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Jun 19, 2010 12:42 PM

Does Truffle Oil belong on my Sushi?

I began my sushi obsession about 15-20 years ago, of course being introduced with California rolls and the like, but I had an immediate affinity towards Nigiri. I then went on a ten year tear to find the most authentic, pure, traditional sushi available. I learned a lot and my tastes became very refined.

About 5 years ago I was introduced to lemon and salt as a dressing to replace soy sauce on certain items such as Scallop, Giant clam, or Tai. This added a whole new bright flavor and I loved it.

Now I absolutely love Go's Mart, where virtually every piece of Sushi is dressed with various exotic salts, yuzu, lemon, and Truffle oil...among other things. The bright acidic flavors "Pop" in your mouth, and Go-San only serves the highest quality fish.

When you think about it, dressing every piece of sushi in the traditional way, sauce or some other form of soy adds saltiness and acidity.

My questions are...Am I just bored with soy sauce, or have I lost my way? Can the modernization of Sushi ever be a good thing?

Go's Mart
22330 Sherman Way # C12, Canoga Park, CA

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  1. I have been in the fish industry for a long time. I have eaten at least one piece of sushi almost every day for the last fifteen years. Over time I have eaten what is probably almost every possible condiment that exists for sushi. If there are any condiments that I haven't tried I have no desire to try them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and IMHO, anything other than soy, salt, tare (thickened sweet sauce), and salt+lemon (on rare occasions) is just a novelty, and ultimately loses its appeal once you've had it a few times. If you don't believe me eat your sushi with truffle oil for a few months.

    Ten years ago I was talking with a fishmonger in Tsukiji about sushi and he asked me about the restaurants I was visiting in Japan. After I told him some of the slightly modern things I had tried I was surprised to hear him tell me that the only thing he had any desire to eat was simple edo-mae sushi. Edo-mae sushi is what was eaten hundreds of years ago, and consists of just a handful of toppings like tuna, shrimp, kohada, tamago, anago, halibut, akagai, and a few others. I was surprised at the time to hear him say that, because at the time I was really enjoying trying new types of sushi, but since then I have found my palate has limited itself to enjoying those exact same things. There is nothing that can compete with the traditional neta (toppings) if they are truly top quality. Novelties can provide some fun as a distraction for a little while, but things like the best Ohma blue fin tuna have a complexity that is unmatched by anything a chef can create, and that is why the best sushi bars in Japan all serve relatively simple sushi. Of course with even slightly lower quality fish, simple sushi is very unsatisfying, which is why most sushi places that don't pay top dollar for fish are forced to improvise. I'm not saying that your sushi bar uses low quality fish, I'm just saying that there is a reason most Japanese people only put one thing on their sushi.

    4 Replies
    1. re: la2tokyo

      Thank you for your your opinion where is the best Sushi in or near Los Angeles?

      1. re: Robert Ogden

        The best sushi I have had in the US was at Mori Sushi. I wish he cut the fish a little bigger, but it's still excellent. I had better sushi at Ginza Sushi Ko before Masa went to New York, but that money would have been better spent on a trip to Japan. Honestly there are other people on this board who know a lot more about LA sushi than I do. I will say that when comparing sushi it is important to acknowledge who is using wild fish and who isn't. I'm not 100% sure about the rest of the places in Los Angeles, but from what I know Mori is the only one using only wild fish (Urasawa should be using wild fish considering the prices they charge, but I've never been there). Regardless of what anyone says, things like farm-raised hamachi are the same everywhere - if you want to eat it you should just save your money and buy it at Marukai. If you're going to pay a bunch of money for sushi, the fish should be wild.

        1. re: la2tokyo

          I am a big fan of Mori, I have been there 4 times in the past 6 weeks. Last night I went to Urasawa. Fumi at Mori told me that Go-san is one of the few to buy equal quality wild fish as him...and Hiro said the same thing about Go's...Something about the Uni that he wants already being tagged with Go's name on it, although he doesn't know Go-san. I think Mori does Sushi better than Urasawa.

          So the quality of fish at Go's is not in question, his flavors are unique and addicting...I guess this is why I am questioning why I like Go's better than Mori and Urasawa. I was a true purist when it comes to Sushi, but now I have really come to appreciate Go's style. I am wondering if I will get sick of it and go back to tradition. I shouldn't say I like it better than Mori, because I love Mori's Sushi.

          I have been eating at Go's for 2 years now, so it's not just a phase, or if it is it is a long one.

          I am wondering if anyone else in L.A. has fallen from tradition and landed at Go's Mart?

          Urasawa Restaurant
          218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          Go's Mart
          22330 Sherman Way # C12, Canoga Park, CA

      2. Douse expensive frozen fish with strong-tasting imitation truffle flavor from a test tube (mixed into extra-experienced olive oil), which is what most "truffle" oil is -- see the NY Times story referenced in a previous thread: ? No thanks. I'd rather have my sushi with Dublin Dr. Pepper.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hnsbmg

          FYI...Go-San makes his own truffle oil from fresh truffles. :)

        2. Purely depends on the diner.

          I do enjoy Edo-style sushi, but living in a progressive, creative (& hedonistic) city like L.A., I also very much like to try the fusion creations from certain gifted itamae (Ken-san from Kiriko comes to mind). The bottom line is: If the combination tastes great to you, then enjoy!

          As with any art, there will always be a camp for the "purists" and a camp for the "avant garde". Food is no different. Without experimentation, there would be no forward progress.

          I don't see why the purists and the avant garde cannot coexist, in this case.

          11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

          1. did it taste good?then all is it

            1 Reply