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Aug 12, 2008 01:07 PM

Quiet spot for sushi?

First date. Need a nice atmosphere, great service, open on Sunday nights and quiet enough to heard ourselves talk. Somewhere between La Brea and the Westside...don't want to go as far as Santa Monica if possible. Greatly appreciate your suggestions..

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  1. Just remember the rule of thumb that because fish markets are closed on Sundays, sushi will not be as fresh, which is why many sushi restaurants are closed on Sundays. That being said, I think either Niko Niko on National and Westwood or U-zen on Santa Monica a block east of Bundy should fit the bill (both in WLA). Both have solid (though not the best) sushi, are reasonably-priced, rarely crowded (I've never had to wait for a table at either place), very friendly service and have a nice atmosphere with lower lighting. Niko Niko may have a tad better atmosphere. Have been on dates to both places and was pleased (well, with the restaurants, anyway.)



    Even though these links say they are, you should call to make sure the restaurant is open Sunday night. I could have sworn Niko Niko was closed all day/night Sunday but maybe I'm wrong.

    12 Replies
    1. re: chowmominLA

      Chowmom is wise to recommend against sushi on a Sunday in L.A.

      Try an intimate (and damn authentic) Italian place instead. Cafe Angelino, near 3rd & Robertson, may fit your bill. The pizze funghi is out of this world.

      Cafe Angelino

      Off, topic, but most people say that La Brea is also considered part of the Westside.

      1. re: chowmominLA

        must disagree with the niko niko recommendation.
        although some of their stuff is edible, some isn't.
        if the date knows anything about sushi, this place will be a turn-off.

        1. re: westsidegal

          thanks for the suggestions. can't do Italian because that's all we've been eating. but i'll switch it to Monday night to get the fresh fish...

          1. re: at4

            If you can do Monday then try Echigo (but again check to make sure it's open... some places are closed Mondays too.) It's one of the better omakase's in town and has a little bit of atmosphere (as opposed to Sushi Zo, better sushi but not much of a date place....)

            Kiriko is a good choice too, provided it's open....

            1. re: at4

              MONDAY IS EVEN WORSE THAN SUNDAY! Just a FYI. Tuesday through Fridays for sushi.

              Sorry to yell.

              By the way, avoid Echigo like the plague.

              1. re: J.L.

                Why avoid Echigo like the plague? They have my favorite preparation of monkfish liver in town.

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  3 out of 3 experiences there have been awful for me:

                  1st visit: Rude attitude. Itamae actually had the audacity to ask me if I could afford their toro when I ordered it. No joke. I literally had to open my wallet to show them that I had cash in it! The toro came, and had white grit in it. Terrible preparation. Food: 4 out of 10 otherwise.

                  2nd visit: Uni nightmare. Sea urchin spine (not a small one, but a BIG honkin' one) embedded in their uni. Lucky I saw it before biting down. Also the following conversation:

                  "May I have an order of mirugai?"

                  "We're out", said the server.

                  "But it's 6:30PM AND I see some mirugai in the sushi display case!" I politely say.

                  "No, we're out." Case closed. I left in a huff. At least I didn't bite down on that booby-trapped uni.

                  3rd visit: OK I said, third time's the charm, right? Wrong. I went on a Tuesday ---> NASTY, stale fish, with a ton of artificial wasabi in an sophomoric attempt to cover up the staleness. They were trying to empty their leftover stock from last week on me. Kiss of death for a sushi place, IMO.

                  See ya, Echigo, I'm done. Echi-DON'T-go.

                  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

                  1. re: J.L.

                    I don't think I'd go back either after all that! Fortunately, my experiences have been much better than that but I pretty much stick to the hamachi, kumamoto oysters, monkfish liver and blue crab hand rolls. I've never had good toro there, sadly.

            2. re: westsidegal

              Have you been there lately? The first time I ate there I thought it was just terrible. But then a friend swore by it so I gave it another chance. It was like a different restaurant. I think it went through a change in ownership. I took a sushi lover's group of 20 there a few months ago. This is a very discriminating group of sushi fanatics. We stuffed ourselves and had sake and beer too and it was less than $40 per person, after tax and tip. The consensus was what I had promised: that it's sure no Zo, but it's excellent for the money and a great choice if you're looking to spend about $40 for a solid sushi meal. Especially the ono and the Spanish mackeral. Not one person didn't like it, and some have been back serveral times since. We just can't afford to have Zo every week.

              That's not to say they haven't known to have an off dish here or there. I did get yellowtail once or twice that I thought wasn't as fresh as usual. But the ono is always right on the money.

              Plus, when you get to know the staff, they are very friendly and will take care of you... never a problem parking or getting a table. I like it.

              1. re: chowmominLA

                i went there after your group went there, primarily because of your recommendation.
                sadly, some of the stuff they served was just inedible, and i posted my experience detailing what was edible and what wasn't.
                another chowhound went there some time later and posted that some of the items i felt were ok were not ok at the time of his/her visit.

                i reiterate, i would NEVER take a date to niko niko unless i was postitive that they didn't know much nor care about the freshness of the fish.

                the quantity for the price was excellent; if that is your primary criterion i'd go with the ayce deal offered by midori in the valley or i'd go to the conveyor belt place in the olympic collection

                  1. re: chowmominLA

                    don't worry about it.
                    i suspect that when they knew to expect a large group of sushi lovers, they planned the fish purchases so that the group would get fresh fish.
                    they apparently aren't able to plan so well for the normal walk-in customers.
                    if you come across any other 'inexpensive' sushi finds i'd still give 'em a try. hope springs eternal. . .

          2. My vote is for Kiriko on the Sawtelle strip. Quiet and intimate and the food is always amazing.

            1. thanks for the suggestions. Date has revised cuisine to Asian--not sushi specific. So i'm thinking Mori in Bev Hills...i like Yabu because it's lowkey and the food's good..but maybe it's too crowded and noisy. any other recs are appreciated...will check out Kiriko tomorrow!

              2 Replies
                1. re: at4

                  For Japanese fusion/non-sushi specific I recommend:

                  Yatai Izakaya
                  8535 Sunset Blvd
                  1/2 blk west of La Cienega

                  Ronin Izakaya Bistro
                  359 N La Cienega Blvd, WeHo
                  btwn Beverly/Oakwood

                2. um- i meant Mako. and rats, it's closed on Sundays.