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Mori Sushi SOLD

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I guess many of us kinda knew this was coming. I hope Mori-San is happy wherever he ends up. I think he was kinda talking about going to NYC. They'll be lucky to get him if he goes there. Really gonna miss you Mori San!

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  1. http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/03/...

    1. :(

      1. Very sad news. I just returned from lunch there and did not know the news or I would have had omakase. Mori-san was behind the counter.

        1. Crap...first Yasuda and now Mori. Never even got to try these places :-(. Now I am kicking myself for picking Zo over Mori in 2007 during a visit.....

          1 Reply
          1. re: K K

            fwiw, imho, you still made the better move.
            whenever my nyc friend, who was a regular at yasuda (sp?), comes to LA, the first restaurant he wants to hit is Sushi Zo.

            -----
            Sushi Zo
            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          2. I see this as a very strategic move. Yasuda leaving NYC leaves a void to be filled. I have found Mori's skill second only to Yasuda so it makes sense for Mori to head off to NYC for a shot at the crown (in the sub $500pp arena).

            Booked my reservation tonight. Spice Table will have to wait.

            This is a huge blow to the LA sushi scene.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Porthos

              Disappointing. Yes.
              Huge blow? Perhaps not.
              Urasawa had a predecessor and will have a successor.
              And Shunji’s just arrived to soften the blow.
              I will live; I will eat well.

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

              Shunji's
              7015 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                JL's report of Shunji was quite impressive. But even with his extended omakase, I only counted 10 types of fish that could be made into sushi, 2 of which I do not care for (pompano and salmon). The blue crab handroll is a red flag for me personally but I trust JL and I'm willing to give it a try.

                I agree. I will live and I will eat well. But I will also have to fly to NYC for sushi or drop $500pp at Urasawa if I want high end sushi from now on.

                Guess I'll have to try harder to cultivate Shibucho now.

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

                Shunji's
                7015 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                1. re: Porthos

                  I got the impression from Shunji that he is keeping the selection deliberately smallish and non-esoteric at first -- kind of feeling out his customers. But I got a contact email and I am sure with a few days advance notice they would order whatever I was interested in that was fresh and obtainable.

                  -----
                  Shunji's
                  7015 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Seafood selection/stock is dicey when you start a new restaurant, since it's big up-front investment, and you're not certain as an owner/chef if your customers are going to the be more of the California/Dynamite roll crowd, or Edo-style traditionalists. I agree with Ciao Bob on this one. Hopefully during my visit to Shunji's, I showed enough "sushi savvy" to let Shunji-san know it's OK to "step it up a notch" when he goes to the fish market.

                    As part of our conversation, I specifically asked him about kegani (hairy crab) - He said very few customer in L.A. usually know it, let alone appreciate it, BUT if I call 2-3 days ahead of time, he can procure it. Sounds promising.

                    Also, the tsunami disrupted the uni trade, so there was no uni on my first visit to Shunji's (understandably so).

                    -----
                    Shunji's
                    7015 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Hokkaido uni at Mori tonight was as amazing as ever. Buri belly and highest level bluefin o-toro was also stellar.

                      The man says he'll stick around a bit after escrow closes to ensure a smooth transition. He'll then take vacation for an unspecified amount of time then come back to work a bit under his new boss while thinking about his next restaurant venture.

                      As for Shunji, for every request for Hokkaido uni and hairy crab there will be 10 requests for blue crab handroll and spicy tuna roll. Only time will tell which way Shunji will go.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        I think a request ratio of 60:1 is more likely.

                        How long do we have until escrow closes?

                        1. re: la2tokyo

                          Mori was very elusive and refused to give a date. Probably partly because closing date can be a moving target and partly to help make the transition seamless. He mentioned that he hadn't taken much of a break over the past 11 years so he might take some time to himself and visit some friends in Sorrento and Tuscany. I'd probably go sooner than later.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      I've been to Shunji's three times and was never served a blue crab handroll - not sure why, but I certainly didn't miss it.

                      I miss Yasuda already - it would be nice to have Mori in NYC for sure.

                2. Ever the optimist, I hope the new owners continue the tradition of excellence.

                  Anyone know when the last day is for Mori-san?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: J.L.

                    I hope you're right. Ever the realist, I think we're in for a shock. This is so upsetting. Nowhere left to eat.

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

                    Masa Restaurant
                    2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                    1. re: epop

                      Um... I wrote that at 4:04PM.

                      But by 2:22 AM last night, I told the community that my fears were unfounded (see my posting below on this thread)...

                  2. WHAT?!!?? >:(

                    1. Such a bummer!
                      We ate here as kind of a zen moment in the middle of the craziness of planning our wedding last year- Mori's omakase was sublime, and the entire experience was so perfectly delicious and calming that we left the restaurant refreshed. I had always wanted to go back, now that we are married, and try it again with a calm mind...
                      Please- if someone does find out when his last day is, post it here.
                      Cheers.

                      1. Tradition and quality will hopefully continue. New owner will be Masanori Nagano, aka Maru-San, who is a long time Mori Sushi chef (almost from the beginning) and is also highly skilled. No changes are planned I am told.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: AyrtonS

                          Oh, Maru-san is the new owner? There is hope! Kinda like when Masa Takayama handed the reins to his kohai, Hiroyuki Urasawa...

                          1. re: AyrtonS

                            is he the one with the dyed reddish hair?

                            1. re: epop

                              Yes, usually works at the other end of the sushi bar closest to the kitchen. Think the future of the place is in good hands, no worries about ponzu drenched sushi or warm rice under his watch.

                              1. re: AyrtonS

                                I have my doubts. Hopefully he will go to the Farmer's markets 2x a week and keep up the quality. In fact, I think the quality slipped ever so slightly. For ex., there was grit in my clam soup, unheard of before. Had some funky bites in the spicy tuna tacos, although that was a first. Found a bit of stringy fish too in a piece of red snapper.

                                All of this was last month.

                                Now I know why.

                                1. re: epop

                                  But as I understand it, for now, it is still Mori-san's place. Not sure if Maru-san is necessarily to blame for your experience last month.

                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    To clarify, I don't mean he's to blame. I mean that perhaps now that Mori knows he's leaving and his mind is slightly less focused there were little glitches in my meal that I've never had the countless times I've been there.

                                    1. re: epop

                                      I had omakase from Mori-san recently. It was as perfect as ever. Well...actually I noticed that he slightly mis-chopped a maki roll into 55/45 proportions. But I also noticed that his face subtly reflected his annoyance.

                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                        If that's the biggest mis-step in your meal, then you ate well. :-)

                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          oh man this has me dreaming about his hand rolls

                                          1. re: epop

                                            who's handrolls?

                          2. Having heard this news, I too, made a last-second dinner decision and rushed over to Mori Sushi on Friday night, along with a few friends.

                            Sitting at the bar, we were served a fantastic omakase by the Mori Sushi's new owner/chef, Maru-san, who confirmed the news of the transfer of ownership. As others have previously noted, Maru-san is one of the original sushi chefs at Mori Sushi when Mori-san started the restaurant back in 2000. He assured us that there are no plans to change the format or the food or the quality control at Mori Sushi. The restaurant name will even stay the same.

                            And how was the meal? It was so good that it deserves its own writeup (hey, I just might do that someday soon...). Highlights include meltingly, hauntingly tender big-eye tuna chu-toro, perfectly grilled botan ebi (and these shrimp were just huge, and with eggs) in a tomato & asari broth, smoked baby barracuda, nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso), using saikyo miso, accompanied with snow peas & karasumi, and awabi tempura with shishito & sea salt.

                            Fear not, fellow 'Hounds, the future is quite secure at Mori sushi - Really glad I ate there Friday night.

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

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: J.L.

                              Good to know. My Masa-to-Urasawa comparison seems to have some validity.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                Posted photos of my meal there Friday night...

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774762

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  Thanks for the update, looks top notch as usual. The karasumi is a rare treat as it is not always available.

                              2. Wow, I disappear for the weekend and get hit with this sad news. :(

                                Mori-san will be missed for sure.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: exilekiss

                                  There is a rumor that he might stay here in L.A., at a different venue that would be pretty ambitious.

                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                    Insider information has it that, at least in the immediate future, he plans on going back to Japan to help with the cleanup and rebuilding in his hometown in Iwate Prefecture.

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      My source (a very good source too) confirms that the ambitious possibility is now looking slim.

                                      Gonna Miss Mori! Hope he comes back.

                                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                        isn't it funny how we all have our sources?

                                        I wonder how many of them overlap....

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          I feel like him. Perhaps he too has no idea what he's going to do

                                2. Mori is supposedly going to be there part-time. I was in there last week and was told that he just needs some time off.

                                  People should continue going to Mori. They've done everything right when it comes to making the transition, and there's a jovial attitude right now.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: epop

                                    how about the rice?? is that gonna change since mori owns the rice fields and harvests his own rice??