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Affordable omakase

So I'm fully aware of the hundreds of sushi posts here, I've combed through most of them, my head is now spinning. What I'm asking from all you 'hounders is for something specific. My friend is moving, and I'm taking him to dinner this Thursday. He was the first person in LA to truly introduce me to REAL sushi (not just California rolls), and I want to toast our friendship by treating him to a good omakase.

- I've got a budget of $100 (give or take), to include a couple glasses of sake or Sapporos. Ratio of sushi awesomeness to price will be highly taken into consideration.

- I'd rather it be an omakase or sushi, sashimi and the like. Would rather not see plates of teriyaki mixed into my orgy of fish. Unless of course, those izakaya-like plates just blow me out of the water.

- SFV, OC and South Bay are out.

- I've never done omakase before, so any place where the chefs will yell at me or blow me off because I'm a newbie, I'd rather save for another day when I'm feeling slightly masochistic.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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  1. suzhi zo. should be able to have a beer or 2 with the omakase for a bit over $100.

    6 Replies
    1. re: wilafur

      For two people with drinks $100 omakase will be difficult at Zo I think.

      1. re: Servorg

        doh. i should read vs scan. i was under the impression the OP's budget was $100pp.

        that being said, the OP may want to check out hide....cash only though.

        1. re: wilafur

          even at hide, an 'orgy of fish' is likely to run more than $50/per person including beverage and tip.

          1. re: westsidegal

            i'm a big eater and am able to get out of hide for +/- $55 with a beer.

            i applaud your voraciousness.

      2. re: wilafur

        gotta disagree
        i have omakase at sushi zo weekly.
        i intentionally limit myself so that the tab won't get prohibitive.

        even so, for two, with NO beverages, it's very hard to come in at that number. once you add tip and tax, i've NEVER been able to have an omakase for $50/person or less.

        one CAN, however, with careful ordering order from the menu and come in at $50/pp including beverage and tip.

        (maybe if you stop at taco plus (next door) and have a quesadilla before or after, you can get out of zo for a $50 omakase)

        most of the folks on this board report omakase at zo runs ~$75/pp or more BEFORE tip and beverage.

        1. re: westsidegal

          as mentioned above, i thought the OP's budget was $100pp. =)

      3. if you reconsider your refusal to go to the southbay,
        you can get an omakase at sushi ken on hawthorne blvd for an amount within your budget.
        still, at your price, it won't be an 'orgy of fish.'

        1. Not exactly sushi—they do great sashimi—but if you want to return the favor and (maybe) introduce him to great "home-style" japanese food why not try Wakasan on Westwood? Omakase (the only way to go) is about $35pp. That should leave plenty for sake or maybe some Sho-chu!

          1. I'm an avid omakase fan (Nozawa, Sasabune, Hiko, etc.). We had an exceptional and reasonable omakase dinner at Echigo in West L.A., I think around $40pp before sake.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jflo

              Respectfully disagree. Echi-don't-go.

              1. TinyNancer, hello!
                I think you would do quite well at Azami: two female sushi chefs/owners. They are very friendly, and when permitted to "perform," they will do very well -- with a little applause and appreciation.
                It is important, I think, to call ahead and tell them exactly what you have in mind: anything you don't like, budget, your preferences. Then, let them serve you.

                It's a very casual bar and vibe, but that said, this means that you are not paying for elaborate decor. I think they will work hard to please you. I also think they will honor a bar reservation -- if you request this ahead.

                This is also a fun place to walk -- before or aft.

                Azami Sushi
                7160 Melrose (cross:Formosa Avenue)
                #323. 939-3816
                _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

                I think you could also do well for $100 or less (and probably less) at U-Zen in West LA.

                11951 Santa Monica Blvd.

                1. If you're doing it lunch, two omakase specials come to mind -- Kiriko on Sawtelle and Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa. Both are available for ~$40/pp.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    be careful at kiriko if money is an issue.
                    they don't always tell you when what you order something that exceeds the fixed omakase menu.
                    several times i went there for lunch and the omakase tab was significantly higher than the price that is shown on the menu. maybe the homemade ice cream was what drove it up? maybe we had too many pieces of sushi? in any case, we were not told when we went into the 'extra-money territory.'

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      yes, whatever you order goes beyond the omakase. it has gotten confused since
                      they changed the special not to include that great ice cream.

                      i still think this lunch + echigo's are the best place to go for a deal. also Nozawa. Zo i adore but i have had $200 lunches there (solo).

                    2. re: SauceSupreme

                      +1 for Sushi Shibucho (Costa Mesa, OC). I know you said you don't want OC, but if you're running out of ideas, this one is perfect in every other way you need.

                      It's true Omakase, arguably some of THE best sushi in Orange County, and if you get in at Lunch, it's only $25 / person! (Yes it's one of the best deals in town :)

                    3. If you change your mind about the Valley, Tama Sushi in Studio City has an excellent omakase for $40/pp (w/ tax, tip & drinks you would come in not much over the $50 pp budget). They also offer a $30 omakase, but I think you'd be more satisfied w/ the $40 one. Very comfortable place, good fresh fish.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: archer

                        Hmm I've heard about Tama before. Studio City isn't really too far. I guess SFV was too broad. North Hollywood and that area is OK with me, just not the west part: Encino, Tarzana, etc. No aversions to the area, just hard to get to on a weeknight.

                        1. re: archer

                          I agree with Tama except for...only do the Omakase if you're sitting at the bar, preferably in any of the middle four seats in front of Katsu himself. Otherwise, it's a crapshoot. You might want to ask if they have the scallop and Toro before you start, because if they don't, you may as well go for the $30 omakase there. If they have the premium fish, then the $40 version is worth it (they may have switched to $35 and $45, btw).

                          I also think Sushi Ike, on Gower at Hollywood, is worth a try for the Omakase. We just went there this past weekend and though we didn't quite do an Omakase, we did ask for lots of recommendations and were very pleased with the prices and quality of fish. Their sake selection is not good compared to Tama's, but that doesn't bother me since I'm not such a sake gal.

                          1. re: archer

                            Second this, the $40 omakase is great

                          2. Hey.
                            Be careful. Some places with "budget omakase" aren't really giving you omakase. They are basically serving you a piece by piece "Sushi Special" - a set of one fish after another -seasonality not an issue, and it's always the same.
                            I don't know where you are. I would call shibucho on beverly the day before, speak to shige, tell him you'd like to come in the next day for omakase and what your budget is. If he can accomodate you, he'll let you know.

                            In general, calling a good place in advance, letting them kinow your budget, and allowing them to work within it, will provide you with a good experience.

                            The other option might be to go to Izayoi, getting a few pieces of sushi and then going izakaya. I'd call and see if setting at the bar would allow for an omakase type of evening within your budget.

                            1. Sushi Masu... I took a friend there for her birthday, and got out at just over $100 for the both of us. We also drank a bit, and that's what put us over. There was no teriyaki, and it definitely wasn't one of those "sushi specials" of which Jerome speaks. I thought it was an excellent meal, and would go back again in a heartbeat.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jacinthe

                                First time I did Omakase there was 80 + tip. Second time was 100 + tip.

                                I love this place. Good food, reasonable pricing, and I have never had to wait. Both times I've gone, me and the GF pretty much had Masu to ourselves. Everybody else was either done ordering, or had the assistant sushi chef do most of the work.

                              2. Z Sushi in Alhambra/San Marino/South Pasadena