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Authentic Japanese restaurant to take Japanese client near the downtown LA?

makotot Jun 23, 2012 06:20 PM

Does anyone have recommendations for an authentic Japanese restaurant near the downtown to take Japanese client? It's a business dinner and prefer a high end place. Thank you.

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  1. m
    madcao RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 07:25 PM

    Sushi Gen. There's going to be a bit of a wait, but ask for seats at the sushi bar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: madcao
      makotot RE: madcao Jun 23, 2012 07:42 PM

      Thank you!

    2. Tripeler RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 07:40 PM

      Are you sure this Japanese client would prefer to have Japanese food after coming all the way to southern California?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tripeler
        makotot RE: Tripeler Jun 23, 2012 07:43 PM

        Yes. Japanese but traveling from Midwest where they don't have many or any Japanese restaurants.

      2. j
        jdwdeville RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 07:50 PM

        While I do like Sushi Gen, I don't exactly consider it high-end, and given how bustling it is I'm not quite sure it's business dinner appropriate.
        Have you considered Shibucho on Beverly? It's downtown-adjacent, intimate, quiet, and has top-grade fish quality. Plus he has an out of this world wine list. Have a meal, hammer out a deal, then celebrate with a bottle of 20yr old Grand Cru Burgundy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jdwdeville
          makotot RE: jdwdeville Jun 23, 2012 08:00 PM

          Thank you for your good suggestion. Grand Cru Burgundies sound appealing to me personally. I will definately check out.

        2. b
          BSW6490 RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 07:59 PM

          I would not do Sushi Gen although I know it is very good. I dont think its high end and if its a business dinner you dont want to wait. I would suggest Chaya downtown where you can have sushi and also other very nice menu choices. For a high end Japanese client, I think its a great choice.

          1. J.L. RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 08:37 PM

            Let's see: Downtown, authentic, high end...

            Agree with Sushi Gen (sit at the sushi bar if possible, where the shokunin can give you a "higher end" experience than if you sat at the tables).

            Also try KaGaYa (next door to Sushi Gen) for L.A.'s best high end shabu shabu. Their seared creme brulee dessert is a thing of beauty.

            Also agree with the rec on Shibucho, but be warned: It's not in a "high end"-looking neighborhood (although I've never had any problems with that area, and the restaurant is just fine on the inside)...

            Are you absolutely limited to the Downtown area? Because there are much better offerings if we can expand the search out to West LA or South Bay...

            6 Replies
            1. re: J.L.
              Porthos RE: J.L. Jun 23, 2012 09:44 PM

              I cannot think of a better rec than Kagaya for high end Japanese in the downtown area.

              1. re: Porthos
                epop RE: Porthos Jun 23, 2012 10:34 PM

                how great is it?

                Sushi Gen isn't a destination I would return to. Not bad, just not special.

                1. re: epop
                  Porthos RE: epop Jun 24, 2012 03:36 PM

                  I wouldn't go out of my way for Sushi Gen. I would go out of my way for Kagaya. Stick with the regular prime beef and it's actually a pretty good deal.

              2. re: J.L.
                kevin RE: J.L. Jun 25, 2012 08:45 PM

                Damn, why do you got to let out one of my favorite sushi bars in LA ?

                1. re: J.L.
                  soniabegonia RE: J.L. Jun 26, 2012 09:59 PM

                  I was going to risk sounding like a broken record by mentioning Kagaya for the umpteenth time on this board but then thought it might be weird to have shabu shabu with a client either at a table (face to face=good, sharing a pot with a client... possibly weird depending on the nature of relationship) or at the bar (individual pot=good, no face to face=not ideal). Maybe it's just me but depending on the nature of business, shabu shabu might be a little.... shall we say, labor-intensive.

                  But hell, if I were the client, I'd be all over Kagaya simply because it is fabulous.

                  1. re: soniabegonia
                    J.L. RE: soniabegonia Jun 26, 2012 10:51 PM

                    As the "client" at many a business dinners (often with "suits"), I have to say the food does matter (but hey, I'm a Chowhound)...

                2. ipsedixit RE: makotot Jun 23, 2012 08:56 PM

                  Not necessarily the most authentic, but if you want a high-end place to close a business deal, how about Takami?

                  1. MonsieurKnowItAll RE: makotot Jun 24, 2012 09:22 AM

                    I could not sit idly and watch you be led down a path of embarrassment. Sushi Gen and Kagaya ARE authentic but NOT “high-end” -- inappropriate for business meetings, at least the type where you’re wearing suits. If it has to be near downtown, consider R23 (J-town, valet parking, appealing decor, quieter). Their food is solid, though the menu leans fusion. The other “pretty” places mentioned are for impressing non-Japanese palates.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                      Porthos RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 24, 2012 09:27 AM

                      Weird that you would recommend R23 instead which can't even impress non-Japanese palates.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        MonsieurKnowItAll RE: Porthos Jun 24, 2012 09:38 AM

                        Not as wierd as suits sitting at Kagaya.

                        1. re: Porthos
                          epop RE: Porthos Jun 24, 2012 11:58 PM

                          I agree with Porthos. But it depends how desperate the person is,
                          as they're not coming from Japan, but from somewhere in the USA
                          where they haven't much Japanese food. R23 may work, though I haven't been in many years.
                          I also like the Chaya rec.
                          Sushi Gen is not bad either, especially at the counter. I just haven't seen much reason to head back there.

                        2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                          J.L. RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 24, 2012 09:38 AM

                          "Business" can be done at KaGaYa and Sushi Gen. I've had very productive "suit" meetings there.

                          R23 has gone downhill, and fails to qualify as authentic in my book..

                          1. re: J.L.
                            kevin RE: J.L. Jun 25, 2012 08:46 PM

                            I haven't been to KaGaYa in over a decade or more but I remember it being topps for shabu shabu.

                        3. Mr Taster RE: makotot Jun 24, 2012 11:53 AM

                          Is the expensive tempura bar at the Kyoto Grand still open?

                          Mr Taster

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mr Taster
                            ipsedixit RE: Mr Taster Jun 24, 2012 11:57 AM


                          2. r
                            raizans RE: makotot Jun 24, 2012 12:55 PM

                            does it really, really have to be in downtown and high end?

                            what about one of the high end sushi places: urasawa, mori, shunji, etc.

                            or what about casual (but not too loud): otafuku, kagaya, tsujita, etc.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: raizans
                              makotot RE: raizans Jun 24, 2012 08:19 PM

                              I really appreciate all your comments and suggestions. I will stay in the downtown so prefer the downtown and somewhere quite enough to have conversation. Someone suggested Hazuki but it seems closed or telephone line is disconnected.

                              1. re: makotot
                                raizans RE: makotot Jun 25, 2012 09:51 AM

                                yup, looks like they recently went out of business.

                                i think shibucho is the best match for your criteria.

                            2. a
                              AlkieGourmand RE: makotot Jun 24, 2012 09:52 PM

                              You must be Japanese yourself with the goofy usage of articles. I think Takami is a good bet. Why? Because while Sushi Gen may be the best sushi restaurant in downtown LA, it's nothing special. The views at Takami are something special.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                makotot RE: AlkieGourmand Jun 24, 2012 10:04 PM

                                I am but from SF so trying to figure out good places in LA. Thanks!

                                1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                  J.L. RE: AlkieGourmand Jun 25, 2012 04:40 PM

                                  If we're just talking about views, try WP24. Skip the entrees there, and stick with appetizers.

                                  1. re: J.L.
                                    epop RE: J.L. Jun 25, 2012 06:20 PM

                                    Very loud, however

                                    1. re: epop
                                      J.L. RE: epop Jun 25, 2012 07:27 PM

                                      Again, just talking about the views.

                                      1. re: J.L.
                                        ipsedixit RE: J.L. Jun 25, 2012 08:45 PM

                                        Views of the city, or views of the clientele?

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          J.L. RE: ipsedixit Jun 25, 2012 11:51 PM

                                          Downtown's got a bit to go before catching up with the beach cities, in that respect...

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            kevin RE: ipsedixit Jun 26, 2012 11:26 AM

                                            nice eye candy?

                                            ok, i'm there.

                                    2. re: AlkieGourmand
                                      cls RE: AlkieGourmand Jun 25, 2012 09:41 PM

                                      Takami can have excellent sushi if you order from Yoshi and let him know you want authentic. You can also call ahead and he will shop for more exotic things (at least he told me he would)
                                      Not my favorite because it's more Nobu like food wise, but Toranoko has a very nice room and very good, if slightly overdone, sushi.

                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                        buhhh RE: AlkieGourmand Jun 26, 2012 07:08 PM

                                        I'm stuck at looking for goofy articles. Don't see any.

                                      2. n
                                        ns1 RE: makotot Jun 26, 2012 11:34 AM


                                        I also think Kagaya is a perfect place for suits.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: ns1
                                          MonsieurKnowItAll RE: ns1 Jun 26, 2012 02:24 PM

                                          Oh, that’s great…anyone else care to disagree with me? Next time ns1, JL, and porthos meet at Kagaya to conduct business in suits, I’m gonna shabu shabu at the next table in my t-shirt and talk on the cellphone.

                                          I still don’t think Kagaya fits the OP’s specific criteria (he said high-end). It’s too casual, the brisk pace of their dining is not conducive to long talks, and it’s visually blah.

                                          Makotot, the best I can do is to recommend R23, but there’s a reason many people are telling you to look waaay past DTLA. Heck, even JL is telling you to forget Japanese and go to WP24.

                                          1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                                            Porthos RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 26, 2012 02:29 PM

                                            Next time ns1, JL, and porthos meet at Kagaya to conduct business in suits, I’m gonna shabu shabu at the next table in my t-shirt and talk on the cellphone.
                                            It's LA. You get that at Spago's and Patina all the time.

                                            1. re: Porthos
                                              kevin RE: Porthos Jun 26, 2012 03:41 PM

                                              Yeah, T-shirts and cell phones are at every restaurant in LA, the only exceptions as to only the cellphones may be the sushi restaurants in the vein of the old nozawa such as sasabune, zo, and echigo, etc.

                                            2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                                              ns1 RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 26, 2012 03:52 PM

                                              As the other posters have mentioned, that's LA for you.

                                              1. re: ns1
                                                MonsieurKnowItAll RE: ns1 Jun 26, 2012 07:35 PM

                                                C’mon, it’s not that bad. I find *most* people still respect the decorum at high-end places. We all check our cellphones, but I never saw anyone blabbing on it at Patina, which BTW requests on their menu that diners refrain from using their phone at the table.

                                                1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                                                  ns1 RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 26, 2012 10:48 PM

                                                  I'm just saying it's not a surprise to see someone dressed like that in LA going to eat at "finer" establishments

                                              2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                                                J.L. RE: MonsieurKnowItAll Jun 26, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                WP24 - Only for the views.

                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                  cls RE: J.L. Jun 26, 2012 09:43 PM

                                                  you can get those views AND Japanese food at Takami

                                                  1. re: cls
                                                    epop RE: cls Jun 26, 2012 10:07 PM

                                                    I've never been to Takami. How does the food compare to say Nobu or r23 or Hump?
                                                    I won't go to Roku.

                                                    1. re: epop
                                                      ipsedixit RE: epop Jun 26, 2012 10:13 PM

                                                      It's comparable to Roku.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        J.L. RE: ipsedixit Jun 26, 2012 10:49 PM

                                                        Again, ipse nails it.

                                                        1. re: J.L.
                                                          epop RE: J.L. Jun 26, 2012 10:55 PM

                                                          then epop skips it.

                                                          1. re: epop
                                                            cls RE: epop Jun 28, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                            But as I have mentioned, talk to Yoshi who is the head chef. Sit at the bar. You won't be disappointed.
                                                            However, if you choose to take a table and not trust the chef, caveat emptor...

                                            3. h
                                              hrm RE: makotot Jun 27, 2012 07:21 AM

                                              Sushi Gen is not high end , in fact very casual. Food is good though not exceptional.JMO.

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: hrm
                                                ns1 RE: hrm Jun 27, 2012 09:28 AM

                                                the only thing exceptional about sushi gen is their turnover and price.

                                                1. re: ns1
                                                  kevin RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 11:16 AM

                                                  i went either once or twice and never thought it was good to great.

                                                  definitely with you on this one.

                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    ns1 RE: kevin Jun 27, 2012 11:22 AM

                                                    the only real reason to go to sushi gen is for the sushi/sashimi dinners. due to high turnover fish quality is great, so for the price it cannot be beat.

                                                    1. re: ns1
                                                      kevin RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 11:36 AM

                                                      i won't even go there for that.

                                                      if i'm anywhere near downtown and the craving for sushi hits it's off to beverly blvd.

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        ns1 RE: kevin Jun 27, 2012 11:39 AM

                                                        so let me know where you can find an equally comparable sushi/sashimi dinner for $35.

                                                        1. re: ns1
                                                          kevin RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                          my eyes may be deceiving me but there's toro sashimi in there and that whole plate of sashimi whether at lunch or dinner is 35 bucks ???

                                                          is there more ?

                                                          i'd probably just go for the sashimi in that case, get right to business.

                                                          but once again, i'm not a fan of sushi gen, to me it feels like (and i'm going to get shit for this) just a cut above hide (pun intended).

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            ns1 RE: kevin Jun 27, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                            yes, there's toro sashimi in there and that's dinner and it's $35 bucks. Maybe 40 now, I haven't been in a while.

                                                            But historically speaking, I have always gotten a much greater amount of toro than I would expect for $35-45.

                                                          2. re: ns1
                                                            Porthos RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                            ns1. Didn't you say you stopped going to Gen after racking up $100+ pp?

                                                            1. re: Porthos
                                                              ns1 RE: Porthos Jun 27, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                              I stopped sitting at the bar, dinner sushi/sashimi combos only.

                                                              $210 for 2 no tax/tip/drinks. I'll never forget that tab.

                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                yinyangdi RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 03:09 PM

                                                                I stopped going to Sushi Gen, period, a couple of years ago after several random number generator tabs at the bar; quality to price was WAY off. Does/did the sashimi dinner always look that good in the dining room? If so, maybe I should revisit Gen and sit in the dining room...

                                                                1. re: yinyangdi
                                                                  ns1 RE: yinyangdi Jun 27, 2012 03:11 PM

                                                                  yep, that's why I go to the dining room and not the bar.

                                                                  I still feel like a number, but I'm paying way less.

                                                                  silly diners at the bar (like old Ns1) subsidizing the great sushi/sashimi dinners in the dining room.

                                                                  All I ask, if someone visits Sushi Gen due to this thread, is that someone please reply with current sushi/sashimi dinner prices.

                                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                                    kevin RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 03:41 PM

                                                                    i would like to know too.

                                                                    i thinlk i went only a couple years after it first opened when it was pretty popular but not too much so.

                                                                    but even then it still wasn't cheap and it wasn't that good.

                                                                    boy, do i remember the days when i had about a 12 dollar sushi meal at the traditional sushi bar in the old yaohan plaza.

                                                                    1. re: ns1
                                                                      Servorg RE: ns1 Jun 27, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                      Here is photo of their lunch special from earlier this month (all for $15 + tax and tip) - if this isn't a bargain I'll eat my hat: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/YBmk31...

                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                        ns1 RE: Servorg Jun 27, 2012 03:56 PM

                                                                        Need dinner prices =D

                                                                        Wait, photo 685 is LUNCH!?

                                                                        just ridiculous.

                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                          hrm RE: Servorg Jun 27, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                          Yes, lunch is a bargain and good though only available for table service which there is a long wait. Still this is not a high end restaurant for entertaining Japanese clients ! Sorry, I entertain clients often and this restaurant is to casual to impress and make a client feel special.

                                                          3. re: kevin
                                                            J.L. RE: kevin Jun 27, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                            I've gone to Sushi Gen 3 times in the last year: Once for a "suit" business meeting (sat at the table, party of 4, pretty good food).

                                                            ... and the other two times I've gone to Sushi Gen was on my own dime, and I sat as a solo diner at the sushi bar for omakase.

                                                            I gotta say, during those 2 omakase visits, I felt no sense of urgency on the management's part to get me to leave any earlier, and my meals were excellent. I felt I got choice cuts of their seafood (and I'm by no means a regular there), including toro, uni. Their sushi is good. It's not Mori or Kiriko, but very, very decent.

                                                            Seeing my enthusiasm in gulping down everything placed in front of me, the shokunin even served me konowata, which I've never ever had before anywhere. Awesome.

                                                            Yes, I can see how group would feel rushed at Sushi Gen, and yes, the price is a bit steep for what it is. But, Sushi Gen has proven itself a solid sushi choice in my book (especially for the solo sushi bar diner).

                                                      2. tenxtone76 RE: makotot Jun 29, 2012 03:28 AM

                                                        I'm not sure what impression, etc, you're looking to make. However, I like Hama Sushi's quality and service much better than Sushi Gen now. I think many would agree after trying both.

                                                        In the evenings, Hondaya is a legit Izakaya to take them to.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: tenxtone76
                                                          jdwdeville RE: tenxtone76 Jun 29, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                          I found Hama passable-to-good. Fish quality was above average but selection I thought was limited. Vastly preferable, however, to that madhouse spot next door with the perpetual wait- can someone explain that to me?

                                                          1. re: jdwdeville
                                                            makotot RE: jdwdeville Jun 29, 2012 04:32 PM

                                                            Thanks all for your suggestions. I gave some choices to my client who picked up Kagaya for shabu shabu. They were pretty happy with the quality of the food. I may try other places next time in LA.

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