Cheaper Studio City Sushi Row options?
Long and short: I usually do omakase at Tama, but $ is tight, I owe a business contact a dinner, and I'm looking for a cheaper option or two on sushi row for tonight. There's what, dozens of sushi joints? Obviously most of them suck -- there is no such thing as good all-you-can-eat sushi -- but what of all the others? Thanks in advance.
If you don't mind going west to Sherman Oaks, I recommend Iwata (Van Nuys & Ventura, in the mini-mall w/ El Torito, Manhattan Bagels, etc). Not cheap, but less expensive than Tama (which I also love, but agree can be $$). Also less $$ than other places I know in Studio City (Iroha, Katsuya, Ahi). Iwata's fish is always delicious & fresh; very casual though for a business dinner. Sushi bar is comfortable however.
I make the following suggestions with some caveats:
Sushi 101 - it is not on sushi row but it is in Studio City and it used to be good but began slipping when some young and creative chefs left and I stopped going as a result. I really don't know how good it is anymore but it used to be okay.
Sushi Don Sasabune - not on sushi row and really not much on ambience or selection but the fish is good and they proprietor is really nice. Not really a place for business entertaining.
I have never been to Chiba in North Hollywood but a lot of people swear by it.
IN Sherman Oaks, Taka is a little cheaper (on Van Nuys, off of Ventura) Good fish, too. Nice ambiance, and always a friendly itame.
When I want a less expensive fix, I do AYCE at Midori. It really can be pretty good.
Still, I would go to House of Taka.
Don Sasabune is good, but sorta strip mall fast foody inside.
Also good is Sushi Delivery, USE on Riverside near coldwater. They DO serve in house as well as deliver, and it is pretty dang good stuff.
Then again, if it is a business contact, I would not worry about $$. The contact boosting alone is worth a little extra.
Unless you're looking to end your business relationship with this person I would avoid Midori like the plague. I can imagine no better way to show in one fell swoop that you are not only super cheap, but have horrible taste in restaurants. Midori may have been somewhat decent in the first six months it was open, but now it's purely reserved for people who want to eat A LOT and don't particularly care about quality or taste. Blah pieces of tasteless fish, cut deli slicer thin, that are set upon rice meteors so larger that they probably have their own gravity and weather system. Also, every roll seems to be coated with tempura residue and is either drenched in eel sauce or some form a mayonnaise. Yuck... I say again YUCK!
See, I don't eat rolls, that's not sushi to me.
I don't know which Midori you've been going to, but the Encino branch has good size cuts.-the same as many places and often thicker. maybe I just get that from the itame, I don't know. It isn't Asanebo quality, but then again, every time I go, something shines crazily good.
Midori has been open for a while, and I go every other month or so (I eat out once a week in a good month, so I don't get to go out often-a fitness thing and a money thing.
Katsu-ya does have a really good deal...I always get the Chirashi and it's about $13. This isn't your ordinary "fake crab" Chirashi, but it's the chef's selection, usually including giant clam, REAL crab, and a great assortment of fish.
Chiba is delicious as well but definitely not cheap. It's not outrageous, just average prices I guess, but you definitely get your money's worth and the quality is terrific.