Santa Monica Sushi Lunch?
Sushi isn't my first choice, so I'm not really an expert, although not totally new to sushi. I have some friends visiting (from Ohio) and they want to try some Sushi.
We are planning to be in Santa Monica (they want to go in the ocean, too cold for me the Californian, I'll be watching) but I thought we would find someplace in Santa Monica for a Sushi lunch.
Ideally it would be a casual place (we will be in beachy clothes although thats not unusual for Santa Monica :) and relatively inexpensive--maybe someplace with a good lunch special. Something where my friends could try a couple things (and certainly not just the California roll that you can get anywhere.)
Also any suggestions for things to try or suggest for newbie yet adventorus eaters.
Thanks in advance
I second the recommendation for Ninjin!
I work near the pier and I think Ninjin has the best inexpensive and tasty lunch special nearby. For about $12 or so you can get an assortment of nigiri, a smaller assortment plus a CA or spicy tuna roll, or a combination of sushi and cooked food. Their fish is substantially better than some of the other lower end places nearby.
If you are more into rolls than nigiri, Sushi Mon on 4th and Santa Monica has an astounding array of rolls and lunch specials in a similar range ($12-15). I prefer the more traditional sushi lunch at Ninjin (though they too have creative rolls), but my sushi lunch buddy prefers this place so we trade off.
If you are willing to go farther from the beach towards West LA, I'd recommend U-Zen (Santa Monica & Brockton) or Hakata (Wilshire & Yale) both of which have nice lunch specials and lots to choose from whether you do or don't eat sushi and are pretty laid back.
Kiriko is fabulous--- but pricey for lunch ($30) and at least in my mind, more formal.
On Montana Ave, there is Sushi Sho. A tiny take out place with a few tables. Very fresh sushi and rolls made by a sushi chef, and very casual. Perfect for dropping in with your beachy clothes. Montana is a good place to stroll around with tourists, too.
Off of 3rd St. Promenade (I think 2nd and Arizona) is Lighthouse Buffet. It's a pretty good deal, and it has a variety of different sushis and Japanese cooked food. That might be a good place to take them. It's certainly not the best sushi ever, but it might be a good choice for you since I'm not sure if your friends will be adventureous enough to try some other authentic sushi places.
MORI SUSHI in West LA (a quick (12 minute) drive from the SM Beach up Pico Blvd.) is a lovely casual room; the sushi is excellent (pricey a la carte) but there are excellent lunch specials. Mori is also known for the quality of his rice, which is grown by small farms in California.
You need to make a reservation.
Mori Sushi11500 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90064-1520
I second the recommendation for THE HUMP. Excellent Sushi; it is expensive for dinner, I would check to see if there are lunch specials. The view of the runway is fun--a lovely general aviation airport.
3221 Donald Douglas Loop S., Third Fl.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Echigo in West LA has a lunch special for 11$ or 12$, I think. It's very casual (it's located in a strip mall) but has excellent sushi. It's quite traditional, however, so it might not work if you're looking for cut rolls. The quality of the fish is great so it could be perfect if you're looking to move away from rolls..