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Hard question: Sushi meal under 30 bucks per person??? Where would you go?

kevin Mar 21, 2012 01:12 PM

I know. tough question.

  1. t
    Thor123 May 9, 2012 03:24 PM

    Takao in Brentwood (28 Zagat) has its "Chirashi" Sushi lunch special for $18 that is really good. Much better than the horrible lunch they serve at Mori.

    1. PeterCC May 9, 2012 01:18 AM

      Since Tkn bumped the thread, I don't feel bad commenting on this month-old thread and asking those in the know about Kiriko's lunch omakase. According to their website, they have three: sushi omakase, sashimi and sushi omakase, and the eponymous Kiriko omakase. Can anyone tell me how much each costs? Is the $36 lunch special that I've heard about in reference to one of these omakase choices?

      I'm looking for the next great sushi restaurant on the Westside to try after Shunji (yes, I know it's less a sushi restaurant and more a Japanese restaurant that also serves quality sushi), and one that's open for lunch is a plus, so pretty sure Kiriko is next. I know Mori can fit the bill too, but it kinda feels like Kiriko is a more approachable next step, though I have no basis for that at all.

      9 Replies
      1. re: PeterCC
        J.L. May 9, 2012 01:23 AM

        Go with your gut on this one PeterCC. Yes, I think Kiriko is a good bet for your next foray. You need to "build up" to Mori.

        However, to (eventually) experience the full power and glory that is Mori Sushi, you must go for dinner (not lunch) and sit at the sushi bar for omakase.

        Caveat: None of the above options I just mentioned are under $30 (as the OP wanted)...

        1. re: J.L.
          PeterCC May 9, 2012 01:37 AM

          Thanks! Glad my gut is good for something. In addition to building up to Mori, I also need save up for it, especially since, as you noted in kevin's other thread reviewing Shunji, I've been going there more often than I anticipated. :-) That's why this $36 lunch omakase of legend at Kiriko intrigues me. Have you had it? Is it better than the $20 lunch special (not omakase?) that I've heard Mori offers.

          1. re: PeterCC
            J.L. May 9, 2012 01:50 AM

            Sorry, I haven't had it. Because I have a bottomless pit of a stomach, my sushi meals usually cost me a wee tad over $36. Just a wee tad.

            1. re: J.L.
              PeterCC May 9, 2012 09:08 AM

              Heh, a picture just popped into my head of you (or rather, a generic sushi aficionado, since I don't know what you look like), sitting at the sushi bar, telling Ken-san, "Okay, I'm ready for my third $36 omakase now!" :-)

              (You're not one of those fortunate people with the super-high metabolism to go with their bottomless-pit stomachs that means you can eat anything and not put any weight on, are you?)

              Well, I guess I'll have to find out for myself one of these days what the lunch omakase deal is at Kiriko. Poor me (pun intended).

              1. re: PeterCC
                Jerome May 9, 2012 02:47 PM

                fwiw a set lunch special that doesn't vary with relationship between a sushi chef and client who've established a rapport isn't really omakase. IT's just a special lunch served piecemeal. My understanding: omakase is like arranging a menu au plaisir du chef in a french place, it's based on what's in that day, and the impule creativity etc. fo the chef. just my two cents.

                1. re: Jerome
                  PeterCC May 9, 2012 02:57 PM

                  Kiriko has both set lunch specials and omakase on their menu: http://www.kirikosushi.com/html/menu.....

                  I did stop at Kiriko today for lunch (I had an errand that put me on the 405 around lunchtime, so I thought, "Why not?"). I'll post a mini-review later, but to answer my own questions above, their sushi omakase is $40, their sashimi and sushi omakase is $50, and the Kiriko omakase does not have a set price (the waiter stated between $80 and $120).

                  I went with the $40 as I had limited time (and money) and was very satisfied. It's not under $30 as kevin originally requested in his OP, though...

                  1. re: PeterCC
                    kevin May 9, 2012 07:45 PM

                    Peter, what was included in your 40 dollar lunch menu and did it also include the truffle ice cream for dessert or any other dessert for that matter ?


                    1. re: kevin
                      PeterCC May 9, 2012 07:46 PM

                      Soup, salad, 9 pieces of nigiri, and a blue crab temaki. See my review here:


                      Alas, no dessert.

                      I think they update their website regularly, as the specials that I saw today look like the same ones here: http://www.kirikosushi.com/html/menu..... I forgot to note the desserts while I was there, but the flavors listed on the site are:

                      "Mango sorbet"
                      "Three kinds of berries with honey vanilla Ice cream"
                      "Brown sugar flavor sweet red bean with honey vanilla Ice cream"

                      I do want to try that truffle ice cream.

                      1. re: PeterCC
                        J.L. May 10, 2012 05:25 PM

                        Their truffle ice cream is amongst the best ice cream I've ever had.

      2. t
        Tkn May 8, 2012 10:49 PM

        For under $30, I would order a chirashi. Nothing wrong with that and the fish quality usually doesn't suffer too much either.

        1. o
          Ogawak Mar 29, 2012 07:48 AM

          The Kiriko lunch omakase is excellent, maybe the best in town for the price. But Kanpachi in Gardena has, or used to have, a lunch omakase that's a bit cheaper and very good for the price.

          1. s
            swimfin Mar 28, 2012 04:47 PM

            you posters are too westside-centric. great sushi @ tori yen in beautiful downtown sunland - tujunga. worth the trip. say hello to mama. and the 30 per person should be eminently doable.

            1. j
              Jerome Mar 22, 2012 02:13 AM

              go with a friend to A-Won - korean sushi. Get the Hwe Dup Bap - with the sashimi No nigiri rolls. Split and eat - under $20 for two, not traditional sushi, but tasty and the fish is ok (for hwe dup bap). For Nigiri - i'd say save up.
              but that's just me.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Jerome
                J.L. Mar 22, 2012 02:23 AM

                Warning: I have a rather radical philosophical view of this cheap sushi issue:

                Cheap sushi incentivizes the global overfishing we're seeing today, resulting in higher seafood prices throughout the world, and lowering the quality and size of the tuna (and many other species as well) in the oceans overall.

                I say keep sushi snobby and only eat sushi at only the high end places. Run the lower end places out of business by not patronizing them, and let the fish in the oceans re-populate and replenish.

                I am not optimistic about the future, however. The world is already hooked (pardon the pun) on readily available sushi of mediocre to low grade. Given the rise of the "BRIC" countries and the emerging middle classes there, I suspect this problem will only get worse.

                1. re: J.L.
                  kevin Mar 22, 2012 08:47 AM

                  I agree that it will get worse even if we and other hounds stop patronizing the cheapie joints. But then again where's the line to determine what is or is not a cheapie joint?

                  1. re: kevin
                    J.L. Mar 22, 2012 10:48 AM

                    $30pp? Cheap.

                    1. re: J.L.
                      kevin Mar 22, 2012 10:57 AM

                      I just thought some may think that 75 per person would be the cut-off for cheap? maybe?

                      1. re: kevin
                        jesstifer Mar 22, 2012 11:20 AM

                        Um... no.

                        1. re: jesstifer
                          J.L. Mar 22, 2012 06:10 PM

                          I'd rather save up and eat high quality sushi less frequently than eat cheap sushi more frequently.

                          1. re: J.L.
                            omotosando Mar 22, 2012 09:30 PM

                            In general, I would agree with you, but I just happen to think that Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo is really good sushi at a relatively low price. And I've eaten $600 per person sushi meals. Obviously, Hama Sushi isn't in that class, but it's good. Maybe their overhead is low in Little Tokyo but the restaurant costs significantly less than other places with sushi that isn't as good.

                  2. re: J.L.
                    westsidegal May 10, 2012 10:28 AM

                    if i recall my econ class correctly:
                    if people are willing to spend more money on fish than it costs to get that fish to market, overfishing and over fish-farming will continue.
                    the more money that is chasing the fish, the more incentive there is for overfishing.
                    (i.e. if people all over the world are willing to spend lots of money on blue fin, the poaching going on off libya using purse seine nets will continue. . . . .)

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      TonyC May 10, 2012 11:09 AM

                      wait, are you telling us all just to not eat sushi?

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        J.L. May 10, 2012 11:30 AM

                        Which is exactly why I'm not optimistic about the future, westsidegal...

                        1. re: J.L.
                          kevin May 10, 2012 11:56 AM

                          Yea. Could you give up sushi ?

                          Or would you settle for farm-raised sushi ???

                        2. re: westsidegal
                          bulavinaka May 10, 2012 05:37 PM

                          I think altruism is not what most in the consumer chain are known for. Sad days ahead for all...

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            westsidegal Sep 4, 2012 10:45 AM

                            that be true

                      2. re: Jerome
                        TonyC Mar 22, 2012 12:56 PM

                        Just you.

                        If forced to eat hwe dup bap, might as well go buy a bowl of the prepared stuff at Han Kook/HMart/Ktown Galleria/Insert-your-favorite-Korean-market for $6-8. The quality is equally pathetic, and no tipping necessary.

                        It's crap fish masked by gochujiang.

                        1. re: TonyC
                          Jerome Mar 22, 2012 05:59 PM

                          It's fish (at most of these places) of a level that I would never have as nigiri sushi. Same for the fish masked as "Spicy tuna rolls".
                          BUt the OP asked for affordable. ANd high quality sushi is by definition expensive.

                      3. j
                        Johnny L Mar 22, 2012 12:01 AM

                        Sushi Kula in Little Tokyo is alright, $2 a plate for revolving sushi, it's not miraculous but I've found it to be decent for a cheap eat.

                        1. m
                          madcao Mar 21, 2012 11:58 PM

                          Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo would be my first choice. Sushi Gen is a little more expensive at the sushi bar, though they do have specials. Kula Revolving Sushi is just two bucks a plate if you wanna get more food for lower quality, though still rather decent for the price.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: madcao
                            omotosando Mar 22, 2012 02:11 AM

                            Went to Hama Sushi in little Tokyo recently after a long hiatus and it was excellent. And less than $30 a person even with sweet shrimp, fried heads and toro.

                            1. re: madcao
                              matikin9 Mar 22, 2012 09:12 AM

                              +1 for Hama! The only reason the bf and I reach $50 pp there is when we start ordering uni, toro, salmon belly, etc. Everything else is delicious and will keep you full under $30.

                              Sometimes for lunch, I go totally ghetto and go to Marukai - $2.50 for random salmon trimmings, $1.50 for an avocado, $3.00 for a box of seasoned nori, and I've got my own deconstructed sushi (no rice cause I'm going low carb).

                              1. re: madcao
                                ns1 Sep 4, 2012 09:35 AM

                                Dropped by Hama over the labor day weekend and was pleasantly surprised. The joint is patronized by real sushi eaters and USC students who have no idea what is going on - I think the guys next to us were disgusted by the uni hand roll and amaebi heads. We out-lasted all of our neighbors at the bar - sometimes, the seats changed twice during our tenure. I think we sat at the bar for an hour and 45 minutes. The menu is small and accessible; everything seemed of excellent quality (esp. for the price)

                                We did some damage:
                                - albacore sashimi
                                - monk fish liver appetizer
                                - salmon sashimi
                                - salmon belly sashimi
                                - 1 order amaebi
                                - 2 orders oysters
                                - 50/50 kanpachi/red snapper sashimi
                                - 2 uni handrolls
                                - 1 spicy tuna handroll
                                - 1 order tamago
                                - 2 large asahi's

                                Total damage was $108 after tax. As someone else mentioned, 10% discount if paying by cash (they will give you a post-it note with cash price at the end, the discount is not mentioned anywhere). We paid in cash so we dropped $120 out the door, which I thought was an outrageously awesome price for all that food. We left stuffed to our gills.

                                1. re: ns1
                                  kevin Sep 4, 2012 09:40 AM

                                  Yeah, not bad, but how does it compare to the heavy hitters in town ?

                                  Did you guys order or was this more of an omakase meal ?

                                  For some reason, I'm really craving Shunji's right about now. But ultimately way too cost-prohibitive.

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    ns1 Sep 4, 2012 10:07 AM

                                    They don't do omakase and they serve rolls all day long (warning signs 1 + 2), but they go through a very high turnover which keeps the fish fresh (apparently). They'll give you a paper menu and a pencil if you're a n00b, but the ones that know what they're doing will just order from the itamae. I'll go here instead of Sushi Gen (if I can't get sushi gen's dinner special).

                                    Can't really compare to any of the heavy hitters - I ran out of money before discovering the heavy hitters. Not a real fair comparison anyway, since I would never consider going to shunji or Mori's on a 50pp budget. Kiyokawa is next on my places to visit. I can't do "real" omakase anymore either, only fixed price omakase.

                                    I think I prefer Hama over Sushi Masu (my previous 50/pp sushi joint), but it really depends where I'm at and how much $$$ I have.

                                    1. re: ns1
                                      kevin Sep 4, 2012 10:14 AM

                                      nowadays i just won't go unless i can hit the heavy hitters. but i think you mentioned before the sushi gen platter for like 30 bucks and it came with a couple pieces of toro too, so i may just hit that up. but otherwise i've never been a fan of sushi gen. even though everyone else seems to love it.

                                      kiyokawa was good, but not as good as places such as mori and shunji.

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        ns1 Sep 4, 2012 10:15 AM

                                        haha I guess we picked our battles - I'll eat 4 x $50 vs 1 x $200 these days.

                                        To that point, Urasawa 2013.

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          kevin Sep 4, 2012 10:19 AM

                                          yeah, maybe if i really save up for the next year and a half i can go to urasawa.

                                          but usu i'll try to hit up places that might hover at one c-note so for me it would be two trips instead of four trips.

                              2. j
                                jesstifer Mar 21, 2012 10:53 PM

                                Noshi, and that includes sake or beer.

                                1. ipsedixit Mar 21, 2012 09:09 PM

                                  For 30?


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    maudies5 Mar 21, 2012 09:42 PM

                                    Sugar Fish!

                                    1. re: maudies5
                                      coleberd Mar 21, 2012 10:22 PM

                                      Marukai market!

                                  2. g
                                    gordo26 Mar 21, 2012 07:00 PM

                                    Lunch special at Kiriko

                                    Just was at sugarfish today again....really not loving it lately and I used to be a big fan.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gordo26
                                      Sgee Mar 21, 2012 09:03 PM

                                      Chirashi sushi!!

                                      1. re: gordo26
                                        JudiAU May 9, 2012 08:10 PM

                                        Yeah, the omakase lunch special is a great quality and hits your price point.

                                      2. a
                                        archer Mar 21, 2012 06:19 PM

                                        I usually spend right around $30 for delicious, fresh sushi at Iwata in Sherman Oaks (that's probably w/ tax, but not including sake or tip). If you order carefully & don't have a huge appetite, you may be able to pay a bit less as well. Also agree w/ Don Sasabune in Studio City for truly bargain sushi (excellent fish, same as expensive Sasabune, limited selection, combo specials $12-$15)

                                        1. J.L. Mar 21, 2012 04:43 PM

                                          Buy some from Nijiya Market.

                                          1. j
                                            jsandler Mar 21, 2012 01:37 PM

                                            Hide on Sawtelle

                                            1. e
                                              ebethsdad Mar 21, 2012 01:32 PM

                                              Honestly...I would go to Farm Boy and get an assortment to go. Probably the best quality for your money.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: ebethsdad
                                                ns1 Mar 21, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                Fantastic spicy tuna and bulgogi. Farm boy is my go-to when I want <10pp sushi.

                                                1. re: ns1
                                                  BSW6490 Mar 21, 2012 03:52 PM

                                                  You can do a whole lot better for $30.

                                                  1. re: BSW6490
                                                    ns1 Mar 21, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                    Yeah but if you went to Farmboy you'd only spend $15 to eat like a king and have $15 left for H&B

                                                    1. re: ns1
                                                      kevin Mar 21, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                      h and b ???

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        ns1 Mar 21, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                        google it ;)

                                                        1. re: ns1
                                                          kevin Mar 21, 2012 05:21 PM

                                                          dang, googled H & B with the ampersand (sp?) and nothing food related showed up.

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            ns1 Mar 21, 2012 05:25 PM

                                                            try "H & B urban dictionary"

                                                            1. re: ns1
                                                              kevin Mar 21, 2012 07:40 PM

                                                              ok, in that case, 15 bucks is definitely not nearly gonna be enough even in this economy.

                                                      2. re: ns1
                                                        TonyC Mar 21, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                        I call BS on the $15 H&B.

                                                2. k
                                                  kevin Mar 21, 2012 01:28 PM

                                                  Also, would you recommend Sushi Stop (which has two locations along Sawtelle)?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    taiwanesesmalleats Mar 21, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                    Only if you don't care about fish/rice quality and just need to satisfy a sushi fix.

                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                      ilysla Mar 22, 2012 01:17 AM

                                                      Absolutely not. I agree w/ the Komasa rec down below.

                                                      Also, if you have a truly gigantic appetite, the AYCE sushi happy hours (e.g., Midori in the SFV) do satisfy the craving....

                                                    2. b
                                                      BSW6490 Mar 21, 2012 01:24 PM

                                                      No doubt Sugar Fish

                                                      1. n
                                                        ns1 Mar 21, 2012 01:23 PM

                                                        Sushi Don Sasabune for 15pp

                                                        Sushi Gen for 30pp

                                                        Sushi Masu for 45pp

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