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Mori vs Zo sushi question

I am a huge fan of Sushi Zo, so when a couple of friends wanted to try out Mori Sushi I had huge reservations. Last time I went to Mori my girlfriend was still hungry and had to get something to eat afterwards(granted that was years ago). Since it's been so long I thought I give it a shot again. Again it disappointed me. All the different type of fishes they served felt very dry compared to Zo.

This is where I wanted to ask fellow Chowhounds. Am I missing something? Is there some secrete reason that some nigiri are super dry like Mori and some are full of moisture like Zo? Am I missing the train on maybe some special way that Mori Sushi stores their fish? Does it necessarily mean that it's fresher when it's more dry? Anyone feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Sushi Zo
9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Mori Sushi
11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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  1. Did you sit at the sushi bar ?
    I wont go unless I sit at the bar anymore, I've been a few times and sat at a table and was always disappointed. But I've never been disappointed seated at the bar.

    1. My guess is yes, you're missing something.

      For one, sushi is not always about fresh, but often about being properly aged. I've only been to Zo once, so I'm not sure I remember a dry vs juicy difference.

      I'm a big fan of Mori, so you've lost me on this. But I suspect in the aging process that the meat loses some of it's moisture in trade for more flavor.

      1. Mori tends to use less sauce on the nigiri, so they're less dry.

        1. I thought Zo was much better than Mori. I was thoroughly impressed with Zo during my last visit, and kind of underwhelmed by Mori. I know exactly what you found by the moisture part - it seemed Mori's fish had been sitting out for a little while longer. Also, I thought's Zo's cuts were better and had a better fish:rice ratio.

          6 Replies
          1. re: DarinDines

            It's not that the fish at Mori is dry. Its that you probably prefer the fish that are commonly classified as "meltingly tender". It's what makes Sasabune popular in LA. Fish that are "meltingly tender" are usually fish such as albacore, hamachi, salmon...standard farmed sushi. At Sasabune and at Zo, more sauce is applied so you think it's "juicier" or has more moisture. At Mori, the snapper marinated in konbu will be a little more dry because it's essentially been salt cured. White fish will tend to taste more dry and firm than the softer stuff like albacore and hamachi.

            Having been to both Mori and Zo at least 3 times in the past 6 months, and having been to both since they first opened, I can confidently say that Mori has the superior and more ideal fish to rice ratio and that the fish at Mori is higher in quality and that Mori uses wild fish in season (except for the salmon) and that Zo has to use farmed out of season stuff to maintain the variety that he offers.

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            Sasabune
            12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              1. re: Porthos

                An erudite explanation. Agree.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Well put.
                  Porthos (or anyone), would you care to comment on the rice?
                  My dissappointment with both places is that the rice is a joke in comaprison to what I tasted in Japan. Each pearl of rice in Japan seemed "ricier" -- tastier and both cremeier and starchier. Why can't that be duplicated by such dedicated sushi masters in LA? Or is it me? Was I so enchanted and intoxicated by vacation (and/or sake) that everything seemed better?

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Growing rice in Japan has been elevated to an art.

                    And, the Japanese government tightly controls what rice they grow, what rice is allowed to leave Japan (very very little) and what rice is allowed to be imported into Japan (very very little).

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Thanks, that explains it. It is so sad that we cannot import the best of Europe and Asia's bounties. The pidly amount of Italian salami, culatello, and other pork products that reach my mouth in the US makes me furious.

              2. although it's been a couple of years since both of those restaurants were on my regular rotation, i shared your preference for the food at zo over the food at mori.
                dunno if i'd call it 'dryness' at mori, but, to me, zo's fish had a consistent edge in terms of it's flavorfulness and it's texture.