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Feb 9, 2010 08:47 AM

Matsuhisa or R23?

Hello All,

So, I get to LA from time to time and every trip I go to Matsuhisa because I love it so.
This time, I've only got one night to eat a nice Japanese meal in L.A.

I'm considering trying R23 instead.

Should I go new, or stick with what I love?

Alternate suggestions welcome, though to understand my taste, keep in mind I do not like Sushi Nozawa, for example. I was there about 4-5 years ago, and I thought the place was depressing looking, the fish was too warm, there was no sake selection, and the pace was so quick that I was in and out of there in about an hour.



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  1. I used to be a big r23 fan, but my most recent visit (over the Xmas holidays) was disappointing. Ever since their expansion, I think something has been off with the place.

    Haven't been to Matsuhisa in years, so can't give you any recent feedback, but I've always enjoyed it for what it is -- a good Japanese restaurant that is best enjoyed on an expense account. Sit at the bar.

    2 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        Thanks to both of you.

        And, yes, I love to sit at the sushi bar in LA in general, and at Matsuhisa in particular.

        L.A. has a sushi bar culture that is different than most other cities. Very social, I always have fun with my neighbors there. :-)

    1. Matsuhisa Matsuhisa Matsuhisa!!!! For the passion fruit sake if nothing else!!

      8 Replies
      1. re: schrutefarms

        Ah! Good next subject.

        What are your favorite dishes at Matsuhisa?

        1. re: pauliface

          the yellowtail sashimi thing with the yuzu and jalapenos, hmmmm

          1. re: pauliface

            New Style sashimi
            Pineapple-infused house sake
            Toro tartare
            Corn tempura
            Chocolate bento box dessert cake

            1. re: J.L.

              I like the oyster shooters and the toro with caviar

              1. re: ipsedixit

                what's the difference between the toro with caviar and the toro tartare with caviar? any clue what they use for the caviar? annd how much is that dish alone like 40 to 50 bucks?

                and tiradito is the sashimi with the peruvian chili sauce right, usually it's fluke or hamachi or red snapper?

                1. re: kevin

                  Yup, pretty sure that's the tiradito!

            2. re: pauliface

              My all time top four favorites are:

              Salmon Kelp Roll
              Tuna Tataki sashimi salad
              Ankimo (monkfish liver pate)
              chocolate bento box


              1. re: LAGirl


                How did salmon koll escape my notice all this time.

                Thank you, this is definitely a new one I'm gonna try!

          2. Yellowtail sashimi in citrus oil. And the passionfruit sake :)

            1 Reply
            1. I've never been to R23, but have fantastic memories of Matsuhisa. After striking up a great rapport with the itamae, they brought out some shiokara (pickled squid) from the back--these were not for sale, but something they concocted for themselves, playing with flavour.

              1 Reply
              1. re: OCAnn

                Fun fact:

                I studied a little japanese but was not familiar with the word itamae, although I knew that 'mae' means before, or in front of (either temporaly or spatially).
                Turns out 'ita' means 'board or plank'.
                So your itamae is the one in front of the plank (sushi bar).

              2. I've never been to R23 either, but had the second most memorable domestic US meal of my life at Matsuhisa a number of years ago. #1 was at The French Laundry, so that may put it in perspective. Though I have to say that I really love finding any new restaurant experience that comes close to the top of my list.

                I'm usually somewhat disappointed in the rather low regard for Matsuhisa on this board (this thread is definitely not standard in my opinion), so I'm pretty certain you'll get some other options before long.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Midlife

                  I second everything you've said. The meals I've had at Matsuhisa are some of the best I've ever had anywhere.

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Matsuhisa is a longtime favorite -- I think the first time I went was as far back as 1988, is that possible?
                    The first place I ever had tiradito, tiger's eye roll (salmon around oyster), ocha zuke, cold sake, I've had a lot of firsts there.

                    Just hearing you all talk has sealed my decision.