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

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

    1 Reply
    1. 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

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

      2. 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

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

        2. 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. 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.

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

              1. re: Porthos

                how great is it?

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

                1. re: epop

                  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.

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

                1. re: J.L.

                  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

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

                  1. 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

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

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Not as wierd as suits sitting at Kagaya.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          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

                          "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.

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

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

                          Mr Taster

                          1 Reply
                          1. 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

                              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

                                yup, looks like they recently went out of business.

                                i think shibucho is the best match for your criteria.

                            2. 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

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

                                1. re: AlkieGourmand

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

                                    1. re: epop

                                      Again, just talking about the views.

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        Views of the city, or views of the clientele?

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

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

                                    2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                      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

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

                                      2. KAGAYA

                                        I also think Kagaya is a perfect place for suits.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: ns1

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

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

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                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

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

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  you can get those views AND Japanese food at Takami

                                                  1. re: cls

                                                    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

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

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: hrm

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

                                                1. re: ns1

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

                                                  definitely with you on this one.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    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

                                                      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

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

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          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

                                                            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

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

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              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

                                                                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

                                                                  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

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

                                                                        Need dinner prices =D

                                                                        Wait, photo 685 is LUNCH!?

                                                                        just ridiculous.

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          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

                                                            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. 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

                                                          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

                                                            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.