HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


LA Magazine...Ultimate Sushi Guide...thoughts?

Just curious to what everyone's take is one this article... seems that some big hitters are left out..

Sushi zo
Sushi nozomi
Sushi gen
Sushi park
Sushi sushi
Mori sushi
Go's mart

Are all named in the article as the best in LA....tho I guess sushi restaurants aren't known for creativity in naming their restaurants. .lol

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Which big hitters did you think were left out?

    6 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      Nobu's new Larry Ellison supplied location on the ocean side of PCH for one...

      1. re: Servorg

        Wow, that's why it moved.

        From the financial backing of Oracle at Oracle ?


        Well, Nobu might just be the best sushi with a view.

      2. re: J.L.

        Which big hitters did you think were left out?

        Sushi Ici
        Kimagure Ike

        But that's ok. I like to keep the (semi) hidden gems, hidden. Better, and more, for me.

        1. re: J.L.

          Mori, Sushi Zo, Shunji, Yamakase, Katsu-ya, Matsuhisa, Sugarfish..could all be contenders..

          1. re: csnyde

            respectfully disagree with your recommendations of Matsuhisa and of Sugarfish.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Sugar Fish is what it is, which is fine with me (would agree it does not belong on the list though). Anxious to try Bar Nozowa, it might be list worthy. Loved Yamakasi.

        2. Oops..Yeah I missed them on the list. I didn't realize that the grade of celebrities dining there was a determining factor...lol...I've had some great sushi at Matsuhisa over the last two years..tho I can't speak to how it was or wasnt in the 90's...maybe i got lucky...I agree that Shunji isn't a Sushi restaurant per se...tho their sushi is excellent.

          1. Kimagure Ike for sure. But that's okay, it's actually in Pasadena, and everyone knows Los Angeles Magazine doesn't recognize anything east of La Brea.

            1. Was wondering what they listed. I'm surprised that Hamasaku, Jinpachi, and Okumura made it.

              Personal faves that were left out: Shunji (definitely qualifies), Yamakase, Kiyokawa

              Others I'm surprised that didn't make it: Kimagure, Hiko, n/naka (if it qualifies)

              1 Reply
              1. re: chrishei

                +1 Kiyokawa... tho happy to keep it a semi-secret...

              2. Look, the readership of LAMag extends WAY beyond our little but knowledgeable Chowboard - This larger readership most likely will include people who (for example) only eat dynamite and rainbow rolls, people who have no freaking clue (nor care) about the nuances between "omakase" & "kaiseki", people who think "uni" is an abbreviation for a Westside high school, people who may not be aware of the fact that Matsuhisa is actually a Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant that happened to start serving nigiri as an afterthought to pay its bills. Cheaper options like Sushi Hide is mentioned, and even roll factories such as California Roll Factory & Hamasaku are featured. Conveyor belt sushi is explained, as is the importance of shari. Even Shige-san from lesser-frequented places like Shibucho gets a whole page of love.

                Given all that great info for the intended readership-at-large, I don't really mind that the kaiseki places (Shunji, Kiyokawa, Yamakase) were left out.

                This sushi issue is not an altogether bad thing - I posit that this issue of LAMag DOES indeed cater to its readership, in this sense.

                Hey, at least they didn't write up Crazy Fish.

                17 Replies
                1. re: J.L.

                  << people who think "uni" is an abbreviation for a Westside high school>>

                  1. re: J.L.

                    WOW! You are insulting the LA Mag readership for not having your educated and sophisticated palate and don't understand the "nuances" between "Omasake & Kaiseki".
                    Although you express disdain for the "intended readership-at-large", I find it refreshing that there are still some folks out there who will pick up the Sushi Issue of L.A. Mag at the Newsstand. Perhaps, these folks will learn something about sushi. IMHO, it was a pretty good article.

                    1. re: maudies5

                      Please, please read the wording in my response again... I stated that the readership MAY INCLUDE (note I did NOT generalize anything sweeping about the readers, unlike what you're accusing me of).

                      I was writing in reply to chrishei's noting that some eateries were left out.

                      All I was trying to convey (perhaps in a poorly worded way which you may have misunderstood) was that the general readers of LAMag will encompass the entire spectrum of sushi expertise, from newbie to sushiphiles, and that the LAMag piece was indeed appropriate for people from all sushi backgrounds.

                      I think you're actually agreeing with what I wrote - That the article does cater to its readership.

                      OK back to my tequila...

                      1. re: J.L.

                        Cheers! Enjoy the rest of your evening.

                          1. re: maudies5

                            Brindis. I gotta stop writing under the influence (esp. on CH)... :-P

                            1. re: J.L.

                              Is the whole issue available online ?

                              Or one must more likely drop by the newsstand ?


                              btw, tequila ?

                          2. re: J.L.

                            And that helps with my standing counter seat at Shunji's.

                            You got a valid point. There are many many many many people that eat "sushi" that have never even heard of "omakase". Not that there is anything whatsoever wrong with that.

                            As for me, I'd rather appreciate and analyze the intricacies of an omakase while others may analyze the intricacies of a jump shot by larry bird (i think this might date me, hahaha).

                            1. re: J.L.

                              I'm actually curious and I'm not sure if this is the right board to ask this question...

                              But where would a good place to go to for all those crazy rolls?

                              I sure love my nigiri sushi (especially lately, because I've been getting incredible cravings for kinmedai and anago). But sometimes I don't want to spend that much and sometimes I just get cravings for those really silly rolls with all the sauce and avocado and whatever else people here like to throw in them. At the same time, I don't want to go to nice sushi bars and order it, because it feels like a waste and sometimes it even feels like an insult. I'm sure it's also unjustifiably expensive.

                                1. re: kainzero

                                  Ninjin in Santa Monica. The Matt's Riot is a strange and, yes, tasty cut roll (I forget what's in it) topped with fried onions.

                                  1. re: kainzero

                                    Absolutely kosher to ask about them crazy rolls, kevin!

                                    Hamasaku is the textbook answer, but the guys at The Room Sushi (old Ratata space on Westwood Blvd, just south of Santa Monica Blvd.) have quite the killer roll assortment.

                                    They just opened, so they're aiming to please.

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      second hamasaku.
                                      << I'm sure it's also unjustifiably expensive.>>

                                      that said, hamasaku is not cheap.
                                      also, parking is a PITA

                                    2. re: kainzero

                                      California Roll Factory is our destination in West LA if we have guests who do not eat traditional sushi and sashimi.

                                      1. re: prawn

                                        If you go to Calif. Roll Factory, go visit Mike, the owner of the video store next door. He's awesome.

                                      2. re: kainzero

                                        Big Fish Japanese Cuisine if you're ever near the Sherman Oaks area. Good lunch specials too.

                                    3. It was fun reading, loved the picture of Shige-san, agree with everything J.L. wrote about the audience of LAmag.
                                      My big question is - who's been to Sushi Nozomi? Any good? That was a surprise.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                        I've read good things about Nozomi from a few blogs (although not the most recent) and LA Weekly (when they did they top 10 sushi list in Squid Ink last year). It's on my to-try list, albeit further down because it's located...further down.

                                      2. Kinki University in Japan has successfully birthed blue-fin tuna babies (sperm meets egg) in a lab, producing a promising alternative to the blue-fin problem. Now in its fifth year, the Kinai brand is a tad pricier than wild bluefin, but think of the eco-savings.
                                        Funny thing is that this technically isn't any more "sustainable" or "eco-friendly" as you are harvesting lots of squid and other bait fish to feed these apex predators.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          It seems more viable as a last stand.

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Very interesting.

                                            I'll have to read the magazine already.

                                            Sometimes it's comforting to read what you believe you already know.

                                            I'm pretty sure the hounds that replied on this thread represent a small, infinitestimal sliver of the LA Mag readership at large.

                                            btew, did JG use to write for this mag, and anyone happen to have a link to the old article on thi nguyen who used to post on ch quite a lot.

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              "It seems more viable as a last stand."

                                              Or, considering the process, "one night stand"

                                            2. re: Porthos

                                              And I thought my University was Kinky!

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                Oh, to be a graduate of Kinki U, majoring in gender studies...


                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  And a fertilization specialist at that ;-)

                                              2. I think all the heavy hitters were included if I'm not mistaken.

                                                One could have easily left out Sushi Gen, Hamasaku, Sushi Park, and Sushi Nozomi from this list and perhaps even Nishimura.

                                                Otherwise, the list is pretty solid.

                                                Though I would add Shunji's to close to the top of the list.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  I would strongly disagree about Sushi Park. I haven't been for a year or so - unless its dropped off since then. Totally agree with your other drops though.

                                                2. This is a pretty poor list by the director of Jiro, the only passable to passably good joint on the list might be Saito's (but even that joint is only good if you happen to need a pretty decent place within a mile and a half of Silverlake:


                                                  But it got me thinking.

                                                  For the people that have been to Jiro and actually eaten there is it similar in style to Sushi Nozawa in Studio City ?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Not really... Granted, I only went to his son's place, but it seems Jiro-san is all about the rice and the way he ages and flavors the fish. His rice is body temperature, so you don't get that "warm rice" sensation. And the glorious texture of the rice! And quite a jolt of vinegar acidity as well. Exemplifies Mori's philosophy that rice is 70% and fish is only 30% of the experience.

                                                    Jiro's fish also has texture, smoke, flavor. I feel that so many people in LA only believe that soft, melt-in-your-mouth fish is the best. Nozawa to me all has that same soft texture with a flavor of ponzu. Even Sushi Zo all starts tasting the same after a few courses. Yes, it can be good, but with really great sushi, there should be interplay with textures, just as much as there should be interplay with flavors. I can still taste the smoked bonito today....

                                                    The only thing that's similar to Nozawa I think is the size and shape of the sushi. A little more square and rather large. That mouth-filling sensation is also something that makes Jiro stand apart.

                                                    And yes, the director's list was awful.

                                                    1. re: liubpy

                                                      Jiro's fish also has texture, smoke, flavor. I feel that so many people in LA only believe that soft, melt-in-your-mouth fish is the best. Nozawa to me all has that same soft texture with a flavor of ponzu. Even Sushi Zo all starts tasting the same after a few courses. Yes, it can be good, but with really great sushi, there should be interplay with textures, just as much as there should be interplay with flavors.
                                                      I could not agree more and have ranted as much in previous anti Sasabune threads.

                                                      Mori and I had a discussion about this "meltingly soft" preference in LA and if you'll note, Sasabune is very careful to select these soft cuts (salmon, tuna, albacore, hamachi) and don't provide other more texturally exciting selections (the various tai fishes and various stages of wild yellowtail, etc).

                                                      I also have made Shunji my go to place for sushi these days. The selection, quality, and knife work are all outstanding. Super rare stuff that I have not had even with Yasuda's 30-40 different offerings.

                                                  2. Shunji definitely belongs. Maybe the best sashimi in LA with at least 5 different types of fish that you'll never find anywhere else in LA. Never understood why people consider it a Kaiseki place. You get a lot of prepared dishes with Omakase, but it's always the same. Asanebo, on the other hand, is more Kaiseki, and they are really good at it.

                                                    13 Replies
                                                    1. re: liubpy

                                                      Shunji hails from Asanebo. Maybe that lineage is why I feel it's more kaiseki-esque.

                                                      When Shunji first opened on Pico (I was among his first customers on Melrose and then on Pico), he told me was toying with the idea of eschewing nigiri altogether. Good thing he didn't follow through.

                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                        Oh yes, I know. And when I first went to Shunji, I was impressed with his Kaiseki-esque dishes. But when I went back, I found that they were pretty much the same. However, his variety of whitefish was stunning, and he said many were special ordered from Tokyo only for himself.

                                                        Asanebo, on the other hand, changes their prepared dishes all the time. Their executive chef (not the owner) is a rock star. He doesn't have to deal with managing the restaurant, so he can spend all of his time coming up with new dishes. As many times as I've gone there, I can always get something new that they just invented.

                                                      2. re: liubpy

                                                        So agree with you, Shunji was the finest sashimi ever in US for me. Ate no cooked food but sushi/sashimi and was stunned at
                                                        quality. Needlefish presentation was worth price of admission alone, knife work was mesmerizing.

                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                          I agree. Beyond the tomato tofu dish, the beautiful monkfish liver mousse, the bleu chesse balls and the lobster three ways; it may be sacrilegious to say but his sushi and sashimi are tops even better than the cooked/kaiseki style dishes.

                                                          And he does have unique varieties of fish too that I have not seen anywhere else.

                                                          My one qualm if anything is the lack of indoor plumbing if you get what I mean.

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            Kevin - you're squimish about the "outhouses?" I enjoy the fresh air and chatting with Shunji, who is often out there sucking down a few lungfulls of smoke between courses!

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              My adventure was in the rain and did not detract at all, thought fun, many after 10 visits l will get pissed, literally and figuratively, but not yet.

                                                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                  A moment. Not a Monet.

                                                                  My bad.

                                                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                  Dang. It too me a Monet for that pun to register in my brain.

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    That's quite an expensive pun...

                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                      It's only monet, no big deal.

                                                          2. I'm honestly a little bummed that Go's Mart made the list. It's going to be so much more crowded! I liked that it was inconspicuous. Kept the wait down.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: OliviaPacific

                                                              I don't think it'll make that much of a difference. Most people in LA think they're too beautiful to be seen in a restaurant like Go's Mart, or even know where Canoga Park is. Hamasaku it is.

                                                                1. re: chrishei

                                                                  Chris. I hope you are correct.

                                                                  1. re: chrishei

                                                                    It's never clear how much of an impact appearing on lists like this has. I will say that Kiriko has gotten much MUCH busier over the last few months, at least at lunch, most likely due to the additional exposure from being highlighted by various publications.

                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                      I think it's do to your glowing reviews, Pete.

                                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                                        I don't mind Kiriko getting much busier but if gos Mart does too much. I will be quite despondent in losing my seat there.

                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                          Kiriko does a great job promoting though. They always do restaurant week and that gets people sitting down for lunch or dinner there that otherwise wouldn't, and anyone who's been there knows that once you go, you'll probably go again. And again.