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Sep 24, 2008 07:29 PM

Sushi Wasabi vs Shibucho vs Kasen - which one?

I hate starting the old "best sushi" argument, but which of these 3 is the best? I plan on hitting one of them up b/c my GF wants some good sushi

Fyi, I'm staying at home in OC, don't have time for LA b/c this is a short trip home, trying to pack everything into a busy few days

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  1. btw what about Kingyo? thats probably the most convienent for me, but they are all close

    ive heard great things, but the people who told me are much less foodie than most chowhounders

    1 Reply
    1. I haven't been to Shibucho, but definitely Wasabi over Kasen. Wasabi is a contender for the best sushi in OC in my opinion, while Kasen was just ok.

      Here's my omakase experience at Sushi Wasabi:

      My omakase at Kasen was far less successful:

      1. Hi Lau,

        Glad to see you're still in So Cal for a bit. :) For Orange County, my old favorite used to be Shibucho (still enjoy seeing Shibutani-san from time-to-time), but I've found Maki Zushi to be my new favorite in the area. Here's my review for the place:

        1 Reply
        1. re: exilekiss

          ahh thx dagrassroots, kevin h and exilekiss

          hmm maki looks very good, i made reservations at wasabi and kingyo last night, but maybe ill switch to maki....i'm debating between the proven maki / wasabi or whether i should be a chowhounder and try something new (kingyo) and report back

        2. Having been to all of them several times. It really depends on your Style? If you want the Calif Fusion experience then Maki is not bad but not even close to Taiko when it comes to quality Fusion. I use Maki for Take out Platters for novices.

          Stay away from Frenzy, just awful.
          Our style is more Traditional which would make Wasabi and Shubicho the obvious choices, Kasen is fantastic if you let the Chef go loose, not cheap either.
          Wasabi is our normal go to spot when in OC but like I said earlier we go to all of these Sushi Bars plus most of the others. Blue Fin OMAKASE is always good but not as good as Wasabi.
          Get in your car and drive to Sushi Zo (w.l.a) and have the best. If not on a budget then Urasawa for the overall Japanese experience.

          7 Replies
          1. re: russkar

            Regarding Kasen, how do you make the chef "go loose?" Was merely ordering "omakase" not enough?

            1. re: kevin h


              If Zasen knows you and receives some notice he'll make some of the best Omakase available in So Cal. The problem is most Americans aren't fans of Authentic Japanese Sushi. ie: Fluke Fin, Sperm Sack (fugu & monkfish), Abalone Liver, etc. Kasen has a large amount of Japanese customers.
              Shubicho in CM is also very capable. The Shubicho in LA is really great.

              1. re: russkar

                russkar - as far as style is concerned, i like authentic, i am not a fan of fusion generally and ill eat just about anything...if uve ever been to NY my general spots are yasuda and 15 east (throw in kuruma every once in a while, but price can get kind of ridiculous)

                is there a big price differential between wasabi and maki? im debating between those two (i kind of feel like i should try kingyo, but my gf is here, so im sorta of leaning toward the proven places right now)

                also re: Bluefin, i posted a reply a while back on exilekiss's post, but i've found that place to be pretty disappointing....ive tried it several times on the recs of some of my non-foodie type friends and consistently walked out feeling ehh about it

                1. re: Lau

                  Hi Lau,

                  I actually visited Wasabi as well a while back. Total cost-wise, it was the same at both restaurants for our visits, so given the choice, I enjoyed Sakamoto-san at Maki for their great variety and rare items.


                  Here's a second visit to Maki with more thoughts from Chowhounders:


            2. re: russkar

              Hi russkar,

              Definitely agree if Lau wants to get the best, then Lau should head up to L.A. for Urasawa or Zo. :)

              Just curious if you've ever had traditional Omakase with Chef Sakamoto at Maki Zushi? I was at first taken aback on my first visit because of its huge Fusion Menu (and I don't eat Fusion, so I can't comment on that quality), but Chef-Owner Sakamoto only handles the traditional Omakase orders, while he leaves most of the fusion prep to his other Sushi Chef. Sakamoto-san's traditional Omakase is definitely on par if not better than Sushi Wasabi and Shibucho (OC), IMHO.

              1. re: exilekiss

                I'd def go up to LA if I had time, but this is a short trip and I've got to take care of a bunch of stuff to take care of down here...Urasawa is among the top of my lists of LA restaurants that I haven't been to

                1. re: exilekiss

                  I went to Make for the second time for omakase this Weds. I was again totally blown away by the unique variety of fish from all over the world. with the I had some of the best toro ever (from Italy) and live Uni!!!

                  One should not judge this place as a fusion only place. Maki Zushi is like two restaurants in one.

              2. Just went to Shibucho for the first time this week while in OC, and it's excellent, but very serious. Your every move is watched and evaluated before it is decided what is served next. As anyone who regularly reads these boards knows, there is much debate on this type of sushi experience. The best part of this is, after watching how we eat, order, pour soy sauce, et al, we were treated to some special fish not in the main sushi case. The downside is, the formality coupled with some too bright lights and complete silence (no music or other customers) made the dinner a bit taxing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cls

                  I never felt like Shibucho was that serious or austere, even my first time there, and I'm pretty easily intimidated by that sort of thing. Then again, maybe my memory is skewed because the Shibutani family knows me well now. No music doesn't bother me, and the lights make taking photos easier. ;-) Shibutani-san even arranges the sushi on my plate for better composition.

                  I was just there again last night. Good to see Naga-san back, though he was obviously hurting. The toro seemed lower-grade than usual, but the uni was fresher, and they had some very nice salmon, hotate, mirugai, and ika.