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Aug 31, 2013 01:50 PM

Random westside updates

Was walking in the Sawtelle Centre yesterday evening and noticed that the Blue Marlin space is being renovated. Apparently Kimukatsu ( is moving in. I've never heard of it. Has anybody been to other locations?

The new "BW" residential complex (on Barrington/Wilshire, hence the painfully self-conscious name) will apparently house a 3 Square Cafe on the first floor....

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  1. Ah yes, the BW is right across the street from my office.

    As I try to avoid the 405 gridlock every afternoon going home, I drive by Sawtelle & Massachusetts which is now being converted into a new Shin Sen Gumi. It's one block north of Santa Monica.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SilverlakeGirl

      And Daikokuya is taking over the former Ramen Jinya space....

    2. The new conveyor belt sushi place, Kula, next to Beard Papa in the same plaza as Nijiya is already open. I saw signs on Thursday advertising all nigiri is $2/piece or something.

      20 Replies
      1. re: PeterCC

        Apparently they have another restaurant in Torrance. My partner thought the South Bay restaurant was half-way decent. I'm hoping they're better than Sushi Stop (horror) or Daichan (which wasn't horrible but wasn't particularly good, either)....

        1. re: ilysla

          The Kula place downtown was lots of fun at lunch, pretty good sushi and great service - must be popular because there was a LONG line at the door. Took our LA Times coupon too:)

        2. re: PeterCC

          Kimukatsu, the "layered" tonkotsu specialists from Japan (with a U.S. store already in Honolulu), is opening a branch in the old Blue Marlin space of the corner mini-mall at Mississippi & Sawtelle.

          Ix-nay on the cheap sushi trend on Sawtelle, I say.

          1. re: J.L.

            Agreed. Please, for the love of God, no more Sushi Stop! Can't understand why that place has any business at all, let alone enough business for TWO shops w/i 2 blocks of each other. ::shudder::

            1. re: ilysla

              Three if you count their off shoot on Santa Monica and Sawtelle New Japan....

              You know, it's not horrible. Better than the take out sushi at Nijaya and they serve more than sushi. Their cheap salads and noodle bowls aren't bad either...


            2. re: J.L.

              Looking forward to Kimukatsu opening to compare it with Kagura in Torrance.

              Sorry to be picky, but there is a difference between "tonKOtsu" pork ramen broth and "tonKAtsu" which is pork cutlet.

              Re: cheap sushi, what's the point? The whole idea of enjoying sushi is in appreciating the skill in the making of the rice, the selection of fish, etc, and the art in putting it all together.

              1. re: Ogawak

                Misspelling - Sorry I was typing on the fly.

                1. re: J.L.

                  I too find it difficult to balance my lap top on my lap top while typing...

                  1. re: J.L.

                    I figured it was a typo, but the difference is too often ignored/overlooked by others on this board.

                  2. re: Ogawak

                    Then there are people who eat Sushi for dietary reasons and need it to be reasonably priced.

                    When I first went to Sushi Stop for Lunch because I wanted a relatively quick, fresh made sushi lunch, I expected to see it full of students. Instead there was a lot of people like me there in suits picking up lunch to go. Yes, we could afford to go to Hide across the street but not if we regulary took the 1 hr+ lunch that most Sushi restaurants require.

                    Further, there were a lot of families. Kids LOVE Sushi and a place like Sushi stop offers a kid friendly environment that the whole family can afford. As the kids get older, they can try new rolls and fish without the parents have to worry about waste (The plates and rolls there are small) or spending too much.

                    There is reason why every Ralphs has a sushi station now. It's a food item that people seek out regardless of price point now. It might be a sad reality to you. But it is a reality...


                    1. re: Dommy

                      I think you have some salient points about why cheap sushi establishments exist, but I question whether those points belong on a chowhound board. I can talk with anyone about buying cheap and saving money, etc. but not here.

                      You are one of the biggest reasons Chowhounds is an enjoyable and enlightening experience for many of us, so I say this with the highest respect.

                      1. re: Ogawak

                        I don't think we need to set artificial limits on what strata of sushi (or any other foods) we can discuss. How would we determine which are okay to talk about anyway? Sushi Stop is a no, but what about Hide? SUGARFISH? K-Zo? Shunji, Mori, Kiriko? Go's Mart? Or only Urasawa? ;-)

                        BTW respected sushiya Kiriko does brisk lunch business with various affordable combos and I see people ordering them to-go not infrequently.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          I know lots of pricier sushi places can do to go orders, but there is also the flip side. Is it WORTH paying $$$ for a Kiriko hand roll to go when it's going to take you at least 15 minutes from the time it is made to the time its in your mouth. For me, if I'm paying full freight, I want the full experience...


                          1. re: Dommy

                            Interesting take. Haven't had the sushi at Nijiya, but I don't find the sushi at Sushi Stop better than other not-particularly-good places such as, say, Hara Sushi (I live across the street from the place). And at those kinds of places, I need the large volume to make me feel full. In terms of price/quantity, the prototypical Korean-owned sushi places w/ all the california-based "speciality" rolls work far better for me than does Sushi Stop (and, IMO, taste better, although to be fair, I only went to Sushi Stop once).

                            FWIW, I also found their curry bowl to be pretty blah, too.

                            1. re: Dommy

                              My point was that many of Kiriko's lunch specials are affordable. Maybe not as affordable as Sushi Stop, but not omakase prices.

                            2. re: PeterCC

                              First off, my apologies to Dommy if I came across as rude.

                              What I said about buying cheap was wrongly put. I love cheap, but in the context of quality, not in and of itself. The beauty of Chowhounds is finding quality, whether cheap or very expensive.

                              If there is a to-go sushi place that might be deemed chow-worthy, ala In N Out for hamburgers, I think that's worth a mention. By the way, the best cheap take-out sushi IMHO is Sakae in Gardena. Mostly the kind you find at Japanese picnics and potlucks, but they are cheap and good.

                              1. re: Ogawak

                                Last time I checked, "chow" is a synonym for food.

                                One person's "quality" may be another person's abomination...

                          2. re: Dommy

                            "... As the kids get older, they can try new rolls and fish without the parents have to worry about waste..."

                            I'm not sure my kids will be able to enjoy wild-caught fish in his/her lifetime, with the way we're overfishing the seas these days. Younger and younger specimens of tuna, albacore, etc. are turning up in cheap sushi-yas all over the world.

                            Precisely because of demand.

                            "... there are people who eat Sushi for dietary reasons and need it to be reasonably priced..."

                            Really? And what did these people do before sushi went global in notoriety (circa before the 1980s)? Did they eek by with caviar?

                          3. re: Ogawak

                            I like the Kaiten sushi places with the conveyor belts in japan -- would be great if there were a good one here...there, quality on those is better than 90% of the restaurant sushi here and is made by a real chef in the middle, who will usually do custom orders too...the one in the olympic collection isn't great but im hopeful for the one across the street.

                            The's cheaper.

                        2. re: PeterCC

                          We walked by Kula on Saturday night, around 6:30pm, and there were at least 20 people waiting outside to be seated.

                          I peeked in, and I like that the items on the conveyer are labeled.

                        3. My instagram feed has a ton of tonkatsu pics today. Apparently Kimukatsu's Culver City location is open.

                          I was just at Seoul Sausage today for lunch and didn't look to see if the one in Little Osaka is open too. Any word?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: PeterCC

                            Their website sure does make it seem like it must be open on Sawtelle

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Sawtelle is a few weeks out apparently, but the Culver City location is open for sure.