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has anyone been to any of the Kabuki japanese restaurants in So. Cal? any thoughts?

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  1. Yes, I have thoughts on them - icky, nasty, chewy, not-even-close-to-fresh fish thoughts.

    Steer clear - they're overpriced and oogie.


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    1. While it's better than say Todai, it's not good sushi. Especially for the price you're paying, I'd pass.

      1 Reply
      1. re: imda14u29

        it's better than todai and it's also more expensive than todai.

      2. RUN the other way!! please! it's NASTY

        1. Since this original post was over a year ago, I recommend you folks try them again. Expecially the one on Foothill. Vast improvement on both the service and food side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Young K.

            There are too many great sushi places in LA to consider eating at Kabuki. I recently tried the one at Howard Hughes Center and didn't find it very good at all.

          2. Kabuki used to be a good Japanese restaurant when they were owned by the people who run/ran the Shogun in Pasadena. Kabuki got sold, went all "chain" and went downhill from there.

            1. kabuki is ok for what it is. quick sushi with a factory feel.

              would i want to go here on my own volition? nope. would i go if someone treated me....um...sure. i'm down for free food.

              1. Kabuki's is clean and affordable. Won't break the bank. I don't understand the bad food reviews as I've eaten at the LAX one about a dozen times and at least a dozen times at the one in Hollywood. I admit I haven't been to the LAX one in about a year though.

                I know fresh tuna, every year I fish for tuna 100 miles South of San Diego and catch my own Bluefin, Yellowfin tuna, Albacore, Yellowtail and Dorado and I've eaten sashimi from fish I've caught that was in the water swimming 30 minutes earlier. I always keep a tube of wasabi and packets of soy sauce in my tackle box for these rare occasions when we will sashimi up a fish right on the spot. The only thing that I tend to do is after we slice up the sashimi, I usually like to dip/rinse the sashimi in the bait tank to rinse off the fresh blood. Now that's FRESH!

                Whenever I go to a sushi bar, I almost always visually look at the sushi bar to see what looks fresh to me and simply avoid what doesn't look fresh. Uni is one of those items that's easy to spot if it looks slimy... run, Forrest, run! The 1/2 price menu items are prepared simply and no frills. i.e. it's extra or regular price to have them put smelt roe on the outside of one of their discount rolls. Ditto if you want to have uni with quail eggs.

                For many years I ate at sushi bars probably 5 days a week until I got bored with sushi as I usually ended up eating the same items that I liked over and over. The head sushi master (not Kabuki) knew exactly how I liked my dishes prepared and always alerted me when they had some really high quality fish in. But I used to spend maybe $2,000+ a month at that sushi bar alone.

                Again, I have no problems recommending Kabuki and it won't break the bank. They even take Entertainment book coupons. I've never had a bad meal there, the restaurant is clean, the hostesses are usually young and attractive and the food is excellent for the price. No, the fancy leading edge dishes aren't on the 1/2 off menu, but hey, if you are sushi gourmet, then simply have them make your sushi custom to your specs. So what if it's a chain, that just means lots of people like to eat there and find the food good. The ubber-trendy restaurants seldom last.

                I also like their combo dinners so I can get their tempura/Korean BBQ short ribs which is filling, reasonably priced and sushi hater friendly.

                My fav roll I have them make me a spicy soft shell crab, cut roll with smelt egg roe on the outside and use those sea carrots and some cucumber. Yum!

                So many neg reviews, but without qualification or don't look at what's fresh or accept recommendations from the chef that they don't like. I dunno, I like the place.

                1. For the same price point you can go to Mako in Arcadia or Kiyoshi in San Marino for far superior sushi and cooked options. Don't waste you money at this chain.

                  1. The Kabuki in Rancho Cucamonga is actually quite nice. The avocado sushi is particulary pleasant. The rolls are affordable, but the larger meals can run a bit higher.

                    1. after a long absence, i went to the one at the Howard Hughes center a couple of nights ago.
                      it was MUCH better than i remembered.

                      the sushi was actually OK.
                      we had saba, tamago, salmon, shrimp, and spicy tuna.

                      not as good as hide, but substantially better than sushi karen.

                      1. I had a Top 5 worst restaurant experience ever at the Kabuki in Huntington Beach last week. We made the mistake of going there since it was right next to the theater we were going to see a movie at. Seated at the sushi bar where there were 4 sushi chefs and only four other patrons. We ordered drinks first. Then I asked the sushi chef if they had any Spanish Mackerel, he gave me a confused look, so I asked if they had any Aji (japanese for Spanish Mackerel). He again gave me a confused look. So he didn't understand English or my poor, but understandable, use of Japanese. Not that I expected to get a somewhat authentic meal at Kabuki, but I at least expected they would have Japanese chefs. But then he said oh yeah we have that and proceeded to give us saba (regular mackerel). After he handed it to us, he told us he was going on his break now and another sushi chef would help us. Rather than going through the confusion of trying to return it, I ate it, that was a mistake. I don't order saba very often, but I could still tell that this was just plain awful. Then the other sushi chef handed us the same thing figuring the original chef hadn't given it to us yet. This one we returned since there was no way I was going to eat that terrible thing again. Then they simply ignored us for the next 15 minutes, despite my repeated attempts to get their attention, and despite the fact that they were not busy at all. So we decided to just finish our drinks rather than try what looked to be some pretty bad fish, and asked for the bill. I will never go back.

                        1. You're better off catching your fish at a fresh fish market and making your own sushi, than trying Kabuki. The hot entrees arent even better....Yoshinoya has more flavor than the over salted catastrohes they serve. On the other had, you are better off trying it yourself so you can form you own opinion.

                          Good luck!

                          1. There was a point in time, when Kabuki served great sushi, provided good service, and located on foothill (only). Now, Kabuki is everywhere and the food is gross. Not only is the food gross, the service is terrible. My worst experience with Kabuki was at Pasadena's Colorado Blvd location. They have some serious organizational issues.

                            1. Not all Kabukis are created equal. Looking over this thread, that is clear. The Hollywood Kabuki is fairly decent. It's serviceable for a quick bite of cheap sushi at the bar, nothing fancier, when one doesn't want to drop a huge wad on a sushi meal as too often happens in this town. The Howard Hughes location, on the other hand, is just downright awful, serving sushi on a par found in most supermakets' refrigerator cases. But then, Kabuki is a chain. That's how it goes with chains: The quality of each location varies with the employees, management, stock on hand, etc. Some are better than others. So, as I wrote, not all Kabukis created equal.