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Favorite sushi in Brentwood near San Vicente?

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I tutor some kids who live along the San Vicente corridor in Brentwood. I have a bit of a break between two appointments, pretty regularly in fact, and I'm planning to start killing that time in the best way possible: by bellying up to a sushi bar, solo, and eating. Figure about once a week, an hour each time.

I looked around and saw four places in that neighborhood:
Sugarfish
Takao
Katsuya
Nagao (Nagao is actually probably in the most convenient place, at least according to the map, as I'm heading west->east).

Anyone have some thoughts or happy to influence me here? I've never been to any of these spots. I'm not looking for 'cheap' sushi (ugh) but I don't feel the need to pay for decor, either - I wanna sit, eat sushi for an hour, and banter with the big man, if possible.

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

Katsuya - Brentwood
11777 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood, CA 90049

Takao
11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

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  1. Also Taiko (sometimes confused with Takao). Solid choice and reasonable prices. You are certainly close if you want to come a bit farther south and eat on Sawtelle too. Kiriko or Hide (cash only at Hide) are good choices.

    I added the website for Taiko to the place link and it has prices on the menu, so you can get a good idea of what you're getting yourself into before you go.

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

    Taiko Restaurant
    11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

    Takao
    11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

    Hide Sushi Japanese Restaurant
    2040 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    13 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks servorg, but Hide and Kiriko are way too far - this is during rush hour, so getting off San Vicente is basically a deal killer. Especially down there by the entrance to the 405.

      I've got an hour to an hour and a half total between these two appointments. Thanks for alerting me to the possibility of Taiko as well... but now I want to know, which place should I be going to?

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      Taiko Restaurant
      11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

      1. re: EricDC

        I think you'll be fine at Nagao and if it's the most convenient for you that would seal the deal for me (having been born here, lived here for all but 4 years and fighting the LA traffic my whole life!).

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

        1. re: Servorg

          I also like SugarFish. Easy parking, quick service and tasty food.

          1. re: maudies5

            to quote another hound on this very subject:
            "the sushi served at sugarfish is to sushi what the pizza served at CPK is to pizza"

            1. re: westsidegal

              I seriously disagree with that assessment.(comparing Sugarfish to CPK) My spouse is very very serious about his sushi. He has worked on Sawtelle for years and Sushi Sasabune was his go-to place until it moved. He is very content with SugarFish. The fish is as fresh as any he has tasted on Sawtelle and that is very important. It is not Urasawa, but the quality of the sushi is fine. Nozawa's concept is good. Nothing pretentious. No sushi chef behind a sushi bar. Limited menu. Service is very friendly. There is no miso soup, salads, avocado or any of the ubiquitious items which show up at many Japanese restaurants. The food is clean and delicious and the fish is pristine. My husband loves raw fish and sashimi more than I. I love Sugar Fish's crab roll , cucumber roll and eel. I also love their iced green tea. It's a terrific neighborhood restaurant. Great parking (validated& you park your own car). I live equidistant between Katsuya and Sugar Fish. For fun and and a good bar, good food and robata, Katsuya is my choice.
              For a nice experience in a comfortable, friendly sushi place; no bar and no robata, Sugar Fish sure works for me.. A lot less $$ than many of the other options suggested in this thread.(oops. forgot to mention restaurants within walking distance).
              No reservations and there can be a wait during primetime lunch and dinner hours.

              1. re: maudies5

                I'm with you on this one. I really like SugarFish, yes it's no Zo or Urasawa, but it is very similar to Sushi Nozawa, the original trust me joint, in Studio City.

                But yeah, if you are one that hates Sushi Nozawa, and think the fish there is too mushy and too heavily sauced, then it follows that you probably will hate SugarFish also to boot.

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

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

              2. re: westsidegal

                Have you tried sugarfish lately, westsidegal?

                I used to share your view of the first sugarFISH location when it initially opened ways back, BUT when the newer sugarFISH locations opened, I tried it again, and I gotta say, it's much, much improved, fish quality-wise. In short, I'm now a convert.

                No banter with the itamae, BUT for what it is, sugarFISH is good with me now.

                1. re: J.L.

                  I agree 100% with maudies5 and J.L. - sugarFISH is very high quality, an interesting concept and a great value.
                  Seems perfect for the type of meal the OP has in mind.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    And go there on your birthday for a free meal. great ad pitch too.

                  2. re: J.L.

                    i haven't tried it lately, and i have no desire to try it again.
                    too many other good options.

                    will be having dinner tonight at sushi-zo.
                    last week had my sushi fix at k-zo.
                    raw fish (of a completely different type) once or twice a week at Mariscos Chente's/Coni'Seafood.
                    two weeks ago went to Hide.

                    just too many other tried and true and consistent options for me to care enough to go back there. . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      but wg, wouldn't you also admit that Zo is 4x the price of sugarfish, yes, once again it is no Zo, but it is less dear on the pocketbook.

                      i think of SugarFish as Sushi Nozawa-lite in a PinkBerry atmoshere. Every time i go there i have to do a double take since i keep thinking i'm in a pinkberry.

                  3. re: westsidegal

                    I'd have to agree as well ... I've only been to this location so I can't speak to the others, but I've always been very happy with a lunch at SugarFish. As CB said, it's good quality and not outrageously priced.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Absolutely disagree. SugarFish is much better quality than Katsuya. Takao is also very good.

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                      Takao
                      11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

            2. Although it's not on San Vicente but on Wilshire, I like BiMi on Wilshire. It's pretty fast at lunch, so it might be worth checking out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Juji

                I am a fan of BiMi as well. They have good cooked dishes as well as excellent sushi especially if you sit at the bar. The room is nice as well if that's important. It's easily accessable from Brentwood/San Vicente

                I've alway's thought Nagao offered good fish for the price. I've always sat at the bar though and have not had the cooked dishes other than the Miso soup which is good but not excellent.

                Taiko is another good call Servorg! but I'd have a hard time not getting noodles there.

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

                Taiko Restaurant
                11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                1. re: AAQjr

                  BiMi actually closed down. It's now a vegetarian restaurant.

              2. go with Nagao - it was always my choice when i lived in the 'hood. i never thought Takao was as great as everyone claimed, and you'd definitely be paying an unnecessary markup for the decor/vibe at Katsuya.

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

                3 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I think the fish tastes better at Sugar Fish than Nagao. Nagao never impressed me .

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

                  1. re: maudies5

                    well in all fairness, i've never been to SugarFish so i can't compare the two. i've had several friends tell me they weren't impressed with the Marina location of SugarFish, but perhaps Brentwood is better...?

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      I dined at the Marina's SugarFish and was so impressed by their sushi - was clean, so fresh, and I'm loving the warmer sushi rice. I think I could do wtihout the seeds on the salmon sushi though. Although the blue crab handroll was no match for Echigo or Zo.

                      I'm contemplating between the Brentwood one (never been) and Nagao for lunch today. I haven't been to Nagao in a while, and I realy miss it. So I'm doing my search on Nagao now...

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

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

                2. Since you'll be a regular in the neighborhood, you may want to give all of them a try.

                  Sugarfish serves simple, fresh sashimi, sushi and a couple handrolls. You are encouraged to order the set menu but a la carte also available. No cooked items or fancy rolls. Parking is easy, as mentioned by maudie5, in the lot.

                  Takao is the most pricy of all. They serve more of traditional sushi. You can go for omakase if you have time. Street parking only--good luck during evening traffic hours!

                  I would not go to Katsuya and expect great sushi but it's hip and trendy. Worth checking out if you want cooked food and star watching. Valet parking.

                  Nagao is a neighborhood favorite so expect families with kids. Underground parking from behind the building.

                  When you are done trying these Japanese places, you may want to start exploring the numerous Italian places along the San Vicente corridor. :)

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

                  Katsuya - Brentwood
                  11777 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood, CA 90049

                  Takao
                  11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fdb

                    Demi-report: went to Nagao for the first time as per this discussion.

                    It was 5:45 or so on a Monday, and the place was already lively. The sushi bar was -full-, and there were some folks at tables. My companion and I took a table for 2 - within thirty minutes, all the tables were full.

                    This was a very neighborhood place - sisters at one table, multi-generationals at another, people on a date, kids in t-shirts... a nice, unpretentious vibe. A little under-nice as far as decor, I thought, but OK. I'm looking for casual, so that's OK.

                    We get the menu, and we order. I order two 'appetizers' - a spicy tuna bowl and an order of tempura - and my companion orders a number of pieces of sushi.

                    OK, here's the one issue. It's not the food - which was certainly above-average, if not AMAZING, in all regards - it's the nomenclature. I would consider both the spicy tuna bowl and the tempura to be entrees - they were both plenty for a meal. I think the only rationale for calling them appetizers might be that they were served a la carte. But, frankly, they were both the size of mains, and we ended up with way too much food. Note for the future: 'appetizer', here, means 'cooked entree.'

                    All in all, it was good - good tempura, if slightly over-battered. Not too heavy though. The spicy tuna bowl was nicely done, and the ikura - only thing I ate off my date's plate - was cool and crisp in the mouth. I'd come back. Wouldn't make it a destination sushi night, but it definitely fits what I'm looking for.

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

                    1. re: EricDC

                      Thanks for reporting back and the note on "appetizer".

                  2. I don't care for Nagao, Katsuya and Sugarfish.

                    That leaves Takao.
                    But I usually go to Taiko instead, for soup.
                    Takao is not great either, but the best of the bunch.

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

                    Taiko Restaurant
                    11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                    Katsuya Hollywood
                    6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                    Takao
                    11656 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: epop

                      I'm usually at Mori's for sushi. But Nagao's is closer and half the price. And pretty good. It serves my sushi jones. But I don't eat there and get wowed like I would at Mori's.

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

                    2. Pearl Dragon in the Palisades, on Sunset is reasonably reachable from west Brentwood, and its fish and service are unimpeachable.

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                      Pearl Dragon
                      15229 W Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: yooj2

                        Really??? i've never heard of this place. but the palisades usually worries me for good sushi.

                        though for decent fast food sushi, not even as good as SugarFish, there is Sushi Don Sasabune.

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                        Sushi Don Sasabune
                        4816 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607