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Best Omakase in Los Angeles for $100?

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  • cs53 Mar 30, 2012 07:03 AM
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I'm going to be in Los Angeles for a day on April 20 (so less than a month away) and I'm looking for the best omakase for $100 or under. We are willing to drive, so location is not a big deal. Where can we get the freshest, best fish (and still get a reservation less than a month away)? We are looking for good fish, not necessarily giant rolls with lots of stuff in them (although if you feel strongly, we won't discount those). Thanks!

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  1. $100 per person, tops, for a somewhat edomae omakase?

    This rules out perennial favorites Mori, Sushi Zo, Go's Mart, and possibly Kiriko (each of which is >$100pp).

    Try Sushi Gen (in Little Tokyo), Shibucho (on Beverly Blvd.) and Sushi Kimagure Ike (in Pasadena).

    4 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      Price is ridiculously variable @Sushi Gen and you feel like a number. I would avoid for omakase.

      1. re: J.L.

        How about Shibucho ?

        One of my absolute. All time favorites.

        1. re: J.L.

          I consider J.L. an authority on this subject and agree with his suggestion of Kimagure Ike. Excellent quality fish and in very generous portions, for only $80. Kiriko also has an excellent omakase, less than $100/pp when I was there, and would probably work within your budget. That said, I say spring for a few extra bucks and get the top LA sushi experience at Sushi Zo or Mori.

          Also, nobody has mentioned the new Shunji's on Pico. While somewhat more of a kaiseki dining experience, we had a phenomenal omakase for only $80/pp. I'm sure you could request a sushi-only omakase and have an outstanding meal for under $100.

          1. re: DoogDoof

            J.L. has very impressive knowledge of top-quality Japanese food, and am always impressed by the insightful descriptions. Good call, DoogDoof.

        2. I think Sasabune would work. Its is somewhat controversial on this board, but I am a big fan. Its in West LA. I have heard Sushi Gen is very good, but every time I have tried to go, the wait has been ridiculous.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BSW6490

            At least at lunch, the wait is not for the sushi bar; the wait is for a table at which you can order a lunch special. You can walk right into the sushi bar. I'm not a huge fan of Sushi Gen. I'd call it "pretty good"--not "very good."

          2. Kiriko.

            1. Under $100? Kiyokawa, Mako, Shibucho. None requires res a month out. We're LA, not NYC.

              10 Replies
              1. re: TonyC

                Mako is passable, but it doesn't belong in the conversation if someone is coming all the way from NYC to have LA sushi.

                Kiriko's LUNCH omakase would work, now that I think about it.

                1. re: J.L.

                  I'd like to agree to disagree. Had a tremendous Mako meal last year on his anniversary celebration. He went all out and just took us for a rollercoaster ride. It made the meal I had at Azami feel like Olive Garden. Will not ever deal with n/naka.

                  1. re: TonyC

                    Glad you had such a tremendous meal there on their anniversary celebration. But how is Mako on an average day?

                    1. re: TonyC

                      Did I miss something or was the includsion of n/naka a non-sequitor?

                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                        I hadn't mentioned n/naka in this thread before. First of all, it's more of a seafood kaiseki, not omakase. Secondly, meals at n/naka don't fit within the OP's price limit anyways.

                        1. re: J.L.

                          You're J.L. but I was referring to Tony C's comment "Will not ever deal with n/naka." - - was that a negative slam out of the blue? Or just his way of saying the price is not in line with O.P.'s price guide?

                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            Sorry, I should have replied to TonyC with that comment...

                        2. re: foodiemahoodie

                          foodiemahoodie: Chef Niki was @ Azami on Melrose, then went out to SGV to Inaka in Arcadia before opening n/naka in Palms.

                          1. re: yinyangdi

                            Thanks for this info. I used to frequent Azami and when Chef Niki left it quickly went down hill. I dropped $100 for frozen sushi! the salmon hadn't even thawed out yet... but glad to here Chef Niki is still around. I miss the good old Azami days.

                    2. re: TonyC

                      Kiyokawa & kiriko are my suggestions. Just let them know at Kiriko what you're budget is. Kiyokawa is around $70 and they have options for less than that.

                    3. Shibucho is generally over $100 nowadays.
                      Asanebo has a couple of set menus that are under $100 as I recall.
                      Toshi Sushi downtown is a better bet than Gen IMO.
                      Shibucho Costa Mesa would do it, how far are you willing to drive?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cls

                        We're going to be going from the airport to Laguna Beach, so that would be fine.

                      2. I second Sushi Kimagure Ike. I don't think there is another place that best fits your criteria. We used to visit Ike san regularly when he was in Hollywood. You will get no rolls at Ike's--nothing but great quality fish from one of the best and nicest sushi chef's in so cal. We were there just last week. Our omakase was 80pp and included just about everything he had available that night: shima-aji, kampachi, hamachi, binara-maguro, bluefin maguro, o-otoro (one of the best one's i've had in a long time), uni, sawara, unagi, crab, scallop, and ikura. I think that was all of the nigiri (not in the order that it was served). Ike san also had a couple of great cooked dishes, an egg custard with shrimp, scallops and buna shimeji mushrooms, and a perfectly cooked ma-dai (sea bream?). The ma-dai was cooked in a salamander which gave it a slightly smokey flavor and served over a wonderful an aromatic fish broth. Enjoy, and hope you report back.

                        1. It sounds like I should probably look into Kiyokawa and Shibucho Costa Mesa (since it's closer to where I'm staying). I would look at Sushi Kimagure but Pasadena is going to be farther away and it seems like there are lots of good suggestions closer (it does sound fantastic though). Thanks for all the suggestions!!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: cs53

                            If you're driving all the way down to OC, I would recommend Kasen. Unless you're a Japanese regular you won't get the best Shibucho has to offer.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/837748

                            1. re: Porthos

                              A little politeness goes a long ways. If you sit at the bar and will eat without reservation, you'll get the best they have to offer.
                              (Tell him you know Shige from Shibucho LA...)

                              1. re: cls

                                For many sushi bars yes, for this one, no. Take the time to read the provided thread. After 7-8 years, certain non-Japanese patrons still have never been given the better portions of the ayoyagi clam. I came to my conclusion after 10-12 visits over 15 months or so.

                              2. re: Porthos

                                I think maybe I'll go with Kasen after reading the comparisons to Shibucho. It sounds like I may have a better experience there. Do I need to specify the sushi bar at Kasen also?

                                1. re: cs53

                                  Yes. It's ~$15pp more for omakase. I've been 3 times now and they all run ~&75 ish. If you like sashimi, he does a really high quality offering.

                              3. re: cs53

                                Kiyokawa is one of my favorite "budget" omakases, but I think it's worth noting that theirs isn't straight fish. They do several prepared/cooked items, including several little bites (some of them amuse bouche-sized). All these little things, plus the soup, fried whole fish, etc... are why I love Kiyokawa. If you are just looking for fresh fish and nothing else, maybe try something else.

                              4. Sushi Kiyono in Beverly Hills on Beverly drive has an excellent sushi chef, Kawasaki San. I eat there all the time and I go to town and eat a lot. For lunch the other day three of us eating Omakase came to $200 with tip.

                                1. Also in the running (I forgot to mention it earlier):

                                  Hiko Sushi, on the corner of National & Sawtelle. The omakase comes in perilously close to your price limit of $100pp, but it's a great traditional-ish sushi omakase.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    I don't know how traditional Hiko is but it does remind me of a more refined version of what Nozawa's been doing for years.

                                    But I think even Hiko can easily reach higher than the per person 100 limit. Though you can mention to them your limit.

                                  2. I think you can still get Omakase with Katsu himself at Kiwami on Ventura Blvd for $100 per person if you tell them in advance. Blows away the other under $100 options I see listed.

                                    1. Maru Maki sushi in Long Beach. American chef of Korean descent with French culinary training working in sushi. Dude's got some cooking chops and will present you with some incredibly innovative sushi. I had uni with raw quail yolk, blow torch seared salmon with a little bit of mustard and caviar. It cost me $75 for a nigiri and a sashimi omakase as well as 3 or 4 sake things split with the chef. I highly recommend it, it's across the street from Roscoe's!

                                      1. I second (third?) the Hiko recommendation. I live in the neighborhood and eat there often. The sushi is absolutely mind-blowing every time. He puts all his money into the fish. You will not be disappointed and can easily spend under 100 dollars for lunch.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: swojahn

                                          But it can easily top 100 per person before tax and tip, and you still won't leave close to full and won't have as much variety as other places.

                                          though in my opinion, it's the closest to nozawa's style of sushi out of the half dozen nozawa spawns or acolytes scattered across town.

                                        2. Just to report back: We ended up at Kasen and loved the omakase, although we got the sushi/sashimi combo and it looked like the sushi only version had some more interesting choices. Next time we will hopefully make it to Sushi Kimagure, I wish we had had more time!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: cs53

                                            Glad you liked it.!

                                            In the future you can always request some of the interesting things you see going by you. Ask what it is, look interested, and you'll usually end up getting a portion of it too.