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Aug 28, 2008 10:32 AM

Looking for a good Asian/Sushi dinner....

My bf's birthday is coming up and I'm looking for a nice Sushi/Asian restaurant to take him. Someplace with fresh fish and nice atmosphere. Nothing crazy expensive like Urasawa. I originally made reservations at Hokusai but from the reviews I've read it's not looking too good. Please help!!

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  1. what part of town?
    how much do you want to spend? (including or not including beverages, tax, tip)

    9 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      I'm hoping to spend no more than $200 and I'm looking for anywhere in LA, Hollywood, BH, Santa Monica, I'm willing to drive. I'm coming from Chino Hills so anyplace will be a trek. Thanks!

      1. re: mh4e

        beverly hills has some good options...

        kiyokawa is kind of a hidden gem on robertson. great sushi, great service, great japanese/asian options as well.

        mako on beverly is another good asian/sushi restaurant in the area.

        1. re: Emme

          Thank you, I'll definitely check them out, do either of them have a websit?

            1. re: Servorg

              Great, thank you!! I didn't see a sushi menu though...

              1. re: mh4e

                This is not a sushi restaurant. It is Japanese - French fusion food. They may have a sushi style appetizer or two on that nights menu, but I wouldn't count on it.

                1. re: Servorg

                  That explains it! Thanks, I'm looking for a sushi place that also has entree's as well.

                  1. re: mh4e

                    Respectfully, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Mako. Good sushi places are a dime a dozen in LA and can be found all over, but great fusion cuisine like Mako is truly special and more unique.

            2. re: mh4e

              kiyokawa as i said is a hidden gem, no website, no advertising. just solid asian and sushi food, all of high quality.

              make doesn't specialize in sushi, no, but it is quite good.

        1. re: NYCnowLA

          Thank you! The menu looks great but what about the atmosphere. There were no photos and I'm looking for someplace romantic as well.

          1. re: mh4e

            Bar Hayama in West LA? Smallish but stylish, nice outdoor fireplace, sushi plus varied menu, good sake pairings, relatively close to the 405, and should be within your budget even with drinks...


            1. re: bulavinaka

              Thanks barhayama, this place looks good, I'd never heard of it before but it definitely is what I'm looking for.

                1. re: J.L.

                  How's the decor? Is it romantic? I saw a pic of the fire pit wondered what the seating around it was like? Is it a bunch of little tables around the pit or one long table that goes around so your seated next to other people?

                  1. re: mh4e

                    there are a few tables adjacent to the fire pit. however, the majority of the seating is along the ring around the firepit itself.

                2. re: bulavinaka

                  OK, so I've changed my reservation to Bar Hayama and reserved seats by the fire pit. Any suggestions on what to order?

                  1. re: mh4e

                    Here's a list of my personal likes:
                    Age dashi dofu
                    Shishito peppers *
                    Garlic edamame
                    Crispy rice/spicy tuna
                    Blue fin tuna tartar
                    Blue fin tuna w/ blue cheese & shoyu
                    Ankimo pate'
                    Clams in broth *
                    Grilled ika w/ spicy mayo

                    * - not sure about availability/seasonal

                    Being that the topic of sushi can be a very personal thing if not extremely controversial, I can only speak for myself. My personal opinion on the quality of seafood at Bar Hayama is excellent. The sushi and sashimi are first rate. With that said, I'm not going to tell you that their offerings will rock your world. I personally think for that kind of experience, one who is well-versed in sushi needs to visit a house where sushi and only sushi is offered. Your personal tastes will dictate what you decide to choose from their selection. Rolls in general aren't my personal preference when ordering sushi, but I love salmon skin so their salmon skin roll is an easy-do for me, and their yellow tail/scallion roll is good too.

                    You might want to enquire about the specials as they tend to have good ones, and also ask if salmon (sake) collar or yellow tail (hamachi) collar is available. Since Bar Hayama does both sushi/sashimi and kozara menus, this should be available by default.

                    As a personal note, I've been pulling back from things like Blue fin and Chilean sea bass (another of their menu items) because they are on Seafood Watch's Avoid List. That's my personal choice. I don't know if Bar Hayama will have Black Cod (sablefish, gindara) when you go, but it is a superior substitute for Chilean sea bass, and is on Seafood Watch's Best Choice List. Usually prepared misozuke, misoyake, or kasazuke-style, it is my personal seafood favorite by far.

                    I'm usually not big on desserts at Japanese eateries since the standard Asian-theme ice creams are the norm, which are offered at Bar Hayama, but they do offer a fried bananas w/ ice cream dessert that is fried tempura-style and seems to be popular there.

                    If you have any inkling of if interest in the world of sake, this is the place that you need to do your "research." I'm not crazy about sake in general, but Bar Hayama has a very extensive list - the largest that I'm personally aware of - with a pretty decent breakdown by category/flavor profile, and they offer sake flights so you can sample a few at a time, as opposed to committing to buying a bottle or tokkuri (decanter). The servers are very helpful and accommodating in this area, so if you have any thoughts which you should, ask away...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      Thank you, that is such a huge help! I love yellowtail so I will definintely try the collar and the sushi. I'm not a big sake fan but my b/f is so I'm sure he will enjoy this place.

                      1. re: mh4e

                        You should give the wide choice of sake a try to put all doubts to rest - no rubbing alcohol here...

                    2. re: mh4e

                      If they have lobster bisque that night, get it!!

                  2. re: mh4e

                    About Boss - not romantic. but you could cuddle up together at the sushi bar and pretend no one else is there.

                3. I would strongly suggest Kiriko on Sawtelle Blvd. He is very strong in the sushi/sashimi department and has an extensive menu of cooked dishes as well, not just the usual teriyaki and tempura. He house smokes his own salmon and serves house made ice cream for dessert. Many people (Jonathan Gold for one) think Ken is the most unsung sushi chef in LA..

                  It's not a very large space -- long sushi bar and maybe about 8 tables; somewhat dark and spare in design, and I think it will easily meet your price range depending on what you choose to order.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: NAspy

                    I strongly agree 100% with your assessment, but addressing each of the OP's desires, she is stressing atmosphere as well - she wants it all!

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      Do you know if they are open on Sundays?

                      1. re: mh4e

                        Yes, I believe they are, but I think the hours are abbreviated. And as it's been said countless times, Sunday is not an optimal day for sushi, so if you're looking for a pristine sushi experience, Sunday is not the day...