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Alternative to Sushi Zo - warmer atmosphere?

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hey all!

I'm looking to take someone out for an amazing omakase birthday dinner. Sushi Zo is obviously amazing food-wise. However, if I was to be completely honest, I think the portions are a little small, and I think the atmosphere and the service are cold and lacking. At that price point, the service, pacing, and ambiance should be top notch IMHO.

What would you say would be the best alternatives to Sushi Zo for a mainly sashimi/nigiri based omakase that will not leave us hungry? Looking for something on par quality wise, but with a more fun atmosphere and perhaps a better price to amount-of-food ratio.

Thanks!

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  1. Kiriko!

    1. please let us know where you end up and what you thought of it.

      the only places that i've found that give <<a better price to amount-of-food ratio.>> have MUCH lower food quality than Zo.

      like many others on this board, i ,too, like mori and kiriko, but i've always ended up spending MORE money at those two places for marginally less in the way of quantity.

      1. I don't know about "fun" atmosphere per se but Kiyokawa on Robertson Blvd may fit the bill.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bruinike

          +1 one of my favorite, IMO underrated, places for good traditional sushi/sashimi.

        2. Mori - definitely warmer - (friendly sushi chefs who are willing to talk). I think the food is better - more interesting appetizers than Zo. Zo is very good. Zo tends to sauce up their fish a little more.

          And I don't get barracuda at Zo. Or two kinds of uni. Or the needlefish. But I do enjoy Zo more than Kiriko, which I find spotty.

          15 Replies
          1. re: foodiemahoodie

            Agree 100%. Don't forget buri belly or Hokkaido hairy crab

            1. re: Porthos

              Kegani!!!

              1. re: J.L.

                And kani miso!

                1. re: Porthos

                  Oishi... Damn you for bringing back memories of The Hump... :-)

                  1. re: J.L.

                    Never went to the Hump. I was talking about Mori!

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Sadly I too missed the proverbial boat on The Hump. And missed out in the infamous whale sushi too.

                      1. re: kevin

                        mixed results at Hump. Don't weep.

                        1. re: kevin

                          went to the hump once on an expense account.
                          didn't like it enough to go back.
                          gimmicky feel to the whole experience.
                          YMMV

              2. re: foodiemahoodie

                agreed!! i luv both mori and zo but mori is more purist and zo tends to be a bit "saucy" (no pun intended). one thing i do luv more about mori is the rice.

                1. re: namstermonster

                  Right near Sushi Zo is K-Zo -- next to Trader Joes at the bottom of the big parking structure on Washington Blvd just a block or two east of "downtown" Culver City. It has outstanding sushi, wonderful omikase and for those who do not want sushi they have 2-3 pages of hot and cold "japanese" tapas, plus chicken, steak, tempura and "the usual". The owner (Keizo) is very friendly and the restaurant vibe very warm.....To me, it's the best in LA

                  1. re: blueline

                    I take it as best, you mean for the overall experience from food to the congeniality of the proprietor to the variety of hot and cold dishes besides sushi ?

                    1. re: blueline

                      if i had the money, i'd go to Sushi Zo everytime.
                      since i no longer have that kind of money to throw around, i find myself hitting up K-Zo.
                      K-Zo is FAR better than most neighborhood sushi bars while not costing anymore than most of them.
                      that said: i would not characterize their sushi as "outstanding" unless you're limiting your comparisons to exclude the likes of Sushi Zo, Kiriko, Mori, or (haven''t been there in a while) Echigo.

                      the total experience, though, is extremely good for the price. very congenial atmosphere, pretty retaurant, free parking, they take reservations, and serve consistently solid (if not mind-blowing) food.
                      I've found k-zo to be a great "date" restaurant and a good place to go out with my girlfriends almost all of whom want prettily-served, high-protein, low-fat, low calorie. food.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Agree 100% with your assessment of K-Zo, westsidegal.

                        WIth some prodding -- ask them to make sure the nori is crisp or you will get a mushy mess -- it is often excellent.

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          thankfully i've never been served nori that is mushy.
                          i usually sit in the middle section of the sushi bar right in front of the sushi chef with the grey hair (i think he may, in fact, be the main guy) and i suspect that my sitting at the bar may be one of the reasons my nori has always been crispy.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            I'm glad to hear that K-zo is still good. Was getting worried as I've been goin there since they opened. I like that private both behind the beaded curtain. Will go back first chance I get. I'll take your advice and sit I the middle of the sushi bar.