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Best Sushi In LA?? Where??

lasushiblog Dec 17, 2008 02:25 PM

Who has the best sushi in LA?

  1. j
    jay 1 Dec 26, 2008 10:51 AM

    i have been to mori and hide. i though mori was very good but not great.....or worth the $. i have been eating at katsu-ya in encino lately. reading the posts here, it is clearly not a sushi only place, and i'm guessing may not be viewed highly. since i've been enjoying both the nigiri and some of the sauced dishes, i'm curious how others rate this place. are there places in the valley that are better?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jay 1
      kevin Dec 26, 2008 01:24 PM

      sushi yotsuya is good in the valley, and i'm a fan of nozawa but others are not, and kazu is pretty good, although the sushi chef there is the real tyrant.

    2. u
      usapv Dec 23, 2008 10:30 PM

      The debate will always rage on about who has the best sushi. We all have our favorites but take away everything but the sushi... Sushi Zo is my choice. Why do I like Zo? No baloney... No California Rolls, No Spider Rolls, No Tempura Rolls. Just nigiri sushi and temaki sushi just like regular sushi bars in Japan. Sure I enjoy Kaiten Sushi and I think Hide Sushi is great as well, but that is like comparing McDonalds to Black Angus and Black Angus to Spago. Don't get me wrong... I like McDonalds and love Black Angus, but there is a time and place for those. Zo is about the quality and flavor of the fish... not the sauce (soy or other type of sauce) which can overflavor sushi or hide bad fish. Zo's food can be simple because he uses only the finest fish and ingredients. I have been fortunate to have dined at some of the finest sushi bars in Japan as a guest of top executives of major companies in Japan . When I return the favor in LA and take them to Sushi Zo, they are blown away by the authenticity, flavor and quality of sushi available at Sushi Zo. Final thought... If you think sushi is expensive in LA, try some of these super high hidden gems in Tokyo and anything in LA WILL SEEM A LOT CHEAPER. $300+ per person is not unheard of at some of these establishments in Tokyo. $500+ is the record for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: usapv
        kevin Dec 24, 2008 08:23 AM

        sushi zo in my opinion is very very very expensive compared to all the other la omakase joints. but the fish for the most part is very good, i think i had closed to 20 single pieces including a tuna sashimi, and for its breath in variety it beats a lot of places hands down. i did have one atrociously disgusting piece of sushi, with a disgusting sauce, that did not work at all, which soured some of the people, so i'll have to request they don't serve tghat next time. but even if you restrain yourself you will not get out of here for less than $100 per person, not including tax, tips, or drinks.

      2. b
        batfink23 Dec 23, 2008 09:38 PM

        just went to zo, and had 2 thoughts :
        1. that it was really good, very fresh, super light, lithe textures. beautifullty flavoured pieces properly seasoned etc,
        2. how much better immeasurably better urasawa is. impossibly superior.

        1 Reply
        1. re: batfink23
          kevin Dec 24, 2008 08:23 AM

          lots of breath in the variety, but expensive to boot.

        2. ChloeBear Dec 19, 2008 12:52 PM

          Hide on Sawtelle and Olympic has the best SUSHI. Simple sashimi, sushi, and a few basic rolls. The yellowtail literally melts in your mouth. The albacore and scallop special roll tie as my second. The quality is top knotch. It's very inexpensive; however, it's also cash only and they don't take reservations.

          If you're looking for crazy and exotic rolls, Kaya Sushi in Marina del Rey (and I think they opened one up in El Segundo)...their menu is overwhelming because there are so many types of rolls. On the pricier side, but I feel you're getting your money's worth...the rolls are large, the presentation is beautiful, and most importantly the fish is fresh.

          9 Replies
          1. re: ChloeBear
            kevin Dec 19, 2008 01:13 PM

            hide is only good at it's price range. but it is nowhere near the BEST SUSHI IN TOWN.

            1. re: kevin
              lasushiblog Dec 19, 2008 06:22 PM

              Just came back from HIDE. Was just OK.... Kiriko, which is a couple blocks down is slightly more expensive but much better.

              1. re: lasushiblog
                kevin Dec 19, 2008 07:28 PM

                Yes, of course, Kiriko is in a whole different price range. it also has some very unique ice cream flavors like black sesame, white truffle, matcha green tea, etc. it's good stuff. their sushi is good too though not amazing, but by far is it the best along the sawtelle corridor.

                1. re: lasushiblog
                  westsidegal Dec 25, 2008 09:49 PM

                  if by, "slightly more expensive," you mean 35% to 55% more expensive, then i concur.
                  to me, kiriko would be described as "substantially more expensive."

                2. re: kevin
                  westsidegal Dec 21, 2008 11:53 AM

                  i completely concur with you, kevin.
                  said as a regular customer of hide.

                3. re: ChloeBear
                  lasushiblog Dec 19, 2008 02:28 PM

                  I am going to Hide at 5:30 - Will have to chime in later

                  1. re: ChloeBear
                    J.L. Dec 19, 2008 09:44 PM

                    Hide is good for those on a leaner budget. But Hide is, by no means, anywhere even remotely close to being the best sushi in L.A.

                    1. re: ChloeBear
                      batfink23 Dec 20, 2008 09:15 AM

                      Hi Chloe,

                      I'm sure Hide is great, and is a great option in its class.

                      I think the opening post was more in the line of not best, as in the OMG what do you really, more in the absolute qualitative sense.

                      will check out Hide, but again a great sushi place is not going to be judged by its "rolls".

                      1. re: batfink23
                        Jerome Dec 20, 2008 04:27 PM

                        exactly. this isn't "Oh my god this is SOOOOOO the best sushi, really, no kidding check out the spider roll" best.

                        it's "are they really allowed to sell fugu liver here and is the gold leaf really edible?" best.

                    2. b
                      batfink23 Dec 19, 2008 11:42 AM

                      Bottom Line:

                      Urasawa and its not even very close.

                      there is no debate.

                      1. m
                        manku Dec 17, 2008 09:05 PM

                        Just don't go to Nozawa...I went tonite for the first time in a couple years. I had forgotten how dreary and awful the room is, and the mood of the employees is a combination of surly and bored.

                        As for the chow, I ate at a table. Ordered four orders....the crab roll, once their pride and joy, is now a desicated, thin tube with a little rice and crab wrapped by a SOGGY sheet of seaweed. The other sushi - albacore, yellowtail, tuna and salmon was all OK, but the presentation was so bad (fish just slapped on top of rice, not formed or molded) that it detracted from the flavor.

                        This place makes Sasubune look like Urusawa!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: manku
                          kevin Dec 18, 2008 10:00 AM

                          i do have a soft spot for nozawa, after all he is the ULTIMATE inspiration for the copykats out there. most sushi chefs/copies are acolytes of him, such as hikko, sasabune, even probably the much herarlded zo. he may have gotten a little sloppy in the past few years, but the last time i was there the fish was still super fresh if highly sauced.

                        2. f
                          Faim Dec 17, 2008 08:40 PM

                          HIKO SUSHI is reasonable and delicious
                          There is no "scene"just fresh fish.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: Faim
                            lasushiblog Dec 17, 2008 10:08 PM

                            I agree, Hiko is un-pretentious and just plain good

                            1. re: lasushiblog
                              kevin Dec 18, 2008 09:58 AM

                              I wasn't too fond of Hikko. Both Sasabune and Nozawa are better. But Hikko has a much better sake list (compared to the nonexistent one at nozawa and the limited on at sasabune) and it's less of a scene than the other places. It is very expensive though, one day I had a budget of $50 for lunch and almost ate nothing. I had a piece of toro sushi, a piece of maguro, the sashimi - albacore showered with un-necessary sesame seed (the sesame seeds really really really detracted from the dish).

                              1. re: kevin
                                lasushiblog Dec 18, 2008 02:59 PM

                                I agree about the $$$. I went for dinner and had the omakase, after 5 dishes I was left with a hefty bill and was still hungry. The fish was great, but not nearly enough for the price. Sasabune's japanese style omakase gave us almost 3x that amount.

                                1. re: lasushiblog
                                  yahtzeemm Dec 22, 2008 09:16 PM

                                  I don't understand why people who like real omakase sushi (e.g., Zo) like Sasabune. I just decided to give the place one more chance. It is no good. Perhaps I should have announced myself as a real sushi eater when I sat down, maybe they just saw a white American girl and assumed I wanted crap. Out of about 10 pieces of nigiri, four - count them, four - were tuna variations, including an "iced toro" whose inventor should be fired. The rest were also mundane - salmon, halibut, albacore, etc. The scallop was good, but that was because it was one of the very few pieces not to be oversauced. I eat sushi with my hands, not chopsticks, but still some of the pieces were falling apart right away because of too much sauce. There is no subtlety in the saucing. Oh, and did I mention that the fish was presliced??? I could not have been more disappointed - and that's the way I felt the last 2 times too, so now I'm saying goodbye to Sasabune. If you are a relative sushi novice who has recently made the jump from rolls to nigiri and you want to try some omakase, perhaps this place is for you. For true sushi purists, I just don't understand why anyone would like it.

                                  1. re: yahtzeemm
                                    Porthos Dec 22, 2008 09:38 PM

                                    It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. That's the way they do "sushi" at Sasabune.

                                    Join the Mori camp. You'll be much happier.

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      yahtzeemm Dec 22, 2008 10:05 PM

                                      I tried Mori once, and don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but I wasn't blown away the way I am every time at Zo and it was more expensive. For some variety, maybe I'll head back to Mori again though. When I can't hit Zo, I go to Sushi Sushi, which although nowhere near Zo/Mori, is very nice nigiri, always good fish quality and selection.

                                      1. re: yahtzeemm
                                        westsidegal Dec 22, 2008 10:35 PM

                                        i TOTALLY concur with you yahtzeemm.

                                        1. re: yahtzeemm
                                          Porthos Dec 23, 2008 07:56 AM

                                          At Mori, it's the rice, knifework, nori, etc that are impressive. Zo has a larger variety of fish which I like. It all depends how much emphasis you place on each component of sushi. I'm probably 50% rice, 40% fish (quality and selection), and 10% other (knifework, molding, fresh wasabi, fresh yuzu and sudachi, etc.)

                                      2. re: yahtzeemm
                                        Akitist Dec 23, 2008 07:37 AM

                                        The deal behind omakase is that there is a rapport between the chef and diner. That needs to be developed. It's not reasonable to expect the chef to know what you like or how adventurous you are on a first visit.

                                        Why do I get the impression that for some people "omakase" translates as "you make my decisions for me and if you get it wrong I'll be peeved"?

                                        1. re: Akitist
                                          yahtzeemm Dec 23, 2008 11:07 AM

                                          I could not agree with you more, on the basic level that it is about rapport. That is why Sasabune failed. The chef would disappear immediately after handing me my piece, getting no feedback from me about what I liked or didn't, not seeing whether I was using chopsticks or hands (which should dictate how tightly the rice is packed), etc. At other sushi bars such as Zo, Mori, Sushi Sushi, Echigo, I have never had a problem with the chef recognizing very soon into my visit what I was up for. So it is not about mindreading, it is about a relationship which can and should begin to develop on a first visit. Sasabune didn't make any effort to do that.

                                          1. re: yahtzeemm
                                            luhkee Dec 24, 2008 03:00 PM

                                            Thanks for confirming why I should not worry that I still have not been to Sasabune. Sounds pretty uninviting and impersonal, and "iced toro" gives me the heebies. I don't even want to know what that is.

                                            I agree with Porthos, and am part of the Mori Camp, for an overall experience.

                                            By the way, I hit yahtzee on 1s three times in a row yesterday...Sorry to stray Chow, but that's pretty exciting!

                              2. t
                                TailbackU Dec 17, 2008 08:20 PM

                                I haven't been to Urasawa but I'm going to assume he's the best. Out of places I've been, I would say:

                                Sushi Zo
                                Sasabune (distant 3rd)

                                1. lasushiblog Dec 17, 2008 06:51 PM

                                  Recently went to Kiriko in WLA and it was great.. the live sweet shrimp was amazing

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: lasushiblog
                                    westsidegal Dec 17, 2008 07:25 PM

                                    the shrimp was still moving when i last had it.

                                    1. re: Poeticalmath
                                      ns1 Dec 19, 2008 12:10 PM

                                      if by gross you mean awesome!

                                    2. re: lasushiblog
                                      J.L. Dec 18, 2008 04:58 PM

                                      Kiriko and The Hump both have that "moving shrimp head" phenomenon goin' on

                                    3. j
                                      jenngen Dec 17, 2008 06:24 PM

                                      Kazu in Studio City

                                      1. k
                                        kevin Dec 17, 2008 03:35 PM

                                        there's also another issue at hand, urasawa is not strictly a sushi restaurant.

                                        but sasabune, nozawa, mori, among others are.

                                        As I haven't been to Urasawa yet, my favorites are:


                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: kevin
                                          J.L. Dec 17, 2008 04:18 PM

                                          Urasawa is not 100% sushi (they do have that incredible foie gras shabu shabu at times), but it's considered sushi in my book. Put my vote in for Urasawa.


                                          Hamasaku, for rolls-oriented folks

                                          1. re: J.L.
                                            kevin Dec 17, 2008 04:31 PM

                                            foie gras shabu shabu i'll have to plan my visit there when it's on the menu.

                                            1. re: kevin
                                              kevin h Dec 17, 2008 06:23 PM

                                              That shouldn't be too tough. It's been on offer on all three of my visits there.

                                          2. re: kevin
                                            kevin h Dec 17, 2008 06:21 PM

                                            By that token, Shibucho is definitely not strictly sushi either. They serve French- and Italian-influenced dishes as well.

                                            Mori also serves a "kaiseki"-like set of dishes in the omakase, just like Urasawa does.

                                            1. re: kevin h
                                              kevin Dec 17, 2008 07:14 PM

                                              you are right. yep, although i though mori was still traditonal sushi.

                                              speaking of Go's Mart is one of my favorites. But that's a little bit like a junior version of urasawa considering he serves up Holy Cow (aka Kobe beef) among other non-sushi dellicacies.

                                              1. re: kevin h
                                                Porthos Dec 17, 2008 09:01 PM

                                                Mori has an omakase that includes kaiseki-like dishes. But he also has an all nigiri omakase. They are listed separately on the menu.

                                                1. re: kevin h
                                                  Jerome Dec 18, 2008 10:52 PM

                                                  shige's shibucho on beverly does one or two dishes with olive oil as part of the omakase if you're lucky enough to have him take you on. Otherwise, it's pretty straight traditional.

                                                  Shibutani's shibucho in orange county is strict tradiitonal, at least last time i was there. Neither served unagi for the longest time as it wasn't sea fish. they've relented.

                                                2. re: kevin
                                                  cls Dec 24, 2008 06:17 PM

                                                  How can anyone think Nozawa (or his acolytes at Sasabune) make good sushi? MacDonald's is to hamburgers what Nozawa is to sushi. It's sometimes tasty, but really????
                                                  It's fish that has been brined and sauced beyond recognition (not to mention pre-made and refrigerated.) If you think it's fresh, and authentic sushi, you do not understand biology or sushi. Oh yeah, "Nozawa shops for his fish every day." ALL good sushi chefs shop for their fish every day. Do you think International Marine is full of delivery drivers in the morning? It's full of sushi chefs!

                                                3. kevin h Dec 17, 2008 03:05 PM

                                                  I think everyone who's been to Urasawa will say Urasawa, me included. I'd posit that those who don't think Urasawa is tops simply haven't been. On an *absolute* level, I find it hard to believe that any place in LA could be superior.

                                                  Now, if you throw value into the mix, then the discussion becomes much more interesting, though personally, I think Urasawa's worth every penny.

                                                  1. Servorg Dec 17, 2008 02:38 PM

                                                    If your budget is unlimited then Urasawa. If the budget is limited but extremely healthy then Mori or Zo.

                                                    1. lasushiblog Dec 17, 2008 02:38 PM

                                                      I think Sasabune and Hiko are the best I've had so far

                                                      1. w
                                                        woojink Dec 17, 2008 02:37 PM

                                                        Urusawa and Nozawa.

                                                        Let the wars begin.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: woojink
                                                          epop Dec 17, 2008 06:25 PM

                                                          the gladiators are waiting below the colosseum.

                                                          the question is too vague to answer. it largely depends on what kind of sushi you want, how traditional...

                                                        2. n
                                                          ns1 Dec 17, 2008 02:36 PM

                                                          How much are you willing to pay?

                                                          Everybody's got a favorite sushi joint, you will not find a 100% consensus on this board.

                                                          1. cibodistrada Dec 17, 2008 02:30 PM

                                                            Hamasaku of course. Sasabune comes in a close second.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: cibodistrada
                                                              JE33 Dec 18, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                              second that

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