Restaurant: Sushi Zo
Location: 9824 National BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90034. (310) 842-3977
Date: April 8, 2011
Cuisine: Japanese / Sushi
LA is a sushi town. I eat a lot of sushi (just take a look at my LA Sushi review page!). People say Zo is the best in town. I finally went.
Unfortuantly, this outside shot is all you get, because they don’t allow photography. Bummer, because the sushi was good.
Zo is omakase only. You sit down. They bring you stuff. They charge you by the piece but don’t really tell you how much. They keep bringing you sushi. Eventually you get full and they hand you a (stiff) bill. It’s closest in style and format to Sasabune (my detailed reviews of that, with photos, HERE and HERE).
This is Osaka-style “warm rice” sushi, like Sasabune, and presumably descended from the same Chef Nozawa source. The individual pieces are made one at a time, no precutting, and given to you in a hurry. The fish is superlative, although each piece seems to have been placed in a miniaturization machine set to 70%. I’ve never seen sushi this small. This was particularly humorous when it came to the “battleship” style ones like Uni (sea urchin). They just looked so cute and diminutive (maybe 50-60% size for these). But I’m not sure this size issue resulted directly in less value. At the end I was still just as full as at Sasabune, although it cost perhaps 10-20% more. I perhaps had more pieces numerically. But each was certainly smaller.
The fish was a bit better than Sasabune, and certainly better than Echigo. The preps are very similar, with 90% being “no soy sauce” — a fact of which we were emphatically reminded each and every time. There was a lot of use of vinegar, yuzu and other brightening flavors. I do like these, but I think it did tend to distract slightly from the fish — which was stellar.
The chef had a bit of an attitude. Bordering on brusk. First the no camera bit. Then the sushi-nazi style directions on the table about proper sushi etiquette, the hurried pace, and the “no soy sauce” or “yes soy sauce” commands — barked.
But food wise, this is overall the best warm-rice style sushi I’ve had in recent years. I really should go back to Nozawa, but it’s been way too long for me to give him proper perspective.
But I’m thinking I prefer Sushi Sushi (reviews HERE, HERE, and HERE). The deal is a little better, it has more variety of style, the fish is just as good, and I prefer the more traditional Tokyo (cold rice) style, the friendly chefs, and the emphasis on the taste of the fish.