Sushi Tsujita Creates Its Niche in Little Osaka [REVIEW with photos]
- J.L. Aug 16, 2014 08:39 AM
Tsujita, renowned for its mastery of Japanese noodles, continues its expansion on Sawtelle with the grand opening of its latest venture, Sushi Tsujita.
Wait, what? Did you say sushi? No noodles? Yep that’s right – No noodles. Sushi Tsujita aims to offer a refined sushi omakase dining experience, with a light emphasis on Edomae techniques.
RESERVATIONS: Not too difficult, as far as I know. I had no trouble getting a seat on a Friday night at the sushi bar. We shall see if this remains the case in the next few months.
PARKING: The usual Sawtelle craziness. But the complex which houses Sushi Tsujita does offer valet parking at night.
DÉCOR: The outdoor guest seating area/patio features a very glam, eye-catching chandelier, with comfortable seating. Aperatifs can be enjoyed here before the meal. As for the dining room itself, I’d call it very “fractal”. Without doubt, the dining room at Sushi Tsujita photographs very dramatically. But when I actually sat down for dinner, I found the triangular/bamboo motif to be interesting without being distracting or intimidating. The 11-seat sushi bar area is open, well-lit and welcoming. But c’mon, for >$100 per person, we don’t get porcelain chopstick rests? (Paper chopstick rests are used). Four tables and four booths are also available, for those who prefer no interaction with their itamae.
BEVERAGES: Four types of Japanese beers, two shochus, four cold sake varieties (and one hot sake, for those of you undergoing life-threatening hypothermia), five champagnes by the bottle are offered. As for wines, there are decent selections of reds and whites, several of which are available by the glass. Two roses are also on the wine menu. And yes, they DO offer free L.A. tap water (in addition to the usual bottled waters, soft drinks and matcha green teas).
FOOD: Everything was fresh as can be. There are numerous traditionally prepared dishes from the kitchen, and a few with modern flair. Highlights of my cooked dishes: Awabi (abalone) from Chiba Prefecture steamed with kimo (its liver) garnished with yuzu, bachiko senbei (sea cucumber crackers), kasago (scorpionfish) mizore (“sleet”, made from ground daikon) in a dashi broth with okra, grilled Miyazaki wagyu beef with fresh wasabi & garlic chips, Momotaro tomato gazpacho with blueberries in wine, slow-braised kinmedai (golden eye snapper) collar with ginger & scallion.
Nigiri-wise, the shari is just a tad above room temperature and packed semi-tight, which I like. Highlights of my nigiri courses include: Edomae style aged North Atlantic akami (lean tuna), shako (mantis prawn), mutsu (blackthroat perch), and Hokkaido bafun uni.
Dessert-wise, I recommend having the musk melon if it is available. Sweet, soft, and summmery in its flavor, the musk melon is a rare treat outside Japan.
SERVICE: Attentive, cordial, responsive. No problems at all in this department.
COST: Three different omakase options are currently available, priced at $120, $150, and $180 (and up, which is what I ordered). Full disclosure: My omakase cost $250.
VERDICT: For those of you who doubted it, there IS space for another high caliber sushi-ya in the Little Osaka area. Sushi Tsujita offers a different, slightly more Edomae-style sushi experience than its nearby neighbors. I would have liked a bit more variety of neta for the price I’m paying, but this is only their first week of operations, so I expect adjustments will be made.
2006 Sawtelle Bl.
LA, CA 90025
I called the wall patterns geodesic. Heh. And I told you guys they weren't as distracting in person as in the photos.
Nice report and pics as usual. Looks like they're accelerating their plans. They had told me they'd only offer the $120 at first (allowing for add-ons of course).
Was the $250 your requested price point did you get one of the listed price ones and added to it?
Thank you for the superb review, as always:) Just wondering did you go for the $180 omakase on the get-go and added more for the final cost $250, Thanks.
thanx J.L. great report! :>
wow, $250 per person. that prices me out of this place.
what were the highlights that made this $250 (over the standard $120 and higher set)? wagyu beef, scorpionfish?
at least i can live vicariously thru you.
final request, you and Offalo and chris should just visit Mori and Urasawa this week and just call it a day. that's easy for you ballers. :>
I don't know anything about this food or experience but I am curious. Are the photos you included, of the entire $250 meal.
J.L., totally agree with you assessment, though you clearly had 3x the food we did :)
Service was stellar, but in the neighborhood we'll still probably lean towards Shunji for the unparalleled cooked dishes (agedashi tomato!).
Chirashi set, not pictured was the miso soup (very good). I asked for a crab hand roll to finish and they gave me king crab, wow. :)
Good question, TC.
I arrived with the intention of trying things I had not had before, by moving from Economy to Economy Plus (or higher); but was discouraged from doing so by Yui, a very kind and attentive manager, who told me the chef was planning what he wanted me to have on my second visit and paying more would not have made a difference in the meal.