Location: 22330 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303 818.704.1459
Date: May 28, 2011
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: Possibly LA’s best sushi!
The Food Club has been talking about taking a trip to Go’s Mart for months, but we finally got around to organizing it. For those of you who don’t know, Go’s Mart is a tiny strip mall joint in Canoga Park with some of the best sushi in the entire LA area. Go has a unique take on the art, as you will see below. My partner in crime, Erick, has been coming here for over ten years and he called Go (the owner/chef) up and arranged for a “special” omakase for us. For scheduling reasons we decided on a very long Saturday lunch.
So I went down tot he cellar and prepped the above lineup of sushi friendly wines, mostly whites and a couple lighter red Burgundies. Go doesn’t have a liquor license, so there is no corkage!
The storefront is about as unassuming as can be.
The master behind his counter.
Most people sit at the cramped little sushi bar.
Go’s has pretty much NO decor. It started as a Japanese market and they still sell various drinks and products.
Oddly, this includes video tapes — and what appears to be racy Japanese video tapes at that! Who even has a VCR in 2011?
We had the table (about half of it shown).
This unusual Spanish white earn 92 from Parker, “The 2007 Gorvia Blanco was sourced from a single 3 acre vineyard planted exclusively to the indigenous variety Dona Blanca (used in the past mostly for grappa production or as a table grape). Medium straw-colored, it reveals aromas of apple, pear, slate/mineral, citrus, and acacia. Crisp, concentrated, and intense (in the style of top-level unoaked Chablis), in the mouth it is vibrant, complex, and impeccably balanced. It should provide both intellectual and sensual pleasure for another 5-6 years.”
We open with a kind of sunomono. Pickled cucumbers, very orange salmon, shrimp, bonito flakes, flying fish eggs. It had a strong vinegar tang of course.
Then a lovely preparation of Akimo (monkfish liver). Sweet fermented miso sauce, sesame, seaweed, goji berries, gold flakes (Go loves gold flakes). This was wonderful.
Finished off the first wine already.
From my cellar, parker gives this Rhone white 95 points. “The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape blanc is even better. Meriting the same rating as I gave it last year, it is a delicious, beautifully textured, light gold-colored white revealing plenty of white peach, apricot, nectarine, and honeysuckle notes as well as a distinctive florality and minerality. More honeyed and fuller-bodied than its 2008 counterpart, it should drink beautifully for 7-8 years, then go into an oxidative state. It is somewhat of a gamble as to what will happen thereafter. Beaucastel’s limited production luxury cuvee first produced in 1986 is their 100% Roussanne Vieilles Vignes offering. Fifty percent is barrel-fermented in one-year-old barrels, but no new oak is utilized.”
Kani (king crab) with fresh Japanese scallop in an uni (sea urchin) sauce and topped with real caviar. Erick licked his plate. The scallop and the uni were particularly wonderful.
The first round of Go’s unique take on regular sushi. Starting with the pink one on the right, and proceeding clockwise: Kime-Tai (special red snapper), butter fish with kelp, halibut with kelp, and kanpachi (young yellowtail). Everything was dusted with a bit of ancient sea salt, some of the fish had shiso, some yuzu, some the marinated kelp. You can see the little dark sliver of fresh black truffle on all the fish except the kanpachi. Not only was each piece of fish exceptionally fresh, but the additional elements gave them a unique (and complex) flavor profile.
Two of our friends even brought their four year old. She didn’t eat the omakase 🙂 But she did handle the LONG (4-5 hour) meal pretty darn well.
Santa Barbara jumbo prawn, uni, caviar. These were all females, with the roe (the red stuff). This was a succulent bit of prawn, but of course the uni/caviar thing just boosted it.
A fantastic Burgundy, Parker gives it 92, but I’d give it more like a 94. “The 2003 Clos Vougeot explodes from the glass with licorice, dark cherries, and a myriad of spices. A wine of considerable depth, it is packed with suave black fruits immersed in chocolate. Well-structured, ripe, and exceptionally long, it will merit a higher score if its alcoholic warmth is absorbed into the wine with time (something that sometimes occurs with Pinot Noirs). Projected maturity: 2008-2017.”
Oooh Toro, two ways. On top is O-toro (special extra fatty tuna belly) with onions and caviar. On the bottom is kawagishi toro (shredded) with sweet sauce, stronger onions, and gold flakes. Both were amazing, but the o-toro was mind blowing.
Scottish salmon, look how orange this stuff is! The one on top is smoked, the bottom raw. Both have a little bit of onion and are dusted with hibiscus salt. The smoked one tasted like lox sushi.
For a lunch party where half the people are going back to work afterward (Uncharted 3 has a big E3 deadline coming soon and many are Naughty Dogs), we cruised through the wine fast enough. 2003 Vosne-Romanee clos du chateau monopole, domaine du comte liger-belair.
On the left Saba (mackerel) and on the right seki-aji (mackerel from Kyushu, considered the best). The saba had truffle, and the second goji berry, which gave it a bit of a sour and salty taste. Great examples of these fish, and continuing Go’s interesting arrangement of flavors.
“Special albacore roll.” Slightly spicy crab wrapped in avocado and albacore and topped with toasted garlic. I’m not normally a crazy roll fan, but for this I made an exception!
Starting at the right (pink one) and going clockwise: ebi (sweet shrimp) with gold and salt, japanese scallop with yuzu and caviar, geoduck giant clam with shiso, and Santa Barbara abalone (with truffle). Yum!
The ebi heads return in fried form.
The cooking process weakens the molecular bonds in the complex sugar that makes up the shrimp shell, allowing to just be crunched whole. We left a few antennae behind.
Seared toro with gold and sweet ponzu. What can you say, excellent. Although, I do prefer it raw.
Our four year-old got this interesting sushi lollipop.
Blue crab hand roll. These had little sprigs of truffle in them, which took the whole thing to another level.
Starting with the darker fish on the right. Snapper, flounder fin (yuzu and salt), black cod (salt and kelp), and flounder body. Many of these (all but the black cod) had shiso, all were dusted in the hibiscus salt. I’m not a flounder connoisseur, but I was told that the fin (behind soft) was some of the best that can be had. Go’s prep certainly livens up even these “dull” whitefish. Of course the fish itself was impeccable.
Scallops with flying fish eggs and truffle in a truffle sauce. Yummy!
The 2003 Walter J. Oster Riesling Auslese. I got this at the winery in 2005. As we wound down the wine this sweeter take went perfectly.
I’m not exactly sure what was inside, but it was some kind of whitefish, real crab and seaweed, along with seaweed, sesame, flying fish eggs, and lots of dynamite. The whole thing was pretty damn tasty!
In the front snow crab, and the back kani (alaskan king crab) with uni and caviar. Well, if top grade crab isn’t good enough: add uni and caviar!
Two kinds of eel. Unagi (freshwater) and Anago (sea). Both in the sweet sauce, with a bit of kelp. Great eel!
Kanpachi (young yellowtail), with shiso, truffle, and yuzo.
And finally another round of Toro because we couldn’t resist!
Go finishes up with a bit of fruit drizzled in sweetened condensed milk. Very nice finisher. There are oranges, rasberries, strawberries, golden-berries, mulberries and blueberries.
Some of the fish in the cabinet. You can see the toros in the middle front.
Close up on the toro.
So I do have to say that Go is some of the best Sushi in the city, and by extension all America. It’s up there with Urwasawa, although more straight sushi oriented (even if with unique flavors). Less traditional than Sushi Sushi, but blows away Sushi Zo and Sasabune (not that they aren’t great too on the scale of things).
And as an extra bonus there was a Chinese foot massage place right next door where we waited out our buzz for only $19.99 an hour!
A second Go Sushi review, here.
For more LA Sushi, click here.
[…] Accompanying the champagnes we have a trio of fishes. “Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with American caviar and pea puree.” Yum yum. Some really great Uni, showcased perfectly. Notice the Uni/Caviar combo which Go uses so often at Go Sushi. […]
Awesome review Andy. Thinking of taking the wife to Go’s for our anniversary and your post came up when I searched google for reviews.
For someone like me that is new to Go’s and new to omakase would you suggest I state a per person price range (e.g. $100-$150 per person) to Go before the meal starts (so that I stick to somewhat of a budget and don’t get surprised by a higher than expected bill at the end)? Also my wife has a slight allergic reaction to shrimp so it would be best for her to avoid those during the meal as well. Is mentioning these things wise or would it be considered an insult to Go?
Any suggestions appreciated.
I would imagine the MAX would be about $250 per person. But few can probably eat that much (I could). $150 I’m sure would be tons of food for most mortals 🙂
I doubt he’d take any offense to the dietary restriction. Only Nozawa and a few of his spawn (Sushi Zo) seem bugged by this kind of thing.
Thanks a lot! I appreciate the advice.
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