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Sushi Gen - WTF? Most overrated ever?

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As of late my sushi joint of choice is Sushi Masu in Westwood for Omakase. No wait, friendly chief (Masu is awesome), reasonable prices, fresh and tasty.

I just got back from NJ and wanted to enjoy some Japanese food. Was thinking about going to Sushi Masu, but didn't want to drive 30 minutes to the westside at 6pm on a Saturday. SO headed down to Sushi Gen instead.

Host was nice, friendly, and knew his stuff. He quoted us 30-40 minutes for the bar, which was pretty spot on. Was the most massive sushi bar I've ever seen. Things smelled delicious, good sign. Sat in the middle/corner seat, asked for Omakase to which they were happy to oblige.

Night started off fantastic enough with some Tuna sashimi. Flavorful, fresh, fantastic. A+++. Went through about 2 hours of Omakase. Had a very recurring theme: shellfish. I remember 2 variations of abalone, giant clam, I remember Uni, and a few other ones. Had alot of new and unique sushi that I was not used to.

Pro's: quality of product. Amazing, top notch, definitely some of the best I've had in LA. No arguments there. Service was pretty good, they had alot of well qualified biligual chef's and apprentices which eased the language barrier. You can clearly tell the chef's now their shiz, and the turnover I imagine makes the fish incredibly fresh.

Con's: variety. I gotta say this was probably the most disappointing part of the night. Sure he gave us alot of different items we didn't expect, but it was all pretty much the same: alot of nigiri, uni, abalone, giant clam, etc. He did the sweet prawn with fried heads, which was fantastic. When I go to Masu for Omakase, he usually does a few seared portions (seared salmon, tuna, yellowtail belly (or something, I don't remember)..plus all the other things that I like to see.

Not to mention, @sushi Gen, he gave us a full order (ie 2 nigiri) each, whereas with Masu he split the nigiri between me and my gf. For some items this was great (tuna sashimi being the standout..), but for the rest, 1 would've sufficed (uni, giant clam, abalone, sweet prawn..).

Biggest con of the night: seeing the mf'ing bill. 210 pretax. I suspect that alot of that is because he booked us each for 1 order (for a total of 4 pieces...) per round. I wouldn't have minded so much if the items were "mind blowing". Sure they were fresh and fastastic, but most of them did NOT leave me wanting more. Ie sardines were cool, but would I order them again? No, not really.

I could've had 2 comparable meals @Masu and left feeling alot better.

Overall, I give them props to the quality of the ingredients. Huge negative marks for me not leaving like I got my money's worth. If I go back, it definitely won't be for Omakase.

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  1. You can always ask the chef to split the orders between the two of you. My wife and I always do.

    It isn't unreasonable to offer each person a full order unless otherwise requested.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wakko11

      Maybe, but it's not very exciting either. Would rather have 20 pieces of different items, vs 10 x2

    2. You should of told the chef you wanted seared stuff. They are very traditional sushi chefs so that is what they stick too. Next time you should have asked and they will accomadate.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jkao1817

        Doesn't that defeat the purpose of omakase? If I wanted to ask I would've just ordered outright...

        I did ask for unagi, and it was mind blowingly delicious..

        1. re: ns1

          Agreed, but as you stated

          "I didn't really NEED to experience 6-8 pieces of abalone...or 4 pieces of sweet prawn, or 4 pieces of said uni and sardines."

          You should have told him that. he does not know your likes or dislikes.

          1. re: jkao1817

            I didn't know until he plopped them down on my plate. Re: the abalone, the first was some type of cooked abalone served in its own shell, the second were more traditional abalone nigiri

            He was serving 3 different groups at once, I didn't know which ones were mine until they landed on my plate.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I'm slightly confused, as I don't understand how you would label this thread with "WTF" and "overrated" if you thought the quality of their fish was excellent and "some of the best". I think it is entirely reasonable to state your dislikes and preferences, even if it is omakase.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinkshch

            Yeah, the review did seem somewhat overwrought compared to the title. Mainly he felt he got fairly good quality food andservice (sans selection issuses) but bad value due to the price. Which is a reasonable complaint but doesn't exactly measure up to "worst ever".

            1. re: broncosaurus

              True. Maybe it was a little overbearing ;)

          2. From the title of your post I would have thought you had a really bad time. If you paid $210 for 10 x 2 full order items and didn't specify that you wanted to split after seeing that they weren't going to do it automatically, I don't know that you didn't get your money's worth for the quality that you say you got. (I am assuming the $210 was for the entire dinner, not per person) That being said- sorry to hear it wasn't what you wanted. We all have nights where even though the food is great, it doesn't quite meet the price we ended up paying.

            14 Replies
            1. re: PrettyPlaty

              I'm not arguing the quality of the product. I will reaffirm that I think it's some of the freshest that I've found.

              That said, half of them didn't really hit my palette, and I wouldn't order them again. I can recognize the freshness/quality of the ingredients, even though I didn't particularly like them. The most notable of this group would be the uni and the sardines.

              I didn't really NEED to experience 6-8 pieces of abalone...or 4 pieces of sweet prawn, or 4 pieces of said uni and sardines.

              My beef is not leaving feeling like "damn, that was some of the best sushi I ever had." Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe they weren't the right fit for Sushi Gen. I mean, I REALLY wanted to love this place, and built it up for a while.

              I had this debate with the gf going into Sushi Gen. I want to throw down for Omakase because I want the chef to blow me away and make me want me to come back. I would say in this regard that Sushi Gen failed horribly.

              I would try it again, but definitely not on my dime. I'm not gonna risk blowing 2 bills on a meal that may or may not leave me happy. I'd rather go to hatfield's or something and grab a tasting menu.

              1. re: ns1

                I can definitely see your point- I would have definitely demanded a split on the orders. It happens- I think sometimes the chefs just get in a groove or think you really like a particular type of sushi- i.e. shellfish. I was once at Sasabune and got three different kinds of whitefish and saw other omakase partakers getting oysters and other items. I actually pointed it out to our chef and he changed it up. I've probably in general been much more forgiving about omakase in general- the BF had a problem with me paying $300 for sushi but absolutely no problem dropping $400+ for Joel Robuchon's L'Altelier (in Vegas). BTW- Hatfield's tasting menu is one of the best deals in the city for what you get, in my opinion.

                1. re: PrettyPlaty

                  re: hatfields, why yes, yes it was haha. would probably ala carte there next time though. The lamb was delicious. If only they would serve a monster appetizer sampler...

                  1. re: PrettyPlaty

                    Hi PrettyPlaty,

                    "absolutely no problem dropping $400+ for Joel Robuchon's L'Altelier (in Vegas"

                    Me too...I've left several sushi places pretty pissed off. But as far as L'Atelier and The Mansion, I've thrown down a weeks per diem for dinner by myself while I've been stuck in that awful city...well worth it.
                    I have enjoyed Sushi Gen while dining alone...but then, I love to speak up about my desires. I always say: I"'m in the mood for some traditionals tonight and I really need a Japanese Scallop Sashimi thrown in at some point, I'm small and can't eat to much so one piece of each will do for me so I can try as much as you have to offer..oh, and I only have $100 and I'm gonna order some sake and a beer".
                    When ever I do this, my dinners ROCK!!! the assortment and the quality is always amazing.
                    The only sushi places on my list at the moment are Izayio and K-ZO.

                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                      "I"'m in the mood for some traditionals tonight and I really need a Japanese Scallop Sashimi thrown in at some point, I'm small and can't eat to much so one piece of each will do for me so I can try as much as you have to offer..oh, and I only have $100 and I'm gonna order some sake and a beer""

                      wow, genius. I may have to steal that line.

                      1. re: ns1

                        Hi ns1,
                        It's worked great even at Nozowa (but I'd been going there forever before I finally grew the balls to do it), Asanaebo, what used to be Sasabune, Gen, Izayoi, K-Zo and a few others.
                        It does help since it is obvious that I am small and every place that has knocked my socks off had a sushi chef that appeared to be a bit refreshed that I gave him some direction or at least an opening so he could aske me a few questions.

                        On Sat, at Izayoi, I was with 2 of my adventurous friends and we wanted to try the cooked bits that evening..I asked the server to have my regular sushi chef reccommend a few warm and cozy items...what we got was perfect...beef tongue steak; beef tongue stew; creamy fish croquettes (amazing!!!); pickled sharks fin; homemade tofu; custard with sea urchin on top (one of my favorites); shrimp chili fondu (trust me, it's amazing); and a bunch of other good stuff. As always, everything was great (sharks fin, not so much), the service was perfect as always, and 3 great sakes...yum.
                        It was the first time in the year that I've been going that I finally got warm/fried food and it was great...my sushi guy sure knows what I'll love...yippee!!!

                        1. re: ns1

                          Oh, I forgot to add, when I went to Gen, I had an idea that it would be pricey and I don't make much money, so I said my liitle speachy-thing..that night I had a $75 limit and I told the chef tht I wanted some of the little clams that the guys next to me were eating and Japanese Scallop sashimi, and that he was free to surpirse me with whatever he though would excite me....he laughed along with the gents next to me, then asked if I had a preference for cooked or raw tradtionals, I asked for a mix of goodies and he said sure...I had a great meal and some sake, no beer, and the gents next to me sent me some sweet shrimp...good times.

                          1. re: tatertotsrock

                            damn, gangster. honestly, I never really even considered the idea of giving the chef an idea of what I wanted when going Omakase...

                            1. re: ns1

                              Aaah, but ns1, I never said I ordered "Omakase"...I just "make nice" with the chef, let him know my desires, my limits, and that I would love for him to "take care of me" and "excite me" with waht he has to offer...hmm, maybe it's my wording and the fact that I'm a girl that has always brought me luck.
                              I actually think it's the relief that the chef doesn't have the pressure to "impress" and be a mind reader...it also ensures that I can pay the bill and leave a good tip for my servers.
                              I've only done Omakase at Nozawa when I've been footing the bill and it was always good. After he got to know me and noticed my curiosity with everyone elses food, he began to ask me things like "ambejack today?" or "baby clam is good, you want?" and sometimes "something different?" and I would usully say "uh, sure, one piece of something" and he'd kinda grin.
                              I'll never forget when, one afternoon, he said "fish know what is good to eat, bait is good" and then he gave me anchovie, needlefish, and sardine sashimi...so good.

                              1. re: tatertotsrock

                                damnit all this talk about sushi makes me want more sushi

                                1. re: tatertotsrock

                                  tatert...
                                  have you ever gone to Shibucho on Beverly blvd or the one in costa mesa?

                                  Because i love some of the other places you've been (some like sasabune, not so much), and I think shibucho stands with any of them.

                                  1. re: Jerome

                                    Hello Jerome,
                                    I had been to the one on Beverly a hundred years ago and I remember it being very good, even though someone else was picking up the bill and doing all the ordering...I did not have much comtrol of the items consumed.
                                    I never felt compelled to "go it alone" since it was a bit "serious/stuffy" or something..I don't know, should I try going solo?
                                    I have to dine alone 80% of the time and it's no fun when all the other sushi-eaters at the bar give off a "fwua-fwua" attitude.
                                    What do you enjoy about it and is it a lunch option?

                                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                                      the level of the tane is amazing. i don't get his wine fetish and don't order it. he will easily accomodate your requests. they had a great matsudake- soup in season. if fish are out of season - he won't carry them. shirako is season.
                                      no lunch.
                                      these days, the glitterati have moved on -some have died like brando.
                                      it's a small place - go in sit at the bar - open 6pm to midnight. and everything is first rate.
                                      no omakase until he knows you.\

                      2. re: ns1

                        I don't think your going to like Urasawa either? $750- or more for 2. Omakase Only.