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May 12, 2010 08:14 AM

reasonably priced sushi to impress the out-of-towners

Hi everyone,
I know there are a million threads about sushi, but I just can't find what I am looking for. I have a friend visiting from out of town. I love her to death, but she is very snobby about LA (even though she has never been here). She expressed interest in going out to sushi on Saturday night. I really want to give her a great sushi experience, but I just can't seem to find anything within my price range that sounds good. I'd like to spend less then $100 pp. It can be for omakase or a la carte. I would like a nice atmosphere... I brought my mother-in-law to Bar Hayama last year, but I just wasn't that impressed with the quality of the sushi.

Any ideas? I am on the westside, but I would travel for the perfect place.


Bar Hayama
11300 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

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  1. Echigo on Santa Monica Blvd near Bundy is excellent and a great value! And Echigo's sushi chef is one of Sasabune's (pricey) original sushi chefs.....Located on the upper level of a drab strip mall, but the restaurant itself is nice enough. Sit at the sushi bar and avoid the windows that look out on a Smart and Final and a tacky bar across the street.

    12217 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    9 Replies
    1. re: OmChef

      irrc, in order to be permitted to sit at the bar at echigo, one must order omakase.
      is this correct?

      if i'm correct, and if you want to order a la carte, plan to be looking out at Smart and Final and the tacky bar across the street.

      1. re: westsidegal

        If I'm thinking of the right place, the omakase is fairly inexpensive -- I think somewhere around 50-55pp so well within the budget

        1. re: froggyhumi

          good to know,
          although i'd probably never order omakase at echigo,
          i so love their monkfish liver sushi that if i make the drive there i'd need to order a la carte to be sure to get SEVERAL orders of it.

        2. re: westsidegal

          i don't think so. when i was at echigo late last year, a lady sat at the bar and ordered ala carte.

          1. re: wilafur

            in that case, i'm gonna sit at the bar and order three or four servings of monkfish liver and be happy.

          2. re: westsidegal

            Agree with froggy, the omakase isn't very expensive, though in line with more expensive places. you just get fewer orders in the base menu.

            And that "tacky" bar is sadly closed (Del's Saloon, RIP).

            1. re: daftpunkxl

              the context of ref to Del's being "tacky" or any disrespect to Smart and Final, and that entire little strip of Santa Monica Blvd possibly being an unapealing view for someone 'snobby about L.A.'....
              Del's Saloon, one of the best dive bars in L.A but now closed-may it rest in peace, was referred to as tacky because the out of town guest was described as "..she is very snobby about LA..", making echigo's location likely unappealing for the guest, and the nature of a great dive bar is to be at least a little tacky.......I am in DTLA, I live and work around some of the greatest "tacky" spots in So Cal. We also have plenty of dive bars (little Joy, the historic Hank's..etc ), and some pretty fab sushi-Katsuya, Hama and Sushi Gen, but for someone described as "snobby about L.A.", the westside seemed to be safer and more fitting of the inquiry.

              re: Bar Hayama, my most delicious experiences at Hayama have been at the sushi bar, low on ambiance but very entertaining sushi chefs...

              Bar Hayama
              11300 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              Del's Saloon
              12238 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

          3. re: OmChef

            Hey! That tacky bar is Del's you're talking about and it was one of the best dive bars on the westside until it closed down earlier this year. RIP Del's. But I agree that Echigo is great and you'd have no problem getting out of there for under $100 per. Like westsidegal, I absolutely love their monkfish liver and I also think their blue crab handroll is one of the best. It has pretty much zero atmosphere, though, so whether it would work for your friend is hard to say. Is she snobby about strip malls?

            12217 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA 90025

            1. re: mollyomormon

              the reason i even tried echigo and their fabulous monkfish liver in the first place was YOUR recommendation!

          4. How about Takao on San Vicente & Darlington? Recently tried it and am in love. Service is great, just need to make sure and make reservations, as it's a fairly small place. Nagao (San Vicente & 26th) is also good. Have also hear amazing things about Hamasaku on Santa Monica right before Sepulveda.

            13050 San Vicente Blvd Ste 110, Los Angeles, CA 90049

            11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

            11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

            1 Reply
            1. re: clertzman

              +1 on Takao, but you have to be careful with their special fish. They can get really expensive. That said, they're always amazing. This is my favorite a la carte sushi bar.

              11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

            2. i believe k-zo in culver city would fit the bill.
              very pretty restaurant. (much prettier than echigo)

              good sushi and they serve many other menu items as well.
              won't break the bank.
              be sure to make reservations.


              1. Wa on la cienega and holloway in west hollywood

                1. Greetings, DanielleW!

                  My suggestions, in alpha order. I have enjoyed over 100 visits at each of them through the years since their openings. These establishments are neither fancy nor trendy, but their sushi speaks for itself:

                  Sushi Nozawa
                  11288 Ventura Boulevard
                  Studio City, CA 91604
                  (818) 508-7017
                  LA’s own, original “Sushi Nazi”. Itamae Kazunori Nozawa commands a very traditional sushi bar ands serves up some of the freshest and finest sushi to be found anywhere. No reservations. Be prepared for a brief wait. Sit at the bar and enjoy the omakase-only offerings. Trust him, he will do you right. Whatever you do, DON’T ask for a California Roll unless you relish being used for entertainment purposes. Nozawa may first stike you as being standoffish, even rude. Trust me, he is one heck of a nice guy with an unwavering concern for affording his patrons the best there is. Service is Tokyo style meaning that you’ll be served one item after another in rapid succession until you signal that you’ve had enough – as fast as 30 minutes for a full round.

                  Sushi Shibucho
                  590 W. 19th Street
                  Costa Mesa, CA 92627
                  (714) 642-2677
                  My favorite “go to” sushi bar. Outstanding omakase although a la carte selection is offered. Shibutani-san is a bone fide pioneer of sushi in California (Note: not California sushi) and a genuine grand master. All fish is prepared using traditional methods. Naga (Glenn), his son, spent over 5 years apprenticing in Japan before dad allowed him into the shop. Naga is now the legal owner but there is no question as to who’s the boss and where the leadership and direction comes from. Mama oversees the back kitchen, plates the soups and takes care of the guests making sure your sake or beer dos/t run dry. I cannot praise them enough – think I’ll go there tonight. Worth a trip from anywhere. Very relaxed service.

                  Sushi Wasabi
                  14460 Newport Avenue, Suite E
                  Tustin, CA 92780
                  (714) 505-3496
                  Omakase only. No California roll! Excellent traditional, straightforward sushi served by Katsu-san, a true master and graduate of the Nozawa/Nobi (Sasabune) school. They meet almost daily at International Fish Market at about 5:00 AM to select the day’s catch. Fish quality and freshness are top-notch. Katsu handpicks his Kumamoto oysters one at a time. Portion sizes are relatively small allowing one to enjoy the full battery of the day’s offerings. The Texas Blue Crab Hand Roll is the star of the show. It’s usually my craving for a couple of them that prompts my return visits. Well worth the drive from LA. Relaxed, yet focused service.

                  Sushi Nozawa
                  11288 Ventura Blvd Ste C, Studio City, CA 91604

                  Sushi Shibucho
                  590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                  Sushi Wasabi
                  14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780