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Sep 7, 2008 04:47 PM

Mori Update

Had another spectacular meal at Mori last night. As always, the rice was spot on. The bluefin toro (about a 4 on a 1-5 fatty scale) was spectacular. Also, Mori-san may have started to prepare his own anago. I hope this means we'll soon be seeing freshly prepared unagi. Current offerings include:

-Halibut fin: scored and dusted with yuzu zest and sea salt. Not usually a fan of engawa but this one was fatty and sweet.
-Tai no konbu jime. Snapper marinated in kelp. Always a treat.
-Inada: delicious. The meat firmer and more complex than farm raised hamachi.
-"baby Kanpachi". I asked him to repeat the name twice, it sounded like "kiosh" but I can't find the japanese name anywhere. It contrasted well with the inada. The baby kanpachi have a slightly stronger taste.
-big eye toro. Good but...
-honmaguro toro. Spectacular. It was good to have the big eye toro before so the quality and flavor really stood out.
-kohada. Okay but not as good as I've had.
-Aji. Spectacular. No fishiness.
-ikura no shoyu zuke. good, but I've had better...from Mori.
-Santa Barbara Uni. Superb.
-Torched barracuda
-Aori ika. Okay
-Tako. Okay. Not a fan of octopus usually
-Second helping of honmagura toro. "The last of the toro," says Mori, "Before the dinner rush arrives."
-Torched albacore.
-Anago. Mori was coy when I asked but I believe he may have prepared it himself. I need to try it again to be sure or better yet, see freshly grilled unagi on the menu.
-Minced toro and scallion hand-roll. The nori used by Mori is amazing. As good in quality as the one used by the master Yasuda. Thick, crispy, unbelievably flavorful
-Second helpings of inada, baby kanpachi, and uni

Finished the meal with matsutake dobinmushi. Spectacular. Sitting in front of Mori definitely elevates the quality of sushi by at least a point. A table seating 2 weeks prior was slightly disappointing. In the 100/pp price range, Mori still remains my LA favorite.

Side note. The Allagash beers are very good. I recommend the darker one. Belgium in style.

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  1. (sigh)... I need to try the bar again at Mori. My last 3 visits there (all table seating, not bar) have been ordinary.

    3 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      I would recommend trying the bar and specifically in front of Mori-san. My first and only table seating last week was by far the weakest experience over the past 3 or 4 years. But then again, that is true of all sushi restaurants. My only beef with Mori is that it can be tough to snag 1 of the 4 seats in front of him. I also wish he would increase his variety by 5 or 10 types of fish but that's just the glutton in me.

      1. re: Porthos

        Great review! I've been several times and enjoyed all my meals. I have sat both at the counter and at a table. Which ita-san is Mori? Which side is he on? I thought one time the ita-san was named Maru-san.

        1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

          The one closest to the door.

          And I just remembered that the santa barbara spot prawn was also standout. Coarse salt, yuzu juice and sudachi zest.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. thank you for the report, Porthos. I had a fine meal there as well last month. I will make sure to have Mori's toro hand roll, as Yasuda's is the best I've had, by far. It is extraordinary in his hands and barely tolerable elsewhere. This week I had Zo, which was dreamily good (but the toro wasn't incredible, like Mori's). I also agree that it is essential to sit with Mori at the bar.

        1. Great review Porthos. :)

          It's great to hear that Mori-san is serving Honmaguro Toro, *and* you just reminded me of the the Matsutake Dobinmushi that we talked about last month.

          If I may ask, how much did it end up being per person?

          I'll have to try and make another visit soon.

          8 Replies
          1. re: exilekiss

            "In the 100/pp price range, Mori still remains my LA favorite."

            1. re: Servorg

              Hi Servorg,

              Yah I saw that part. (^_~) I may be splitting hairs, but I wanted to get a more accurate picture of the pricing. When I went for my only dinner experience at Mori, our total bill came out to be ~$263 per person, which I felt was a little high compared to the quality (which was great, but Zo offered a close experience at half that price). So I was just curious if it was closer to $100 - 150, or $151 - 199. :)

              1. re: exilekiss

                I have trouble understanding how Porthos gets away for the cost he does at Mori, especially when you consider the items he eats. Maybe the trick is to show your AAA card? ;-D

                1. re: Servorg

                  That's why omakase at the bar and chatting with the itame is key, it gives him some leeway in what he charges. No doubt ordering ala carte would have killed me. The bluefin toro alone would have been $15-$20 per piece at least. The receipt was actually $235.26 before tip. To clarify, only I got second helpings of the inada, baby kanpachi, and uni. My little sister bowed out after the handroll. She did have a second helping of the bluefin toro though.

                2. re: exilekiss

                  E-kiss. Before tip it was $238 total for 2, including $30 worth of beer and 1 order of dobinmushi. I think your last Mori visit was a lot more based on the fact you and your party went ballistic on their excellent premium sake selection? Very understandable given their selection.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    I don't understand how you got everything you listed for $104pp. Especially with the second helpings.

                    1. re: slacker

                      i agree. i go alone and can easily hit 200 plus sake. i would love it to be half that.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Hi Porthos,

                      Thanks for the clarification. :) Yah, when we went, I chatted with Mori-san in Japanese and found him to be a great Itamae; very humble and approachable. And yes, when I went, my Sushi Hounds and I ordered some of the nice premium Sake that Mori-san recommended to go with that night's fish and dishes he was preparing. (^_~)

                      That certainly added to the cost, but whenever I visit any of my favorite Sushi restaurants around town, we also order good / premium Sake. That night we went, my companions and I drank about the same amount of Sake as our visits to Zo or Shibucho, etc., but the price difference was much more. To be fair the Sake that Mori-san recommended was amazing, and I haven't found it on a menu since. :) I definitely want to go back, so we'll see how it fares on our next visit. Thanks.