was in the mood last night to try a new sushi place. it was going to be either ike or kiriko and the former won out by distance. i thought it was strange that ike doesn't take reservations for the bar. when i got to the restaurant, a long line already formed and i was relegated to my reserved table. too hungry to wait the hour+ for the bar. this place is so small that the bar actually seats as many patrons as the tables, if not more. i sat down and started perusing the menu, knowing toro and grilled octopus are the must orders. was going to go a-la-carte since i was at a table but decided anyway to get omakase and let the itamae guide me to the best dishes. mistake this turned out to be! here's the run down of what followed:
giant clam noodles with uni (2x)
grilled sliced octopus (this was excellent!)
sashimi of chu-toro/kampachi (4 slices each), aji tataki
nigiri of tuna, yellowtail, giant clam, kohada, salmon, halibut (2x each)
toro hand roll (2x)
coffee mochi and some fruit (2 slices of apple/orange)
no beer/sake, just hot green tea. care to guess what the damage of all this came to? dinner for two, $200 after tax/tip! before i asked for the bill, the waiter explained that was all from the chef and asked if there was anything else i wanted to order separately. at this point, i was stuffed from all the rice from the sushi. although i'm biased and prefer warm rice while here it was cold, this was not good rice. the quality of fish was average to good. there was no use of ponzu, shiso, lemon/yuzu, sea/rock salt on any of the pieces, except some scallions and soy (not light) at the table being the only choice. usual places i frequent are nozawa, tama, zo, azami, sasabune so i know when i'm getting excellent fish and i expect to pay for it. the meal i had at ike in comparison was nowhere near in quality and priced above most of them. i even double checked with the hostess to see if the bill was correct and was shocked to see all the ridiculously high numbers on the market price items. disappointing to say the least and i guess i'll just have to chalk it up to experience.
for those you ike regulars out there, could you please confirm if these prices are right? i don't have the exact numbers but these should be close enough...
$20 giant clam noodles with uni (2x)
$15 grilled sliced octopus (this was excellent!)
$24,16,16 sashimi of chu-toro, kampachi (4 slices each), aji tataki
$5,5,15,5,5,10 nigiri of tuna, yellowtail, giant clam, kohada, salmon, halibut (2x each)
$25 toro hand roll (2x)
$200 for two does sound expensive for Ike. Usually, omakase runs me about $140 for two, and that's including a bit of sake and beer. Ike is not quite the quality of Zo or Mori, but it's certainly comparable to Azami and Tama, and it's a great neighborhood joint. The quality of the fish and rice has never been anything but good in my experience.
I had lunch at Ike yesterday. For two omakase, two beers, and two hot tea, it came out to just over 100, which I considered very reasonable considering the quantity and quality of sushi we were served. While I agree that the quality is not of the same calibre of places like Mori or Zo, it was still fine, with some fish shining better than others. There were only a couple other tables for lunch, and I think you could chalk up the difference in our experiences to the fact that I went in for a slow, casually paced lunch, and you caught them during crunch hour. We did have several nigiri garnished with yuzu and rock salt, as well. Sorry about your experience.
I am sorry to hear about your disappointment at Ike; I guess now there are two of us on this board that don't care for this place.
So, change just one letter and head over to Sushi IKI in Tarzana for an excellent experience! (I posted yesterday on this board; I have been there a number of times and am always impressed!)