BEST omakase sushi restaurant recs...
a real sushi lover from nyc visiting and staying in downtown LA needs recommendations to the best sushi omakase LA has to offer... i'll have a rental car so a 30 minute drive is not a prob.
i've been to all the places in the east coast such as kuruma, yasuda, gari, morimoto, nobu, etc... and i've been told LA is better and cheaper. is it true???
Sushi Nozawa in Studio City is known as the sushi nazi.
Honestly though, I really prefer Saito in Silver Lake. It's in a crumby mini mall and the atmosphere is nill, but the sushi is amazing.
I've done both east and west coast and this side of town is definitely cheaper. Here are some options to get you started.
Matsuhisa: This is the original, even before Nobu. three levels of omakase ranging from $75-$130. You'll probably recognize most of the dishes if you've been to nobu (toro tartare with caviar, squid pasta, etc). you get a good mix of raw and signature cooked items here.
Sasabune/Nozawa: These guys come from the same type of sushi-making school. They're both "sushi nazi" types who use warm rice and very fresh fish (though sasabune has been rumored to be going downhill lately). their omakase's never change. Generally, you'll start with some albacore sashimi, some nigiri, maybe a toro or crab handroll. The price gets up there, though, around $50-$60 per person. I personally think they're a little overrated.
Tama Sushi: This is a gem of a spot in studio city with one of the best bargain omakase's in town. You can do either a $30 or $40 option, with the $40 receiving more premium stuff (ranging from live uni and live scallops to beautifully marbled o-toro). The omakase also includes a slew of handmade traditional japanese appetizers and a seafood bouillabaise-style soup served in a paper pot over an open flame. really good stuff.
I haven't been to Shibucho, but I hear it's also got a good omakase.
There are plenty of other spots, but these restaurants represent the cross-section of omakases available here in LA.
These are good recommendations, although I'd like to add that if you're the least bit interested in Matsuhisa/Nobu-style sushi you should check out Wa, which is just a few miles north of Matsuhisa on La Cienega. The three chefs at Wa are former Matsuhisa sushi chefs (and considered by many the best chefs at Matsuhisa other than Nobu himself). In addition to many of the items/preparations that Nobu invented (which now seem a little tired to me since I've obtained Nobu's cookbook and can now make at home when the proper ingredients are readily available), the chefs have their own creative preparations that I think rival Nobu at his best and most imaginative.
The other benefit is that the prices are almost half of what you'd pay at Matsuhisa. The only downside may be that you're less likely to spot a celebrity, but at a place like this you're more likely to be focused on the food and not the clientele.
I've posted a link to a review of my first visit there.
If it's a low price you want, go to Hide, 2040 Sawtelle, West LA. If it's top quality you desire with a flair, go to Mori Sushi, 11500 W. Pico Bl, West LA. Either way, sit at the bar.
Shibucho is the best bet near downtown LA. It's on Beverly near Vendome in a bit of a sketchy neighborhood (but only 5-10 mins west of downtown). If you're thinking of going to "sushi row" on Ventura (just over the hill in the valley), I'd skip the much overrated Nozowa and try Kazu, Tama or Asanebo.