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Sashimi recs?

  • PaulF Nov 20, 2007 08:12 AM
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It occurred to me just a second ago that I've been eating less and less sushi because I don't like all the rice in my diet.

And then, bam, it hit me:

Why not go out for sashimi instead and just avoid the rice for the most part, maybe partaking in just a little bit of sushi.

Any recs for places for a great sashimi meal? I live in Culver City, live a lot of my life in Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica and West LA/Westwood. I'll drive a little, but not too far.

TIA ...

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  1. Is the Todai in the Marina still there? Haven't been there in ages. They have/had a good selection of sashimi like ahi, yellowtail, ika, salmon, etc. Plus, you can try all of the other exotic sushis like salmon roe, uni (urchin), eel, tako (octopus), etc. Most Japanese restaurants will serve sashimi dinners on their menu or ala carte. My personal preference is the combos with sashimi and tempura or with teriyaki.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Clinton

      say no to todai aka to die.

      1. re: Clinton

        Quite a while back before he became so crowded on weekends, a couple at the sushi bar at Zo asked for omakase to be primarily sashimi and their wish was granted. I can't think of a better place, though it will be pricey.

      2. Asanebo on Ventura near Laurel Canyon. Is Studio City considered too far (half-hour from Culver City)? You do have to take that dreaded stretch of the 405 between the 10 and the 101, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tkn

          Half-hour from Culver City if you make the drive between midnight & 5 AM! At dinner time during the week, at least 45 min., realistically probably over an hour or so, could be even longer, depending on 405 traffic. (I make this commute all the time for work) Asenabo is great for sashimi though; maybe you can try it on a weekend when traffic is less of a problem.

        2. Echigo in Santa Monica, or a bit farther north and east try Nishimura in WeHo.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Nishimura is very expensive. But that's the least of your problems there. The quality is good but the selection is somewhat limited (~20 types on my 2 visits). More bothersome was the stream of new age sashimi that at times obscured the taste of the fish. I still remember the pungent garlic chips overpowering the otherwise good snapper sashimi.

            The main reason not to go to Nishimura though is the very unprofessional hostess who was beyond rude and insulting on both my visits. Some (including J.Gold) have complained about Nishimura's "minimal courtesy" but I haven't had a problem with Nishimura himself the times I've been there. The hostess though, refused to seat us in front of Nishimura once despite reservations requesting a seat in front of him, lost the reservations the other time, and was very rude and dismissive both times. Simple requests for additional sake or tea became tedious because it meant you had to look at her look at you with contempt.

            Needless to say, the second time was my last.

            Mori has better quality, selection, rice (if you decide to indulge), and is certainly more friendly than Nishimura. It is about the same price point as Nishimura though.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Echigo served me bad uni. That was a big disappointment, had to send it back. The rest of what I had was mostly very good, though. Except the blue crab roll gave me a headache.

            2. I do not usually go somewhere just for sashimi but I too often favor the sashimi (or sashimi-like) dishes over sushi. A couple of very different places come to mind--depending on your mood.

              In Santa Monica, I adore Hakata. It's a sports bar/sushi bar/japanese restaurant. They have everything, including tempura and crazy rolls, but if you sit at the sushi bar you can get really good sushi and sashimi. The quality of what they have is quite good and is substantially better than most neighborhood places, but they don't have the most exotic items (like uni or live shrimp). They make really good sashimi and they also make some more interesting sashimi dishes that incorporate other flavors. I particularly like their albacore onion mix and the tuna diablo plate (tuna with salsa like flavors and avocado). These are on the expensive side ($15) but are a substantial amount of fish. The straight up sashimi is really good too. The sushi chefs could not be more friendly and welcoming and I'm sure they would make an assortment for you if you asked. I also love the sunomono they give to start the meal with slices of raw fish. I am often tempted just to see if they'll give me an enormous bowl of that and be done.

              At the other end of the scale is Kiriko in the Olympic collection at Sawtelle. The sashimi here is wonderful and they'll make you an assorted platter of whatever you like. It's more traditional, much more varied, more elegant, (and somewhat pricier) than Hakata (or similar places) but boy is it good! They have pretty much everything you might want, if it's in season. In addition to the straight up sashimi, they have things like the seared bonito salad which is fabulous.

              I have also enjoyed the assorted sashimi platter at Yuni sushi on Lincoln & Bay in Santa Monica. It's a neighborhood sushi joint of average quality. But, the sashimi platter is quite well done and a little more inventive (fish wrapped around fish for intriguing combos) but also pricier than the rest of the stuff (e.g. half price sushi). They also have a sushi lunch special which includes sashimi and ngiri which is usually what I get here as it is a favored lunch spot of my coworkers (although that is too much food and doesn't solve your rice problem.)

              I've also had really good sashimi at U-zen in Santa Monica, but nothing beyond the traditional order of sliced fish. In addition, the quality seems to vary a bit more--ranging from heavenly to okay.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chowbee

                Cool recs.

                I've been to both Yuni and Hakata and enjoy them both.

                Never done the sashimi, but like their sushi. I'm going to go there and try the sashimi platters.

                1. re: PaulF

                  Well, since we seem to travel in the same sushi circles, is there anywhere you'd recommend for sushi in the same general area?

                  1. re: chowbee

                    I don't really like any places not mentioned here.

                    I'm weird with sushi ... I love it, but don't like to eat it that much because of all the rice. So, I hardly ever go and I'm not up on the most recent places.

                    I used to like Hide a lot, the place on Sawtelle. Haven't been for a while. I used to eat in Hakata all the time and there was another place on Wilshire I liked sort of calle Nomo, I think.

                    Oh, wait .. I like Hama Sushi on the Venice Circle. That's a place I like a lot. Not sure if others do.

                    1. re: PaulF

                      Maybe give Sushi Masu a try. They are on Westwood Blvd. just a bit south of Missouri (1911 Westwood Blvd.) on the west side of the street.

                2. re: chowbee

                  Second Kiriko.

                3. My wife, who has a very small appetite, also finds that she fills up to quickly on the rice in sushi. In our one delightful visit to Sushi Zo, we mentioned this to him at the beginning of our omakase, and he served her exactly the same assortment that the rest of us ate, except without the rice. I think that there were two or three items that he made for her with rice, explaining that it wouldn't taste right otherwise. She managed to get through 20 courses with the rest of the party -- said she was afraid she'd miss something!

                  1. Right in Culver City, Sushi Karen has good sashimi.

                    1. the best sashimi i've had was at a place called sai sai at the biltmore downtown - a little pricey but it was the raw fish devoid of the rice and it was a revelation