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Jonathan Gold's Favorite Sushi Restaurants (Yes, Mori is on the list...)

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

He lists 11 but does not rank them. Instead, they are presented alphabetically:

* Go's Mart
* Hide Sushi
* Hiko Sushi
* Kiriko Sushi
* Kiyokawa
* Mori Sushi
* Shunji Japanese Cuisine
* Sushi Kimagure Ike
* Sushi Sushi
* Urasawa
* Wa Sushi

Thoughts?

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  1. Nice list. I've been to Mori, Hide and Ike. I think Hide makes the list for value and a sort of odd atmosphere. I'd have listed Sushi Gen for value instead and R23 for atmosphere. Interesting that Asanebo does not make the list. Just my opinion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      I've been to Hide, Kiriko, Mori, Shunji.

      I like that it's his "favorite" and not necessarily his "best" list, though one could of course argue that his favorite are what he considers best. Maybe he's able to separate subjective "favorite" from objective "best". I haven't been to Asanebo, but I have to think objectively it's "better" than Hide (and I like Hide as a value choice).

      It's been discussed before that he doesn't like the over-sauced style popularized by Nozawa, so polarizing board favorite Sushi Zo not being on the list is not surprising to me. However, I am a little surprised Hiko is on the list, as it is definitely in that "school". He even says in the article that "[Hiko owner/chef Shinji Murata] flirts with extreme acidity" but apparently Hiko's able to pull it off better than the others, as "the flavors seem to balance themselves as you chew."

      1. re: PeterCC

        Hiko reminds me exactly of Nozawa's style of sushi, if slightly more refined.

    2. I'm surprised Shibucho isn't on the list - he has said on many occasions how much he likes the place (it's almost always in his "top 5" when randomly prompted).

      OK w/ the Hide inclusion, because he explains himself well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chrishei

        Perhaps he views it as an old stalwart and hence taken for granted, which is ok for me, considering that I still want to get a seat there.

        He makes better eggplant parmigiano than even most bona fide Italian restaurants in town. And that ain't a joke.

        1. re: kevin

          How often do you go to Shibucho kevin? I'm still a bit timid about trying...

      2. Been to 'em all. 11 for 11. Hey I'm batting 1.000 with the Goldster! Zo is conspicuouly off the list (and I agree).

        6 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          If you were to rank them in order of best to worst, what would the list look like?

          1. re: The Oracle

            Ah, the inevitable question. I wish it was simple to answer.

            Sometimes I like casual sushi in a neighborly setting (Kiriko, Wa, Sushi Sushi, Shunji)...

            How about them Americanized sushi rolls? (Wa, Kiriko)

            When I want to save some money but want to have some sushi, too (Hide)...

            Some days I want upscale presentation (Go's Mart)...

            On other occasions I'd like a sushi kaiseki, with its formality (Kiyokawa, Urasawa)

            The urge to enjoy sushi Edomae style strikes me every now and then as well (Mori, Kimagure Ike, Hiko)

            At times, I must consume fish no one else is serving in L.A. (Shunji, Kiriko)

            Crappy long answer - Sorry.

            1. re: J.L.

              In other words ... "its ALL good!"

              1. re: J.L.

                You eat casual, cheap sushi ?

                Is that even possible. :)

                1. re: J.L.

                  Thank you, J.L.! Loved reading your thoughts. From someone who enjoys sushi but has yet to try ANY of those places, it gives me a lot of framework!

              2. re: J.L.

                He doesn't like Zo which he has mentioned on a myriad of occassions.

                But I do have to say that Hikko and Zo are quite similar and hence the variety of Zo would kill Hikko in my opinion.

              3. It is mentioned in the Hiko review that "at least one person will be kicked out during your meal".
                Having not been to one of these high end sushi places with the Sushi Nazi type proprietor, what exactly does one have to do to get kicked out of the restaurant?
                Just wondering....

                3 Replies
                1. re: Pamplemoose

                  Just go ahead and whip out your cell phone at Hiko's and you'll find out what exactly one has to do to get 86'd... (g)

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I was texting someone (it was some kind of minor emergency) and was asked to take it outside.

                    Didn't bother me - their place, their rules. A little wanky, but it wouldn't have been a problem had I liked the sushi more.

                    Went with a friend who is quite a sushi snob, more than me. He can be annoying sometimes. But we were in agreement about Hiko. It kinda sucked. He was nearly infuriated by the place. The chef has an attitude for one - and doesn't have the sushi to back it up. (I would have enjoyed his attitude had he delivered, but don't be a dick and serve me mediocre sushi). Cost us around 80 bucks per and we both agreed that Mori was miles ahead and worth the extra money. Zo also much better, and not a dick (not warm and fuzzy either, but a nicer joint, much better sushi, and a cold, but professional attitude. )

                    Fish was too cold, the rice was blah and not warm. Won't go back. if this is on Gold's list. WTF? It's a useless list.

                  2. re: Pamplemoose

                    It's an exaggeration I think.

                    Though when I did go to Zo one time. The server told a walk-in that they don't serve rolls and no spicy type dishes and then the walk-in subsequently walked out.

                  3. Mori review is pretty funny. Odd comment about the needlefish though. I have only had 1 kind there (sayori). Or maybe that was just a completely sarcastic remark.

                    The final rhetorical questions is: did J.Gold add Mori just to appease us fight to the death Mori partisans?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Porthos

                      He's playing mind games with us.

                      1. re: kevin

                        He's definitely got a sense of humor about it: "Some sushi restaurants I like. Your own favorite, of course, was intentionally omitted." (http://twitter.com/thejgold/status/35...)

                    2. The only ones on the list that really aren't that great tha I have been to are Hide and especially Wa (which I thought is terrible now).

                      I have not been to Ike, nor sushi sushi, nor urasawa (i'm not a heavy hitter like the rest of the hedge fund managers and CEO'ers.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kevin

                        i wouldn't call sushi sushi overly expensive - it's just that the prices are for *one* piece instead of two. but it's worth it IMO.

                        i personally derive more satisfaction from building up a rapport with an itamae over a period of time; i have found that when you demonstrate the type of behavior and type of palate that a good chef tends to value, it will be reflected in the level of proactive service you receive. the first time i went to sushi sushi a couple of lifetimes ago, as i left, the hostess commented that she'd never seen shigei joke with a first time customer ever before. and he made me a couple of things not on the menu, including his take on osaka style battera, but without the box. so i'd rather keep going back to one place than try every place on a list when it comes to sushi - as long as the chef is good.

                        1. re: barryc

                          thanks, either mori or shunji is it for me right now.

                      2. What? No Zo?

                        I'm also over Kiriko. Last time I went it was Mori prices without the quality. Sayonara Kiriko!

                        1. Not a fan of Hiko or Hide