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R.I.P. Azami as we knew it...

I was surprised that there weren't any posts about this yet...Azami has officially changed hands and re-opened, complete with a fancy remodel. Having been my neighborhood sushi restaurant for a couple of years, I had to give its new incarnation it a try although it just felt wrong being in the space without Niki at the helm.

The new Azami..It's not good. So not good, in fact, that after sitting down and ordering a beer, then perusing the menu, my boyfriend and I looked at eachother with raised eyebrows and wondered how we could best escape. There's an entire page on the menu devoted to ridiculous, over-the-top cut rolls. We ordered their 'ceviche' which was advertised as 'citrus marinated', then ended up just being overly-doused with rice wine vinegar. With a lot of mango on it. Also ordered tempura avocado, which I love, but was served fried calamari instead. Didn't really care at that point. The calamari came with a bizarre chipotle/overly paprika-ed/overly honeyed olive-oil based dipping sauce. Very weird. And lastly, had a very uninspiring spicy tuna roll with cold rice (sigh...loved Azami's warm rice...). I also remember one of the entrees being listed as some sort of steak with 'the perfect pear sauce'. Right.

For fans of the old-school Azami, check this out: Niki's doing dinners at her sister's seafood market.

http://inakagourmet.com/chefstable.html

Any recs for good sushi that won't break the bank in the general hollywood/west hollywood area? Since my fave is now defunct?

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    1. I went there for luch recently, right after the change, very disappointed. Not good at all and service was a mess.

      1. This makes me so sad. . . This is in my neighborhood as well and I loved going there for business lunches. I am glad to hear Niki is doing an omakase meal elsewhere. Has anyone been?

        1. Inaka had its grand opening last Saturday, unfortunately I wasn't able to make it, but am planning to check it out this weekend. I already have my reservation for Niki's Chef's Table. Can't wait!!!

          1. Too sad and now Niki's too far away! We had the exact same experience as you-slowly realizing everything was different-finally asking if there were new owners-wishing we could get out of there. They did send over lots of free dishes to try to win us over, and I wanted to like the food, but it's not in the same ballpark as the old Azami. Does anyone know why Niki sold it?

            5 Replies
            1. re: alfmetals

              Niki told me and wifey that it was just too much work and not enough payoff. She worked Azami for years, and it just wasn't rewarding. Her parents own the seafood purveyor where she is now located, and she lives out there, too, so the commute wasn't very fun. The new owners made her a nice offer, and she took it knowing that she could focus on "chef's table" service.

              1. re: Dave and Stuff

                Thanks for this report, Dave and Stuff. It's nice to know that Niki is doing exactly what she wants to do!

                1. re: Dave and Stuff

                  Sorry, I'm not really understanding what you said. So, her parents used to own Inaka and don't anymore? Or they never did, but sell seafood to Inaka? TIA for clarification. But I think she runs the place with her sister?

                  1. re: slacker

                    Dave and Stuff is saying that Niki's parents own Inaka, which is located in Arcadia, and since Niki lives out there on the east side she no longer has to commute from Arcadia all the way to Azami on Melrose.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Damn! Couldn't have said it better myself...or maybe I could have in the OP!