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Where to get a variety of fresh sushi fish ?

PinotPlease Jul 28, 2009 10:00 PM

Now that Mitsuwa Marketplace in Little Tokyo is closed I feel adrift in the world of making my own sushi. Yes, I know the Nijya Markets are okay and the Korean places on Western do their thing (although they seem more geared conceptually to Korean sushi, obviously, than the Japanese take.) Is there anywhere between say, downtown LA and the beach to get a variety of fresh, Japanese sushi fish? Mitsuwa, R.I.P.!

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  1. J.L. RE: PinotPlease Jul 28, 2009 11:00 PM

    Granada Market on Sawtelle.
    Nijiya Market on Sawtelle.

    1. a
      AAQjr RE: PinotPlease Jul 28, 2009 11:02 PM

      IMP if you're confident with your knife skills on whole fish. In west LA there is Granada Market as well as Mitsuwa in Venice and Nijiya in Little Tokyo and on Sawtelle.

      Nijiya Market
      124 Japanese Village Plz Mall, Los Angeles, CA

      International Marine Products
      500 E 7th St, Los Angeles, CA

      1. a
        AAQjr RE: PinotPlease Jul 28, 2009 11:04 PM


        Cafe Circa
        464 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30312

        1. c
          cls RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 06:56 AM

          IMO once it's wrapped in cellophane, it's hit and miss, and I have had both good and bad fish at most of these markets. I would rather go somewhere where I can smell everything first. Whole Foods is usually best in my experience.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cls
            epop RE: cls Jul 29, 2009 08:02 PM

            I've stopped buying any seafood at any Whole Foods. Too many awful cuts at various locations.
            Stick to the ones on Sawtelle. Or go to the Fish Market downtown.

            1. re: epop
              cls RE: epop Jul 29, 2009 08:52 PM

              The smell test will eliminate the bad cuts. The problem with most Japanese and Korean markets is the pre-wrapped fish eliminating that as a possibility.

              1. re: cls
                Das Ubergeek RE: cls Jul 30, 2009 08:17 AM

                You can always ask to have fresh-cut at the Japanese markets. They may not have any left to do.

                Also, at Marukai the plastic is so thin that you can absolutely smell through it.

          2. Das Ubergeek RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 08:53 AM

            Safe 'N Save on Sawtelle.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              hhewitt RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 29, 2009 09:35 AM

              Agreed about Safe & Save Market for great prices, and great quality fish. I'm not so sure they have a very wide variety, though. They usually seem to have just a few choices.

              565 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308

              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                wilafur RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 30, 2009 10:09 AM

                big fan of save and save. nijiya down the street has very good prepackaged uni, toro/fatty tuna and hamachi.

              2. Kitchen Queen RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 12:41 PM

                I've bought at 99 Ranch markets and have had NO problem. Fresh shellfish bins too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kitchen Queen
                  wilafur RE: Kitchen Queen Jul 30, 2009 10:08 AM

                  the interesting thing is that i have had a 100% success rate with their salmon sashimi grade fish. however, i'm 50/50 with their sashimi quality tuna (sometimes outstanding, sometimes fishy). go figure.

                  1. re: Kitchen Queen
                    The Chowhound Team RE: Kitchen Queen Jul 30, 2009 02:02 PM

                    We split a tangent discussion "sushi quality" seafood over the General Topics board. Please go here if you'd like to discuss that topic


                    We'd like to keep this thread on track with where to find fish in the L.A. region. Sorry for the interruption.

                  2. c
                    Clinton RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 08:14 PM

                    If you're in the southbay area, Marukai probably has the best sushi grade fish. They have several fish mongers slicing fish up constantly. Prices are reasonable but not inexpensive. 99 Ranch markets mainly gut and scale whole fresh fish rather than slice or fillet. Korean Markets like Freshia have people in the back that prepare fish in plastic wrap and then set them out on display. I'm not too keen on that. Mitsuwa has a good assortment of prepared sashimi which looks pretty fresh. Personally, I'd stick with the Japanese markets for the freshest sashimi grade fish.

                    1. OC Mutt RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 08:53 PM

                      Marukai. Mitsuwa just doesn't cut it for sushi fish. N.B. Marukai is a "membership" store, but it's well worth the $10 a year membership cost.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: OC Mutt
                        PinotPlease RE: OC Mutt Jul 29, 2009 09:10 PM

                        Is it only in the south bay? Please elaborate, if you will, about this Marukai, I'm really interested and it could inspire a trip out of my downtown to the beach comfort zone!

                        1. re: PinotPlease
                          bulavinaka RE: PinotPlease Jul 29, 2009 09:42 PM

                          Marukai (the one on Artesia) is a huge big-box store with a strong focus on all things Japanese. Some counters/sections are serviced separately (I'm guessing these are individually owned), eg, over-the-counter meds, appliances, ceramics, textiles, furnishings, etc., while the substantial "grocery" section is more or less Marukai-proper. A large seafood and meat counter, some specialty areas like Hawaiian goods for the folks from The Islands, great produce, and all kinds of dry goods.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            ericat RE: bulavinaka Jul 29, 2009 10:32 PM

                            Another vote for Marukai in Gardena; its where we buy all our sashimi. Definitely go in the morning though for the best selection. They will slice for you behind the counter once you make a selection and make sure to ask for ice for your cooler. Its worth the 30 min + drive to me; even though I am close to all the Sawtelle markets, I go to Marukai for all my Japanese grocery needs, particularly sashimi.

                            1. re: ericat
                              OC Mutt RE: ericat Jul 30, 2009 04:14 AM

                              thanks hounds, for elaborating for me! They have IMO the best sushi fish available to the public AKA: those who do not own a restaurant.

                              1. re: ericat
                                epop RE: ericat Jul 30, 2009 11:06 AM

                                I've heard the same from sushi chefs, btw, Ericat.

                            2. re: PinotPlease
                              Das Ubergeek RE: PinotPlease Jul 30, 2009 08:21 AM

                              There are many Marukai. Some are membership-only (meaning you must pay $1 per time at the cashier, or $10 per year), and some are public (meaning that members have a discount).

                              Membership only stores are in Costa Mesa, the Marukai on Artesia Blvd. in Gardena and West Covina. Public stores are in Little Tokyo and Torrance, and the Pacific Market on Redondo Beach Blvd. in Gardena.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                E Eto RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 30, 2009 09:25 AM

                                Actually, at the membership Marukai stores, $1 buys you a monthly temporary membership, so you can use it for up to 30 days. And I can pretty much guarantee that you'll save more than $1 if you compare prices between Marukai and Mitsuwa.

                                1. re: E Eto
                                  Das Ubergeek RE: E Eto Jul 30, 2009 11:18 AM

                                  Thanks for the clarification. Good to know, though I am a yearlong member. I recouped the membership fee after just two visits.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                    trojans RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 30, 2009 12:46 PM

                                    How does the Marukai Little Tokyo compare to Nijiya or Mitsuwa?

                                    1. re: trojans
                                      OC Mutt RE: trojans Jul 30, 2009 04:05 PM

                                      Groceries are equal, but the fish is no contest, Mitsuwa is far inferior and more expensive to boot.

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