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Sep 26, 2008 05:03 PM

Quality sushi in the Westlake/Agoura area?

I've got quite the hankering for some sushi tonight but I don't know where to go. Several people have recommended Agoura Sushi, but I was less than impressed w/ what I received for the amount that I paid. Can anyone recommend a different spot that they're fond of?

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  1. sunnygordy -- I've seen you around these parts before; I, too, live in Oak Park. I regret that we have not found any "quality sushi" in this area. Go into Calabasas to Shibuya or travel just a little further West to Iki Sushi on Ventura in Tarzana. If you want decent sushi for lunch, however, try Bristol Farms in Westlake Village.

    There is a sushi bar in the Four Seasons Hotel on Lindero Canyon (Onyx) but I believe it is open for dinner only. Additionally, Suki 7 in Westlake Village has a sushi bar, but I don't know how much traffic they have (which might translate to "fresh?") We ordered it at a table one night and it was quite good, but I have not yet been to the sushi bar there.

    For something chow-ish in this neighborhood, our two current favorites are Pookie's Thai in the WaterCourt Plaza on Hampshire Road and Korean BBQ out in Newbury Park at the Borchard exit.

    3 Replies
    1. re: liu

      What about this place?:
      Has anyone tried it yet? It's owned by the same folks who own Pookies...

      1. re: foodieqt

        It's good. The chef is young and really making an effort. Surely, I would give it a try.
        You can order sushi from here at Pookie's as well, if you want to mix-it-up a bit!

        1. re: liu

          I'm posting a little more than a year later, and this sushi bar that was related to Pookie's Thai is no longer there. An Indian restaurant, Bollywood, has taken this space.

          Bollywood Cafe
          11101 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

    2. I would skip the local area offerings and just head over to Shibuya as recommended by Liu. Didn't think much of Suki 7 when I was there.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sgee

        Sgee - Did you sit at the Suki 7 sushi bar? Was anything good?

        1. re: liu

          I did sit at the bar, just thought everything was run of the mill. Then again my usual places are Zo, Kiriko, Shibucho, Mori...

          I live in Agoura and Shibuya is my go to place if I'm lazy to drive.

      2. I have the same dilema. Have you tried Umi Sushi yet? It's on T.O/Lindero. I went recently and found it to be quite decent. The sushi chefs were adorable (Jake & Shin-G) and the fish was fesh and the portions generous. True, it's not up to par with the best, but it was good for Westlake/Agoura and the fact that it's close is a big plus -- especially with the killer gas prices. Check it out!

        1 Reply
        1. re: shoegal

          shoegal -- I tried Umi when they first opened; it was ok. However, my sushi friend really likes it -- and I trust her. Thanks for the reminder! I will keep it on my short list for our next dinner out.

        2. Paradise Sushi and Grill just opened in Thousand Oaks. You exit Moorpark and it is on your right, It's across the street from El Torito

          9 Replies
          1. re: mbfloyd

            Thanks for this information, mbfloyd!
            I can't wait to read some Hound reports about this place.
            mbfloyd -- Have you been there yet?

            1. re: liu

              Liu, what are your thoughts on Sushi Raku?

              1. re: puppychao

                Hi, puppychao!

                I trust you are referring to Sushi Raku on Kanan in Agoura Hills near the freeway.

                When they first opened, I found that they were trying very hard to please their customers AND they were turning out some nice, quality dishes. It was nothing to compare with some others on the Boulevard in the SF Valley; still, it was quite good for a neighborhood place. This did not last long, however.

                I went there a number of times, and each time I found it to be less serious and a little frivolous. They lost a couple of their good chefs who started there, and the chefs that were there seemed to be serving more rolls...they were trying to appeal to their customers with far less care about quality.

                I have not been there in a couple of years now, so I can not speak to how it is today. I stopped going for a reason (I believe I became ill once) and I have not returned. I hope someone else can chime in about their current quality.

                1. re: liu

                  The downward spiral of Sushi Raku started when the original owners sold it.

                  Raku Restaurant
                  11678 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                  1. re: creamfinger

                    Thanks, creamfinger, for confirming what I "knew."
                    Surely, in the beginning, I was quite hopeful; it was good!

                    Have you been there recently? Should we all give it another taste?

                    1. re: liu

                      I have been there recently. Pricey and mediocre. That said, it was crowded. Maybe my standards are too high.

                      1. re: creamfinger

                        Well, since the title of the post is about "quality sushi," the obvious question is: where, then?

                        I have been excited about a couple of sushi bars in the area that have, over time, disappointed me. I really liked Kaminari off Village Glen in Westlake Village, but their air circulation is not good. I walk out reeking of tempura-fry. Also, I don't think their quality is nearly as good as what it used to be...although I think it is better than most other sushi bars around.

                        I used to like the sushi bar at the intersection of Kanan and Lindero Canyon in the Pavilion's center. It is good, but quite expensive...and again, has declined in quality from when it first opened.

                        I'm searching right along with the poster here. Help! Is there any good sushi in this general Agoura/Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks area?

                        1. re: liu

                          I went to Kaminari for the first time a couple months ago.... Could not wait to get out.. bad bad bad ... 'nuff said

              2. re: liu

                The menu only has about a dozen suggestions, but the sushi chefs are top notch and can make you anything you want.

                I live a few blocks away and I eat at Paradise all the time. They usually just make me something that I end up loving before I even know what I want.

                I was there on Sunday, and they had a young guy at the bar mixing drinks. I had a plum wine soda and Japanese Mimosa with my Yellow Tail Sashimi

            2. Anyone been to Kanda Sushi in Westlake?

              3637 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
              Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

              (805) 230-0101

              19 Replies
              1. re: Sgee

       it new? Have you been?
                Where is it in relation to something else we locals might know?

                1. re: liu

                  Ok, just returned from Kanda Sushi (got this tip from a customer during lunch at Go's today).... drum-roll please......

                  Wooohooo! Finally some decent sushi in the area.

                  We ordered, Hon-Maguro, Hamachi, Iwashi, Shima-Aji, Tai, Aburi Saba (very good), Uni, Amaebi, Ebodai, just to scope things out. Glad to report all were very good. I also like the fact that he doesn't drown the Hikari-mono varieties with ponzu, just a light drizzle, it doesn't sit in a huge puddle like I encounter so often. Sushi sizes were just right, not too large and well formed.

                  The itamae is very much a traditionalist and he was lamenting how so many customers come in requesting mega rolls wrapped in soy paper drowned in heavy sauces. For the most part he's kept the menu fairly traditional and has successfully resisted succumbing to the stereotypical suburban westernized sushi bar formula. My hats off to him for holding his ground.

                  I can definitely see this as my regular neighborhood go to sushi bar. The sushi bar itself is actually quite nicely designed too. Worth checking out!!!

                  PS: Liu, it's located in the same strip mall as the Melting Pot right across from the car dealerships.

                  1. re: Sgee

                    Thanks, Sgee! I now know exactly where it is!

                    Yiiiippppeeeee! Finally! I can't wait to try it.

                    I am encouraged by quite a few things you said; I don't love sushi that swims in Ponzu, and I am very much into the more tradiional sushi. Kanda sounds very promising and I appreciate the details of your post!

                    P.S. Although I haven't been to Go's in awhile, I used to love it!
                    Is it still as good as it was a few years ago?
                    My only complaint was that it was very slow; dinner would take hours and lunch was at least an hour or more. But I loved all the special toppings on the nigiri items. He is very creative!

                    1. re: liu

                      I am quite fond of Go's; usually drop by at least once a month. It still operates at a 'leisurely' pace and I would allot between 1.5 to 2hrs for lunch. Feels like hanging out in someone's home kitchen, lots of fun.

                      btw here's Kanda's website.

                      1. re: Sgee

                        Thanks, Sgee, for the Kanda link. I was having some difficulty with it last night, but your link works fine. It definitely looks like the kind of sushi I will enjoy.

                        I still like Iki Sushi (not to be confused with Ike) in Tarzana on Ventura Boulevard; have you been there? If Kanda is good, however, it will save me the drive into the San Fernando Valley since Kanda is in my Conejo neighborhood.

                        I will report back after my initial visit.

                        1. re: liu

                          I've only been to Iki once, recollect they had very good sea urchin served directly from the shell. Have to check it out again soon.

                    2. re: Sgee

                      Dropped by Kanda Sushi for dinner again today. Happy to report that my first visit last week was not a fluke. Some highlights of the evening were:

                      - Nicely marbled otoro brushed lightly with soy sauce.
                      - White Salmon, taste like a cross between albacore and salmon.
                      - A selection of good quality hikari-mono varieties - shima-aji, aji and kohada.
                      - Still love the aburi saba from the last time.
                      - Got a bonus treat of stewed octopus, topped with some shaved bonito flakes. Rustic and tasty.
                      - The highlight of the evening for me was the Japanese sea urchin, excellent. Unlike the more common west coast variety, the color is more of an orange hue and much smaller sized individual lobes. Taste wise, oceany, briny, clean and clear taste. I definitely prefer this over the usual local species. Very nice.

                      One minor negative for the evening. We ordered some tempura, while it had the right textured batter, it was in the fryer for probably 10 - 15 seconds longer than necessary. The crust ended up darker than it should be. Having said that it was still superior to most tempura served in other restaurants around the area.

                      As we were chatting with Mitsu, he reminds me of Shibucho in Costa Mesa when it first opened back in 2003. Mitsu like Shibutani coming out of retirement after a successful career with nothing more to prove. Genuinely passionate about their profession and a desire to run establishments true to their ideals. You can see it from the touches such as the very clean, sushi bar oriented kitchen layout and equipment. The fish fillets are displayed on ti leaf lined plates in the refrigerated section along the bar. Size and proportion of rice to fish of the sushi.

                      I was disappointed to observe by around 8:45pm save for one additional table in the rear dining area we were the only customers remaining. I hope this was due to the Easter weekend.

                      Highly recommended if you are seeking high quality sushi in the Conejo Valley! Save for Go's and maybe Iki, I think you have to venture west to at least Studio City to find a place of this caliber.

                      1. re: Sgee

                        I just visited Kanda for the first time. It was mostly empty when I was there as well. I can only guess that it's because they don't serve western style sushi (which is a big plus for me) and that the prices are on the high side. As for the quality, I was very impressed. I was also impressed with the selection and presentaion. I will definitely go back.

                        1. re: creamfinger

                          Sgee and creamfinger --
                          I'm reading with great interest; I'm so glad to hear that you are pleased with the quality. Thanks for posting with the specifics!

                          I am anxiously looking to try it very soon.

                          1. re: liu

                            We ate lunch at Kanda today and were very pleased. Prices were high but so was the quality of the fish. We will definitely go back.

                  2. re: Sgee

                    I have to say the sushi bar (Sayka) in the Pavilion's center next to Rustico is very good. Chef does not make a great amount of rolls but the sushi is very good and very fresh, I would go back more often but it is a bit expensive. Good luck and let us know how it is.

                    Rustico Restaurant
                    1125 Lindero Canyon Rd Ste A1, Westlake Village, CA 91362

                    1. re: gdodgerfan

                      gdodgerfan, have you been to Sayka recently?
                      I've been a couple of times and thought that the second time was not as good as the first. As you, I thought it was a bit expensive.
                      If you have been recently and liked it, I might try it again. It is in my neighborhood.

                      1125 Lindero Canyon Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91362

                    2. re: Sgee

                      Hi, Sgee!
                      Remembering your recommendation, we had lunch at Kanda Sushi today...I ordered a chicken burrito. Nah, just kidding; it's in the old Mexican restaurant spot.
                      What a transformation Mitsu-san has accomplished. Kanda is very pretty inside: nice lights, nice copper on the cold case, nice bar and nice restroom! Also, the table area is very nice...almost elegant. I saw it only in day light, but I can imagine that the lighting at night is quite nice.

                      I remember Mitsu-san from Sushi Tei in the Pavilion's shopping center at Kanan and Lindero Canyon. I opted for an omakase lunch and he served me a variety of nigiri items. All were good...some were better than others. Nothing really wow'd me except the Japanese uni; that was very special. For our grand finale, he served us a cooked scallop plate with steamed uni. I had never had steamed uni; while my preference remains with the raw version, the steamed uni had a very different flavor. I love to be introduced to new tastes and I think a good sushi chef does that.

                      Overall, Mitsu-san was very accommodating, friendly and really working hard to please. He has a good variety of fish to offer and he takes great pride in what he does. To my taste, Kanda is not as good as Go or as good as some of the sushi bars east of Winnetka. However, it is the best we have in this area...and better than Kaminari (near Bauducco's Italian).

                      We were there for about an hour plus, from noon to 1:15 and during that time there were only a few other diners. I do hope he does well.

                      Kanda Sushi
                      3637 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                      1. re: liu

                        Hi Liu,

                        Glad you got a chance to check the place out. I agree Go's is definitely better, and can't beat the better sushi bars in LA (Zo, Mori etc). Granted, dinner for 2 at Kanda is about 1/2 of what I spend at the other places, better on my wallet :-)

                        For my wife and I, I think we are just overjoyed to finally find a place in the area that is respectable for nights when we have a hankering for sushi but not up for a drive or dealing with traffic.

                        I do hope he does well especially considering how much better he is vs. practically everything around the area. Also hoping if business picks up, he can afford to increase the variety of fishes/shellfish offered daily.

                        1. re: Sgee

                          1/2 the price of Go's is still pretty expensive.

                          1. re: creamfinger

                            creamfinger -- very funny...and true!
                            Actually, my lunch was not so much at Kanda...before gratuity: ~$32.
                            Go's is MUCH more -- the moment you sit down!

                            1. re: liu

                              I wonder of Go's would consider a "no gold flake" omakase. That would cut costs by at least 20% right there.

                              1. re: creamfinger

                                This is a very funny wonder, creamfinger!

                                It is a nice touch, though he does use it pretty liberally.
                                I love all the accents on my sushi; I love the yuzu paste and the sea salt and the ginger...
                                Having experienced Go's touch, I feel as though the nigiri is naked when served without these toppings in other sushi bars.

                          2. re: Sgee

                            "Also hoping if business picks up, he can afford to increase the variety of fishes/shellfish offered daily."

                            Sgee...I was thinking exactly the same! I believe Mitsu-san is capable of going to the next level, but he will have to get busier to do that.