slightly hectic atmosphere because they are very busy due to their popularity. but this is well deserved in relation to their price to quality ratio, which is the best in la. make reservations ahead of time to avoid long waits. their sashimi dinner and lunch (at a table) is legendary in los angeles, and one of the best values for food in la period.

                                                  sushi zo and sushi sushi round out my top 3 for somewhat affordable sushi. of course you have nishimura and mori sushi and urasawa if you want to spend bigger bux...

                                                  i would totally avoid echigo. and i dont think sushi masu is really destination worthy, especially from pasadena, although its good for a neighborhood joint.

                                                  1. re: modernist
                                                    russkar RE: modernist Jul 26, 2007 07:50 PM

                                                    Modernist,
                                                    Have you ever done Dinner Omakase at Echigo? It doesn't seem so?
                                                    Just last Mon we visited Echigo after a year long layoff and were very pleased with the Omakase Toro, Fluke Fin and the best in LA Ankimo w/miso paste.
                                                    We were at Zo the week before which is one of many of our faves but Echigo was better on the dishes I described above. There is a tendency on the Board to think Echigo = Lunch Special which is really unfair. Toshi is an alumni of Sasabune and can make some pretty mean Sushi at the Bar. $39.95 base price. Half the price of Zo. Our fave is still Urasawa.

                                                    1. re: russkar
                                                      modernist RE: russkar Jul 27, 2007 10:19 AM

                                                      russ,

                                                      for me, the real deal breaker is the rice, which is what sushi is at its most fundamental... unless they employ a completely different technique in preparing the rice for dinner, i cant imagine ever wanting to go back.

                                                      the first time i went i thought there must have been some mistake with the batch of rice they used, and asked if it was intentional. the rice was, in my opinion, overcooked, and im not just complaining about the warm rice phenomenon, which is fine with me. but it was over vinegared and mushy.

                                                      1. re: modernist
                                                        russkar RE: modernist Jul 27, 2007 07:02 PM

                                                        The Rice at Echigo last week at night is similar to Sasabune, Nozawa and Wasabi. Not Mushy or Vinegary.
                                                        Not the same as the Lunch Special which is covered in Ponzu anyway.

                                                  2. re: lotta_cox
                                                    j
                                                    jacinthe RE: lotta_cox Jul 27, 2007 09:08 AM

                                                    Are you talking about Izayoi? It's on Central, between 1st and 2nd.

                                                    1. re: jacinthe
                                                      lotta_cox RE: jacinthe Aug 20, 2007 12:05 PM

                                                      no, i am talking about sharin on 1st. i have been again since writing this post.

                                                  3. m
                                                    Mr. Cookie RE: AnjLM Jul 26, 2007 05:34 PM

                                                    You've gotten a lot of good recommendations, let me just add a couple things:

                                                    1. You're coming to the right place in the U.S. for sushi, because L.A. has the best sushi in the country;

                                                    2. $50 per person is on the low side, altho, if you don't pig out like I usually do, it's probably doable. At most of the top sushi joints in the city -- Nozawa, Sushi Gen, R23, even Ike -- $100 a person for dinner is more like it. That's with a couple-three beers and your heart's content of sushi.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Mr. Cookie
                                                      k
                                                      kevin RE: Mr. Cookie Jul 26, 2007 09:23 PM

                                                      you can easily do 75 per for one of the omakase parlors around town.

                                                      1. re: Mr. Cookie
                                                        r
                                                        revets2 RE: Mr. Cookie Jul 26, 2007 11:38 PM

                                                        we spend adequate time in NYC and believe it rivals LA. i also think the non-sushi japanese restaurants there are very good.

                                                        1. re: revets2
                                                          Porthos RE: revets2 Jul 29, 2007 12:06 PM

                                                          Agree with you 100% revets. Everytime I fly out to Yasuda, there's usually another faithful who's flown in from LA or some other part of the country to indluge. I've even sat next to a former customer who flew in from Italy.

                                                          LA may have the best sushi on average and even in the moderate-high end range as a whole. But for the best-of-the-best price be damned traditional sushi, my vote goes to NYC. Surprisingly, prior to Mori and now Sushi Zo, there was no one close.

                                                          1. re: Porthos
                                                            r
                                                            revets2 RE: Porthos Jul 29, 2007 10:51 PM

                                                            i really like YASUDA and am always wowed by the breadth and quality of his fish.

                                                            not a huge MORI fan. i just can't get into it.

                                                      2. sushiordeath RE: AnjLM Jul 27, 2007 03:48 AM

                                                        Mmmmm. I envy you going to LA for sushi. Just spent a month there trying out as many places as I could. A lot of them recommended here already. My favorite five of the ones we went to were:

                                                        1) Asanebo - Studio City. Expensive, but fantastico!!!!
                                                        2) Sushi Gen - Little Tokyo. The real deal. Amazing food.
                                                        3) Sen Nari Sushi - Gardena. Also very proper Japanese.
                                                        4) Ike Sushi - Hollywood. Down to earth, "piss off if you want modern rolls" kind of place.
                                                        5) Sushi Go 55 - Little Tokyo. Very Japanese too.

                                                        Not sure if your budget will hold either. Sushi in LA is expensive. But gooood.
                                                        Reviews and pictures of the mentioned five and others not so good ones here:
                                                        http://www.sushiordeath.com/nama/revi...

                                                        1. simplicitea RE: AnjLM Jul 27, 2007 10:37 AM

                                                          i'd recommend Noshi Sushi. you won't go near $100, it's so cheap. it has really decent prices and great quality fish. it has an authentic japanese feel with a diverse clientele. and it's been around for years. and their wasabi is excellent.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: simplicitea
                                                            k
                                                            kevin RE: simplicitea Jul 27, 2007 11:16 AM

                                                            i forget is that the one on beverly, a little west of vermont?

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              simplicitea RE: kevin Jul 27, 2007 11:59 AM

                                                              yup. between western and normandie.

                                                          2. j
                                                            Jerome RE: AnjLM Jul 27, 2007 06:08 PM

                                                            The best sushi in southern california (outside urusawa which is a different beast - not reallysushi , more art) is in orange county - costa mesa, Shibucho. They are small, no spicy anything - traditional (the fish is fresh why mess it up) and they know what they are doing. And they are reasonable.

                                                            for me, they are the standard. If a place doesn't know how to make battera or never has hoya, they are lame.

                                                            BUT a new place just opened, they have great sushi, they are a bit more expensive than i'd like and they can make battera.
                                                            nami sushi, in the mall at the northeast corner of Moorpark and Van Nuys blvd - storefront on the furthest east side.

                                                            This is from someone who thinks that Sasabune and Echigo are a big mess of nothing. Give Nami a try. And go before they start catering to strongly to the local clientele that wants spicy mayonnaise on everything.

                                                            Sushi Shibucho, 590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                                                            for Nami - no address online yet - went yesterday and SO IMPRESSED....

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: Jerome
                                                              k
                                                              kevin RE: Jerome Jul 27, 2007 06:12 PM

                                                              hey jerome,

                                                              are you the someone that doesn't like sasabune and echigo?

                                                              also, most sushi bars to my knowledge don't serve battera, and that includes nozawa/echigo/sasabune/wasabe/ and the list goes on.

                                                              can you describe nami sushi a little more?

                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                ipsedixit RE: kevin Jul 27, 2007 10:35 PM

                                                                Actually, alot of sushi bars will make you battera sushi if you ask for it. I know Ike will, as will R23 upon request. Z Sushi also offers it I think.

                                                                I prefer nigri myself.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  AnjLM RE: ipsedixit Jul 28, 2007 09:16 AM

                                                                  What is battera sushi?

                                                                  1. re: AnjLM
                                                                    b
                                                                    bulavinaka RE: AnjLM Jul 28, 2007 10:49 AM

                                                                    The finished product looks kinda like an assembly line version of nigiri. The rice is pressed into a rectangular mold that is slightly smaller than a typical ice cube tray but with a matching lid. The ingredients are placed on top of the rice, the lid is pressed on top and then the whole block of sushi is taken out of the mold to be cut into approx 1-inch slices.

                                                                    I personally like this form of sushi and feel there are certain ingredients that lend themselves to this style, especially saba or tamago. I think maybe some frown on it because it seems to be a more colloquial or homey in its preparation. Just the same, it is a form of sushi that most Japanese enjoy.

                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                      d
                                                                      Diana RE: bulavinaka Jul 28, 2007 06:52 PM

                                                                      I love my battera with unagi. There's a pace in Oxnard that does divine battera. I think it's called Masu..not sure. I always forget!

                                                              2. re: Jerome
                                                                Debbie W RE: Jerome Jul 28, 2007 11:21 AM

                                                                Interesting to have your opinion, Jerome, about Nami. (It replaced Kyoto which replaced Genmai, right by Pineapple Hill and Mogo's, for those locals here who may not be exactly sure about the location.) I peered in a week or two ago but they weren't open at the time and no menus were posted outside. When you say a bit more expensive than you'd like, can you be more specific? That's a big space and a big sushi bar. What did you have there?

                                                                1. re: Debbie W
                                                                  j
                                                                  Jerome RE: Debbie W Jul 28, 2007 04:59 PM

                                                                  I'm not crazy about Sasabune - I feel that their "omakase" is just their sushi selection served one piece at a time. no seasonal shifts- nothing special.
                                                                  echigo lunch is a good value - i don't like warm rice so it's not for me. And I don't think it's worth a trip across town.
                                                                  As for Nami - the battera was $15. The futomaki selections were about $10. The set meals were $13-17 or so - lunch has bento -= dinner has some specials. The bar was well stocked, everything seemed fresh - umeboshi paste for those who like it with the cucumber, and they weren't pushing "spicy" anything which is a good sign.

                                                                2. re: Jerome
                                                                  SauceSupreme RE: Jerome Jul 28, 2007 01:37 PM

                                                                  I like Sushi Shibucho a lot, and Chef Shibutani-san has the best knife skills I've seen of any itamae.

                                                                3. z
                                                                  zack RE: AnjLM Jul 28, 2007 09:33 AM

                                                                  if you want to keep it under $100, rule out sasabune. dinner for 2, no alcohol, last night came out to $200! sat right in front of chef nobi and had a wonderful variety of sashimi/sushi. that said though, overpriced imho relative to other top places not called urasawa.

                                                                  1. J.L. RE: AnjLM Jul 28, 2007 09:36 PM

                                                                    My advice:
                                                                    1. Sushi days of the week I prefer: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday.
                                                                    2. Echigo? More like Echi-DON'T-go.
                                                                    3. Sasabune has become a lower quality fish factory, now that it's been "supersized".
                                                                    4. Masu can be hit-or-miss.
                                                                    5. Probably out of your price restriction (BUT you should try them): Sushi Zo, Kiriko, Nishimura, R-23, and the Holy Grail of LA sushi - Urasawa.
                                                                    6. Self-proclaimed sushi snobs in Southern California must try Urasawa at least once before anointing themselves as such..... hehehe

                                                                    That having been said, try Yuzando (a new player in town, on Sawtelle) or Sushi Go 55 in J-town (AKA Little Tokyo) - you guys will love either one. Google them. Note: at Yuzando you can order sushi by single piece (ergo, you can cut down on costs)...

                                                                    1. lizzy69 RE: AnjLM Jul 29, 2007 11:03 PM

                                                                      I lived on "Sushi Row" in Studio City in the San Fernando Valley (yes, it's L.A.) for 8 years, and I can tell you that the best sushi in the world is at Katsu-Ya in Studio City (NOT to be confused with Katsu Sushi, also in Studio City). I think the Zagat survey rated it the # 2 restaurant in all of L.A. last year. It opens at 5:30, get there at 5:00 and wait by the door! Order the crispy rice with spicy tuna and you will be in heaven. Please think of me when you're there, as I live in Iowa now...enough said.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lizzy69
                                                                        r
                                                                        revets2 RE: lizzy69 Jul 29, 2007 11:25 PM

                                                                        that must have been a while ago as KATSU has been TAMA SUSHI for some time now. note that KATSU-YA is not very traditional, if that's what you're looking for. there is also another branch in encino.

                                                                        he and his partners, who include Phillipe Starck and Sam Nazarian, have also opened KATSU-YA in brentwood and are also opening branches in hollywood, downtown and miami. that being said, katsuya-san is not around very much in studio city these days.

                                                                        move, and you'll find...things change.

                                                                        1. re: lizzy69
                                                                          d
                                                                          djblisk RE: lizzy69 Jul 30, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                                          if you think Katsu-Ya has the best sushi in the world. You are highly mistaken.

                                                                          1. re: djblisk
                                                                            d
                                                                            Diana RE: djblisk Jul 30, 2007 11:17 AM

                                                                            I agree. I find Katsu ya better than a lot, but far below the best.

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