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Omakase: Zo or Mori?

n
nimo Jan 7, 2008 11:24 AM

Trying to decide where to be taken for my birthday dinner: right now, it's between Zo or Mori for omakase. I've hit pretty much every other elite sushi joint in town, but this would be my first time at either. I know the fish at both is meant to be stellar, so it will come down probably to which is a little more reasonable in price, a little more atmospheric, etc. Thanks in advance.

  1. Servorg Jan 7, 2008 11:27 AM

    It may be a little less at Zo and a little more atmosphere at Mori but to me it's pretty much a toss up and I would probably decide on which one was an easier commute.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      Servorg Jan 7, 2008 12:36 PM

      Here are links to a couple of recent reviews of both Mori and Zo for you, (in case you didn't see them before):

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474070

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/465025

    2. s
      slacker Jan 7, 2008 12:01 PM

      I've only been to Sushi Zo and love all the variety (I get bored easily :p). Haven't been to Mori, but someone had posted previously that there's more variety at Zo; both being at that top notch quality. A friend of mine swears by Mori but he hasn't been to Zo; also he tells me they help you with sake pairings at Mori and do a fantastic job of it, sounds like they have more to offer in way of liquor.

      3 Replies
      1. re: slacker
        holleygolitely Jan 7, 2008 02:22 PM

        Sushi Sushi on south Beverly has great omakase as well. What do people think of Matsuhisa's omakase bar?

        1. re: holleygolitely
          westsidegal Jan 7, 2008 03:09 PM

          zo is all about the fish, simple and pure, front and center. my many experiences there have all been wonderful.
          matsuhisa, the one time i had omakase there (which was some time ago), was about some kind of fusion experience with the the fish being somewhat secondary to sauces and odd combinations.
          have not had the omakas at sushi sushi, but have eaten lunch there and thought their sushi was extremely good.
          mori is on my 2008 list of restaurants to try.

        2. re: slacker
          yinyangdi Jan 7, 2008 07:24 PM

          I recommend Mori over Zo any day. Mori is uber-knowledgeable about all things fish and grows/harvests his own rice.

          I've been to Zo x3 (omakase) and had, essentially the exact same meal all three times (no variety there).

        3. j
          jcwla2 Jan 7, 2008 03:17 PM

          Ditch both and do Hiko or Sasabune. Or save up for Urasawa. Or for more of a birthday/special occasion feel, The Hump. Neither Mori nor Zo does it for me.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jcwla2
            n
            nimo Jan 7, 2008 03:43 PM

            Not a huge fan of Sasabune or The Hump. The latter came to $450 for 2 of us the last time I was there, and while everything was certainly good, it was not that good. Urasawa is wonderful, truly in a class of its own, but not this year I'm afraid ($$$$).

            Hiko sounds interesting. Have been meaning to try it. Sorry to be so classless, but what's the damage there? I don't want to overextend the friend who is taking me out!

            1. re: jcwla2
              wilafur Jan 7, 2008 04:14 PM

              sasabune is just ok. over sauced and the same selection of sushi is offered over and over...with maybe one new sushi offering in any given meal.

              1. re: wilafur
                westsidegal Jan 7, 2008 10:14 PM

                isn't sasabune the place with the precut fish?

                1. re: westsidegal
                  wilafur Jan 8, 2008 09:21 AM

                  yep. that's what people have been saying......

              2. re: jcwla2
                omotosando Jan 7, 2008 10:01 PM

                The OP asked for something atmospheric. I hardly think the cheap dinnerware at Hiko counts for atmospheric, unless you want to feel like you are at a cafeteria. (I also found the sushi at Hiko dreadful).

                1. re: jcwla2
                  g
                  GuidoTKP Jan 8, 2008 02:16 PM

                  Wow. I really like Hiko Sushi, but I wouldn't put it on the same level as Mori or Zo (I live very close to all three places). Both have better variety and more atmosphere than Hiko. If you want simple, straight-ahead preparations in a no-frills environment, however, Hiko is quite good (that chopped tuna concoction he starts his omakase off with is out of this world).

                  I really have to try Sasabune, I guess. I have so many friends who have eaten there who claim it is dreadfully overrated, but I've met an equal number of passonate advocates, so I think I need to try it for myself.

                2. c
                  CharlotteMichele Jan 7, 2008 04:18 PM

                  Sushi Nazami on Melrose has an amazing omakase and very reasonably priced. Not fancy or anything but amazing fish and an all female sushi chef staff!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CharlotteMichele
                    z
                    zack Jan 7, 2008 04:49 PM

                    I think you mean Azami near La Brea. While short of the top tier sushi places in town, at half the price of the competition, it's definitely worthy of mention. Good lively setting as well but can get busy at times.

                  2. n
                    New Trial Jan 7, 2008 04:41 PM

                    Mori offers some cooked dishes as well but, if you want just sushi, I would slightly lean toward Zo.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: New Trial
                      Porthos Jan 7, 2008 06:21 PM

                      Actually, if you want just sushi at Mori, ask for "nigiri omakase" at Mori and you'll get just sushi.

                      To the OP, if Sasabune and the likes is not for you, then we see eye to eye and I would highly recommend nigiri omakase at Mori and watch him prepare the highest quality seasonal selection of fish (get the buri belly while it's available), grate fresh wasabi on a sharkskin grater, drizzle fresh sudachi juice on sweet giant clam, properly season and cool his own mixture of rice, and marinate the finest kohada in town.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        n
                        New Trial Jan 7, 2008 09:49 PM

                        Of course, you can get just sushi omakase at Mori. My point was that, if the OP wanted more than just sushi on his omakase, Mori was the best choice but, if he only wanted sushi, I preferred Zo--though only by a touch--over Mori. Really, it is a no lose situation whichever one the OP goes to.

                    2. b
                      BabyLitigator Jan 7, 2008 04:43 PM

                      Zo will cost you somewhat less. Mori has a variety of dishes, while Zo is limited to Nigiri and Sashimi. Something of a toss-up on atmosphere, but probably advantage Mori there. Both have excellent fish.

                      1. s
                        Sgee Jan 7, 2008 09:56 PM

                        Hmm actually thought that Mori didn't have as many varities of fish as Zo.

                        Ideally for me,Mori assembly with Zo's variety of fish.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sgee
                          Porthos Jan 8, 2008 02:06 PM

                          Absolutely correct. Mori has fewer varieties than Zo. However, that comes with the territory when you use more seasonal and more wild stuff. I agree with Mori's assembly, Zo's variety, but would add Mori's quality. The difference in quality though is probably so small, that on any given day, it could switch.

                        2. d
                          Diana Jan 8, 2008 10:26 AM

                          Screw em all and blow a wad at Asanebo.

                          Omakase worth the price.

                          1. b
                            borosillycat Jan 9, 2008 12:45 PM

                            Okay, I'm up for doing omakase at one of these places for my birthday, too. Can anyone give me an idea of price range? That could be the deciding factor since people have good things to say about both.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: borosillycat
                              Servorg Jan 9, 2008 12:52 PM

                              Lunch $75 to $100 pp + tip

                              Dinner $100 to $150 pp + tip

                              1. re: Servorg
                                wilafur Jan 9, 2008 01:37 PM

                                yep, that's about right for the omakase dinner at zo.

                                my average is @ $110 per meal + tip.

                              2. re: borosillycat
                                s
                                slacker Jan 9, 2008 01:21 PM

                                four of us did omakase dinner at Zo, we shared one large bottle of sake. It came to under $100 pp before tip, I think it was around $85.

                                1. re: borosillycat
                                  omotosando Jan 9, 2008 10:28 PM

                                  Zo - $100 per person before tip; no alcohol (tonight). Haven't been to Mori for awhile, but it definitely runs more than $100 pp for omakase.

                                  1. re: omotosando
                                    Porthos Jan 10, 2008 05:32 AM

                                    My meal at Mori wasn't that much more than Zo. I actually got away with $85pp for 20 pieces (2 orders of buri belly) compared to $70pp for 22 pieces at Zo. Before tip and no alcohol at both places.

                                2. modernist Jan 10, 2008 08:35 AM

                                  i would say mori for sure.... for ambience, food, ceramics... although it can be quite loud with all the hard surfaces...

                                  zo has no atmosphere.
                                  i would not recommend sasabune or hiko.... these places are very divisive. i personally cant them although many love them...

                                  1. hrhboo Jan 10, 2008 12:43 PM

                                    After my disappointing dinner at Mori last night, I'm going to have to give the edge to Zo. Following our meal, Sauce and I were still hungry enough to hit up FuRaiBo for chicken wings and pork belly.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: hrhboo
                                      Porthos Jan 10, 2008 03:28 PM

                                      What was so disappointing about it? He doesn't stop unless you ask him to. Mori doesn't fill you up at the end with the blue crab handroll so you may have to adjust your eating accordingly.

                                      1. re: hrhboo
                                        SauceSupreme Jan 10, 2008 05:42 PM

                                        Disclaimer: We ordered a la carte rather than omakase. And I was just a little underwhelmed by everything so I stopped ordering. The buri chutoro was the highlight, and it wasn't *that* good (the best toro in town has always been Sushi Ike). The freshly grated wasabi was very cool. The nori on the crab temaki was very good also. Aside from the buri, the most interesting thing I had was a salad with hairy crab, and that wasn't that good (it was, however, interesting, primarily for its great use of sea vegetables). Nothing was a WOW.

                                        It wasn't until I walked in that I realized that I had been there before but just didn't remember it. Walking out of there, I promptly forgot _that_ meal as well.

                                        Perhaps it was due to the fact that we didn't sit in front of the main itamae, but his apprentice. My chow-radar was ringing, and it seemed like there was a 'Hound sitting at the far end of the bar in front of him, so maybe if she's lurking she can give her account.

                                        One thing we missed out for not ordering omakase was the sayuri (needlefish), which shows up neither on the specials menu nor on the regular menu. But I gotta think that the inclusion of needlefish as part of my meal wasn't going to change anything. In a few sushi-yas, I've started by ordering a few items a la carte, and after being duly impressed, switched over to omakase and had a great time. I guess that's my way of test-driving, and I didn't enjoy the Mori test drive.

                                        I'd visit again to give a fair judgment (perhaps the third time is the charm) since I didn't actually have omakase, but I'm certainly not in a hurry.

                                        1. re: SauceSupreme
                                          Porthos Jan 10, 2008 05:59 PM

                                          The sayori is delicious there as is the kohada and other oily fish. His ability to marinate perfectly is the key. Did you get the tai no konbu jime (wild japanese snapper marinated in konbu kelp) or the ikura no shoyu zuke (ikura marinated in shoyu and sake)? It's Mori's ability to do those items with such skill that really impressed me. His knifework and rice also have a leg up on Keizo IMO. But to each his/her own.

                                          Next time, whenever that is for you, I would recommend nigiri only in front of Mori-san.

                                          1. re: Porthos
                                            SauceSupreme Jan 10, 2008 06:18 PM

                                            Agreed, next time, I *have* to sit in front of Mori-san.

                                          2. re: SauceSupreme
                                            d
                                            Diana Jan 11, 2008 06:48 AM

                                            The best sayori and kohada I've has was at sushi 4 on 6 in encino. Yes, it was better than that served at my fave blow a wad place, Asanebo.

                                            And we got it a la carte

                                            1. re: Diana
                                              n
                                              nimo Jan 11, 2008 10:53 AM

                                              4 on 6 is a candidate for LA's best kept sushi secret.

                                              1. re: nimo
                                                blackbookali Jul 11, 2010 12:01 PM

                                                more like Calabasas' best kept secret

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