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Is Sugarfish Over-Rated?

I take my sushi/Japanese pretty seriously. I don't care about trendy crap. I order boatloads of sashimi and small plates when i go for sushi. I don't get sauced-out "special rolls" or those kind of overblown, overdone things. Favorite Sushi spots are Nagao (Brentwood), Matsuhisa (La cienega), Izaka-ya (on 3rd), and Wa (La Cienega & Holloway).

A lot of my self-proclaimed "foodie" friends (aka they're NOT foodies) have raved about SugarFish. My gut feeling, combined with what I've seen here on Chowhound, is that it's overrated.

To my fellow hounds who have been, WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH SUGARFISH?

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  1. Here is just one of the "spirited" previous threads that have popped up on the LA board discussing that very question: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857460 I still haven't been so don't have a dog (chow hound?) in the fight as yet...

    1. IMO both Matsuhisa, and Wa both fall into the "sauced out, overblown, and overdone" category.
      Sugrafish is all that and more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cls

        Sure certain things on their menus fall into that category, but not all of them. I appreciate Nobu's South American fusion dishes (at Matsu), but I have always stayed away from dishes with too many ingredients. I want the flavor of the fish to come through, not a load of spicy mayo or truffle ponzu haha.

      2. I'm not sure what you mean by overrated, since most Chowhounds feel that Sugarfish has always been inferior to the former Sushi Nozawa, and even Nozawa had plenty of detractors after his three decades in that Studio City strip mall. (He never enjoyed the universal lovefest that Urasawa enjoys.) Although I'd been to Nozawa a dozen times or so, I still have yet to try Sugarfish.

        Mr Taster

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mr Taster

          could you give me a quick run-down of Nozawa? I don't ever go to Studio City.

          1. re: Mr Taster

            and I mean overrated in the context of the general, sushi-enjoying--not Chowhound level--populace. I've heard rave reviews from lots of them. I'd like to think I have a more sophisticated palate (sp?) than they do, which is why I'm here asking all my fellow food worshipers on CH.

            I get the sense that my friends rate SugarFish highly because it is trendy and good, but not great, quality--something they wouldn't know the difference between.

            1. re: beaubourne

              Nozawa's preparation of sushi (warm rice that falls apart) was controversial, as was his "my way or the highway" method of preparing sushi. Controversial or not, he gained a reputation that got people flocking to his sushi bar. Eventually he established Sugarfish, closed his small sushi shop of ~30 years, and is no doubt retiring comfortably on Sugarfish income.

              Mr Taster

          2. If you take your sushi/Japanese seriously, you should try Shunji, Mori, Kiriko, n/naka and Sushi Zo.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Porthos

              SugarFish is very good for the price. If you like Sasabone (and I do) it is comparable for half the price.

              1. re: Thor123

                I agree that Sugar Fish is very good for the price. I always leave feeling quite satisfied with the food and the bottom line on the check. Service is also very good (I go to the Brentwood location).

                1. re: Thor123

                  If you like Sasabone (and I do) it is comparable for half the price.
                  =============================
                  Never tried Sasabone ;) but I do not like Sasabune. I tried it for almost half the price back in the Sawtelle days when it was "better". Didn't like it then either.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    I knew I was going to get called out on the spelling! I liked it better on Sawtelle, but I dont think it was appreciably less money, especially for the time. It is a style that one generally likes or does not. Not a ton of middle ground on SASABUNE or SUGARFISH.

                    1. re: Thor123

                      This brings to mind the dinner we had the other night at the place that came in behind the old Sas-a-Cinn-a-Bun location on the corner of Nebraska and Sawtelle across the street from Plan Check and Nora Sterry Elementary, Bar-Hayama http://www.bar-hayama.com/ A beautiful space, and the food while generally good and offering a broad range of choices, just doesn't quite cut it. I'd rather eat at Kiriko (with a similar menu in some respects) at the price. Although for a "date night" Bar-Hayama would be a good choice, just so long as food is of secondary importance. And some many recall that the space that Sasa was in was a Mexican place at one time that made their own tortillas and sold great tacos out of them? I'm thinking it was called Baustista? Maybe?

                  2. re: Thor123

                    imho, both sasabune and sugarfish are places to be avoided.

                    1. re: Thor123

                      How expensive is it? How does the PRICE (not food) compare to, say, Katsuya?

                  3. Sugarfish is good for what it is. It is not a high end sushi bar, so judging as one is going to throw you off track.

                    It has a limited menu of good sushi options, more like a grab and go sushi spot, except here you stay a while. I definitely would not make it a destination, but if I were in the area and wanted some good basic sushi, it would be a good option.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ocshooter

                      Be that as it may, the OP has stated they take sushi "pretty seriously" so by most of our understanding, Sugarfish should be avoided.
                      Also to be avoided for the serious sushi fan are: Sasabune, Matsuhisa, Wa, etc.
                      They may be fine for what they are, but serious sushi (or even good basic sushi) they are not.

                      1. re: cls

                        Sorry if I wasn't specific enough. I guess I mean Japanese, more than the specific term "sushi." I don't mean this post in terms of looking for good sushi specifically, I just used it as a qualifier to indicate that quality is important to me.