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Japanese Food Recomendations

anita Dec 22, 2001 01:56 AM

I'm hoping for recomedations for wonderfully good Japanese Restaurants in LA. I'm taking my husband for a surprize trip and don't want to disapoint him. I'm interested in taking him to someplace refined and traditional. He's a traditional sushi chef, so I need to pick well. I need something beyond hamachi, tuna and rolls. I read interesting things about Ginza, but saw mixed reviews on citysearch (which I don't trust to guide me). PLEASE HELP! He's never been to LA & I don't want to look stupid.

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  1. i
    Inca Explorer RE: anita Dec 22, 2001 10:12 AM

    Not sure how traditional the atmosphere is but Sasabune on Sawtelle should do the trick for the sushi.

    1. l
      Leslie Brenner RE: anita Dec 22, 2001 11:46 AM

      Anita, I would recommend taking him for omakase at Mori Sushi on West Pico Blvd. in West L.A. I can just about guarantee that you won't be disappointed. Here's a link to a recent posting about a meal I had there a couple months ago--the best meal I had in L.A. this year, and the best sushi I've had in, I don't know, my life? (I have not yet eaten at Ginza Sushiko.)

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Leslie Brenner
        Leslie Brenner RE: Leslie Brenner Dec 22, 2001 11:48 AM

        P.S. Our omakase was about $95 per person, a fraction of what Ginza Sushiko charges.

      2. m
        michael (mea culpa) RE: anita Dec 22, 2001 12:29 PM

        Don't envy your predicament. Where are you coming from? If Japan, this could be like carrying coals to Newcastle. Perhaps something different, a fusion style place like Devon in Monrovia, Shiro in South Pasadena or Jozu in West Hollywood would have a better shot at avoiding disappointment. Or, something totally different--Thai, Chinese, Korean, some sort of Mexican, etc. Otherwise, there's Matsuhisa, Granita, Ginza, etc.

        1. r
          roger simon RE: anita Dec 23, 2001 10:31 AM

          Nishimura opposite the Pacific Design Center on Melrose. I went there with Japanese business associates who were quite impressed, assuming they weren't just being polite. I've been there a couple of times after and liked it a lot. Also excellent is Asenobo in the Valley on Ventura Blvd. For an eclectic Japanese dining experience (very little sushi) try Ita Cho on Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood.

          1. j
            John Vieira RE: anita Dec 24, 2001 07:22 PM

            Anita, there are plenty of good suchi bars in the area (suchi's my favorite), but if you can afford Ginza, none of the best can compare. We're talking $300 per person without drinks, tax or tip! If you can handle that - go for it. It is by far the best meal I've ever had out. I've done it twice and wish I could afford to do it more.

            1. a
              anita RE: anita Dec 25, 2001 05:20 PM

              Thank you everyone for all the ideas!!! I'll plan to try at least a couple when we come. If no one has had horrible experiences at Ginza I'll give it a try and tell you what he thinks. Anita

              1 Reply
              1. re: anita
                Porthos RE: anita Dec 27, 2001 11:02 AM

                It should be interesting (and pretty valuable) to read an insider analysis about Ginza. As stated before, it's supposed to unrivaled, period. Please let us know what both you and your husband think about Ginza.

              2. p
                PRSMDave RE: anita Dec 27, 2001 11:51 AM

                Hide Sushi on Sawtelle a block or two north of Olympic Blvd. is good sushi, especially the omakase (which for us was $70 each). BE AWARE: Hide is a cash only establishment. No credit cards, no checks, no travellers' checks.

                7 Replies
                1. re: PRSMDave
                  kevin RE: PRSMDave Dec 27, 2001 03:10 PM

                  what is the omakase over here? i always thought sasabune up the street on nebraska had fresher, better quality sushi.

                  1. re: kevin
                    PRSMDave RE: kevin Dec 27, 2001 04:00 PM

                    I don't quite understand your question, so I'll answer what I think you're asking. Please correct me if I've misparsed :)

                    Omakase is "chef's choice" sushi. It consists of whatever is freshest that day or whatever the chef wishes to prepare, so it varies place to place and day to day as well as season to season.

                    1. re: PRSMDave
                      kevin RE: PRSMDave Dec 27, 2001 06:29 PM

                      you're right. I didn't ask the questio properly. I do know what the omakase or chef's choice meal is.

                      at hide sushi, do you remember what sushi or sashimi or other dishes came with your omakase meal? or what where some of the highlights? anything very exotic?

                      I always thought of Hide as at best average sushi bar, nothing special, but if they have a really great omakase willing to check. and at the price you stated of 70 bucks per person it has got to be better than the average stuff they serve there.

                      1. re: kevin
                        PRSMDave RE: kevin Dec 28, 2001 11:39 AM

                        What's terrible is that I cannot remember. It was a few years ago but you'd think something like that would be stuck in my mind.

                        Bear in mind that $70 was for everything including the bottles of sake we brought along.

                        1. re: PRSMDave
                          Eliot RE: PRSMDave Dec 28, 2001 12:32 PM

                          They charged you for the sake you brought along? I didn't realize there was corkage in Japan. As for Hide, I haven't had their omakase, but I think of them as the best value-priced sushi in town -- reliable, predictable, inexpensive. Of course, I've only sat at the (crowded) tables...

                          In general, I agree with the person who said Sasabune is fresher, better. Also wa-a-ay more expensive.

                          1. re: Eliot
                            PRSMDave RE: Eliot Dec 29, 2001 12:58 AM

                            No no, don't misunderstand. We bought sake at Nijiya Market and brought it along. There was no corkage. It was part of the total cost of the evening, though. (Yay sake. We like sake. Sake is good.)

                      2. re: PRSMDave
                        mikmik RE: PRSMDave Jan 3, 2002 04:45 PM

                        "Omakase" literally means "Leave it up to me" in Japanese. How do I know??? I'm Japanese!

                  2. s
                    Sushi Gourmet RE: anita Dec 27, 2001 11:59 PM

                    Check Kanpachi in Torrance or Gardena, very traditional and excellent, people who work there barely speak any english and on the nite I was there all customers were Japanese (always a good sign). This was the first time I've ever had raw shrimp guts (very tasty)

                    Also check out seafood club next to Mitsuwa market in Torrance, good sushi bar but also specializes in cooked seafood.

                    Not to keen on Matsuhisa, too much emphasis on fusion style food and can preparation can be sloppy at times.

                    If you're looking for Japanese fusion I would highly recommend Shiro in Pasadena. More french than japanese, creative and very well prepared.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sushi Gourmet
                      anita RE: Sushi Gourmet Dec 28, 2001 08:42 PM

                      I think I may have heard of Kampachi. I think he would like shrimp guts, he loves squid and crab guts but they're more of a home food kind of thing. Thanks again for all the feedback! I was hoping to go in Jan but may have to put it off until Feb or March. It may take that long to get res. at Ginza anyway. You are lucky to have so many choices. Any robata bars in LA?

                      1. re: anita
                        James RE: anita Dec 30, 2001 02:17 PM

                        Any Robata bars in LA? Check out Katana on Sunset which will be open very soon. It's from the Sushi Roku people.

                        1. re: anita
                          Just Larry RE: anita Jan 1, 2002 07:18 PM

                          Most nights Ginza is almost empty according to the reviews I have read. At $300.00 plus per person they don't need many people a night to pay the rent. I bet you can even call a day ahead most of the time.

                      2. m
                        mikmik RE: anita Jan 3, 2002 04:58 PM

                        Here's the list of my favorite Japanese restaurants in So. Cal....

                        Tsukuba (Artesia & Van Ness, Torrance)
                        Tsukiji (Western & Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena)
                        Kasen Sushi (Magnolia & Garfield, Fountain Valley)
                        Kappo Sui (Bristol & Santa Ana Avenue, Costa Mesa)
                        Izakaya Honda (on El Camino Real, Tustin)
                        Hana No Ki (Baker & Bear, Costa Mesa)
                        Super Corokke (Paularino & Bristol, Costa Mesa)

                        They range in price and the kind of food they serve but they are all very, very good.

                        Hope this helps.

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