Echigo Sushi

Restaurant: Echigo

Location: 12217 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 201. Los Angeles, CA 90025. (310) 820-9787

Date: October 27, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese Sushi

Rating: Very good warm-rice style sushi

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Back when my office was at the Watergarden in Santa Monica Echigo was one of my regular lunch haunts. The chef studied under Nozawa and is stylistically related to nearby Sasabune. They both follow the “warm rice” school of sushi (which I believe originates in Osaka prefecture. The rice is warmer and less sticky than Tokyo-style sushi. It tastes really good this way, but has some tendency to fall apart on the way to the mouth.


The lunch menu has two choices, the lunch special for $14 and the omakase. Below is the union (both) of each. The lunch special is by far the best deal (6-7 years ago it was even $9!).


Fresh ground wasabi and pickled ginger. These photos were taken on the iPhone 4S which does pretty well in good light. A few missed photos were purloined from the web.


Skipjack tuna with a bit of sauce.


Medium (chu) toro.


Hamachi (yellowtail).


Halibut, which itself doesn’t have much flavor, but the vinegary sauce does.


Tai (red snapper).


Scallop. One of my favorites.


Salmon with a bit of kelp and sesame.


Bonito, also delicious.


Albacore.


Kanpachi (young yellowtail). With a bright vinegary sauce.


Ono.


Shimaji (stripped jack).


Butterfish. This is an Echigo specialty. A firm fish with miso based sauce.


Uni (sea urchin).


And the now classic Nozawa blue crab hand roll (I ate two and could have had more).

Echigo is a hair below a few of the very top lunch LA sushi places (Sushi Sushi, Mori, Go, Kiriko etc), but it offers pretty good relative value, and on the absolute scale top sushi, far above the generic touristy sushi joint. Getting the Omakase at dinner at the sushi bar is an even higher caliber experience.

For more LA area sushi, see here.

For more LA dining reviews click here.

Mori Sushi – A Top Contender

Restaurant: Mori Sushi

Location: 11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. 310.479.3939

Date: September 14, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese / Sushi

Rating: Top sushi, but not cheap

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In a town full of top grade sushi, Mori Sushi is consistently regarded as one of the best. It has it’s own particular style, somewhere between the Osaka school types like Sasabune and the classic Sushi Sushi.


The interior and sushi bar.

The following meal represents the “Omakase” the largest and most expensive ($170) of the chef’s options. Several truncated or more sushi centric variants are available. This is basically a series of hot dishes followed by flights of sushi.


Kohlrabi greens.


Housemade tofu, with homemade wasabi and soy. This is the soft silken tofu that I’ve had a number of times recently, like at Moko and Ozumo. This particular example was very nice and light.


Sashimi. Left to right: marinated sardines, abalone liver, baby abalone with yuzu/pepper sauce, shitake mushroom, pike eel jelly, marinated Japanese onion, and Japanese okra. The sardines were really good and sweet. The liver reach, like an ugly blob of chicken liver. The abalone tender. And the jelly like a cube of flavorless jello.


One of those subtle Japanese soups. Pike eel (the white stuff), yuzu (the green sliver), and Japanese eggplant.


Santa Barbara sweet shrimp (with the roe), red peppercorns, and in front: scallop, halibut, and octopus sashimi. All this is dressed “new style” with a bit of olive oil and pepper. The shrimp was very sweet and tasty.


Uni (sea urchin) tempura with salt. I forgot to photo it, but this photo is of the same dish at a different restaurant. It was nearly identical, and very good.


Halibut with kelp on the left. Seki buri (wild yellowtail) on the right. Both solid “normal” fishes of extremely high quality.


Big eye chu-toro on the left and blue-fun toro on the right. Yum!


Kohada (Shad gizzard) on the left, pickled in vinegar, and Spanish Mackerel on the right. Also very nice fish.


Grilled baby barracuda on the left with a really nice charred flavor and mirugai (geoduck jumbo clam) with miso sauce on the right.


An uni (sea urchin) duo. Santa Barbara on the left (sweeter), Hokkaido in the middle (very fine also) and very fresh Ikura (salmon roe) with yuzu zest on the right.


Tamago (sweet omelet) on the left and anago (sea eel) on the right, grilled, with a bit of BBQ sauce. The eel had strong grill flavors and less of the cloying (but yummy) sweet sauce than usual.


Toro cut roll. Soft and velvety.


A pair of homemade ice creams for dessert. This is sesame, which tasted it but was a bit gritty and not very creamy.


And ginger ice cream which was very soft and pleasant, like a french vanilla with a ginger kick.


Hojicha, roasted green tea to finish.

Overall, I found Mori Sushi to be top notch. But it’s not cheap (not in the least). The ingredients are top notch and you pay for it. It has a subtle restrained style. I slightly prefer Sushi Sushi with it’s larger pieces or Go Sushi with it’s more over the top flavors. It hands down beats out Sushi Zo in my opinion. Certainly Mori is in the top five or so places in town — and that’s saying a lot as LA is unquestionably the best place in America for sushi.

For more LA sushi reviews click here.

Morihiro Onodera (old owner) in the palm shirt. Masanori Nagano left (new owner).

Ozumo – Japan invades the Mall

Restaurant: Ozumo

Location: 395 Santa Monica Place   Santa Monica, CA 90401   T: 424.214.5130

Date: July 15, 2011

Cuisine: Modern Japanese / Sushi

Rating: Good

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I’ve been slowly working my way through the new Santa Monica Place Mall dining scene. Which surprisingly, isn’t bad. Not brilliant either, but not bad. They’ve populated the mall with six or so small chain corporate places (restaurant groups of 2-4 restaurants each). These are never quite as good as sole (and chef owned) establishments, but they are better than big chains — barf! So far I’ve reviewed Xino, Zengo, and La Sandia. Now it’s time for the Japanese, Ozumo.


The interior space is large.


With multiple parts and a real sushi bar.

The dinner menu can be found here.


We ordered this decent (but not exactly on the level of this) cold sake. They did have a lot of expensive sakes on the menu, so some of them might be amazing.


“Kinoko Miso Soup. Nameko, shiitake and enoki mushrooms in a rustic Koji miso soup with negi.” A nice miso variant. I liked all the mushroom action.


“Hanabi. Slices of hamachi and avocado drizzled with a warm ginger and jalapeño ponzu sauce.” This is their interpretation of the classic Nobu dish. Everyone has it now. This version was a tad overdone, throwing in a few more elements and disguising the fish. But at the same time it was tasty and nothing clashed.


“Special heirloom tomato salad.”


Toro sashimi. I’m trying to low carb it so I’ve been doing more sashimi. This was good toro, but it reinforced my conclusion that this Rolls Royce of fish does better as sushi than as sashimi. Somehow it’s fat content needs the rice as a foil.


“Yiya Yakko. Chilled silken tofu, fresh ginger, negi and tamari shoyu.”


Here are the traditional sauces. The tofu itself was perfect. And truth is this is exactly how I’ve gotten it in Japan. The problem is that the straight up soy sauce is a little bland for the tofu. This is a flaw in the classic dish, not the restaurant. The deadly hot Korean version I had recently at Moko was tastier — and vastly more nose shattering.


Some various sashimi. Salmon, scallop, albacore. This was all good, although not ‘amazing,’ I’d say 8/10 on the fish meter.


“Yamabuki. Fresh uni, shimeji and shiitake mushrooms in a healthy Genmai brown rice risotto.” This made me suspend my “low carbing” for a dish. I would have liked more uni (sea urchin) as there are only two tiny pieces. The risotto itself was very good. It tasted more “healthy” and brown rice than a classic Italian version, which would have been slightly yummier. But it did have great texture, particularly with the mushrooms. Overall a very pleasant dish.


Here is the other bar, which is ‘first come first serve.’ These mall places are huge though, and as of yet there is no problem getting into any of them even at prime time.


They even have some cool outside seating, although not as nice as Xino or Zengo’s patios which are fantastic.

Overall, Ozumo is good. I’d probably rate it 7/10. The food was quite good. The service, like all the mall places, needs some work. I think they hire too many young inexperienced servers. The food’s not as good as many of LA’s other top sushi joints, but it’s solid (remember I’m a serious sushi snob), and considerably better (and cheaper) than over trendified mediocre fish joints like Katsuya Brentwood or Sushi Roku. As far as the mall goes, it’s in the league with Xino and Zengo, and certainly better than La Sandia.

Click here to see more LA sushi posts.

Kiriko Sushi

Restaurant: Kiriko Sushi

Location: 11301 Olympic Blvd #102, West Los Angeles, CA 90064. TELL (310) 478-7769

Date: July 8 & 21, Sept 21, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese / Sushi

Rating: Very nice!

ANY CHARACTER HERE

At our giant Go Sushi love-fest one of my Foodie Club members suggested I check out this Sawtelle sushi joint. He said it was great. Twist my arm! So I finagled a business lunch there (didn’t have to twist the other arms very hard either).

The unassuming storefront on the corner of Olympic and Sawtelle, right next to the Yakatori place.

This first time we ordered a light Omakase, almost all sashimi with a little sushi.

Omakase 1


The classic Japanese salad with the yummy textured dressing. I forgot either of my real cameras and had to make due with the iPhone 4 (sorry). It really doesn’t do too bad a job if you have adequate light and turn off the flash. That little LED has a range of about 12 inches and isn’t good for much.


Miso soup, the usual sort. They had about four kinds on the menu though.


Amberjack on the left, and halibut on the right with a gelatinous but yummy “sauce.”


From left to right: albacore with garlic chips, baby red snapper, and mackerel with onion and similar. All very good and excellent preparation.


On the left, kanpachi (young yellowtail), taco (octopus), and on the right Japanese scallops with pesto. I hate eating octopus because it’s such a smart animal, but these were some of the most tender and succulent bits of cephalopod I’ve yet had. THe scallop was also fantastic, with the light pesto adding a unique flavor without marring the subtle sea taste.


Left to right: Sock-eye salmon (light sauce), seared albacore, and golden eye snapper. The snapper almost tasted like lobster or something.


On the left: Big eye tuna and yellowtail, in the middle sea bream with salt and on the right homemade smoked salmon. All were great, but the bream and the salmon really stood out.


Sushi, left to right: Tuna, yellowtail, sea bream (with salt), and homemade salmon. This plate was served at the same time as the similar sashimi plate above.


Blue crab handroll. Overstuffed and on par with the Sasabune ones.

I went back two weeks later and ordered a more elaborate sashimi omakase, which is mixed in here with a simpler sushi/sashimi one. This time I had the medium camera so the pictures are better.

Omakase 2


Some couple million year-old sea salt rocks on the counter.


The chef at work.

The salad.


Regular miso.


Red miso, which is saltier and richer.


Octopus, salmon wrapped mango with caviar, and on the right boiled eel with plum sauce. The eel was interesting. It didn’t have much flavor (being boiled) but the sauce was very tart, tasting intensely of sour Japanese plum (which it was).


The same thing but with an oyster instead of the octopus.


A sashimi plate, left to right. Wild kanpachi (young yellowtail) with pesto, gel, and jalepeno. Albacore with garlic chips, abalone sea salt. Halibut with ponzu gel. These gels (slightly sweet, interesting texture) are something unique to Kirko (in my experience).


A sushi plate. Crab handroll, BBQ eel, salmon, yellowtail and halibut.


A sashimi plate that I forgot to photo until after I had eaten several items. We have starting in the lower left and heading clockwise. Tai (Red snapper) with sea salt. Chu-toro. Santa Barbara spot prawn, live head and raw body (eaten). Japanese scallop with pesto.


The head was so alive it was still moving. Click this image for a video.


Then he came back fried. Most certainly dead this time.


A sashimi plate of four kinds of salmon. Left to right: Sock eye smoked. Sock eye fresh. King salmon smoked. King salmon fresh. All good.


Japanese scallop sushi, with a bit of salt and yuzu.


More sashimi. Squid with spicy cod roe. Seared Japanese Mackerel. Seam bream with yuzu.

Omakase 3

This is another “sushi and sashimi” lunch omakase.


Soup and salad.

Seared snapper, monk fish liver with jelly, and halibut.


Albacore, seared and raw. Amberjack, wild yellowtail with jelly in front and sea bream in back right.


Salmon sashimi.

Bluefin tuna, wild yellowtail, sea bream, and salmon sushis.


Scallop and Uni (sea urchin) sushi.


A top grade blue crab hand-roll.

Overall, I was very impressed with Kiriko. Not only was the fish fantastic but they had very nice modern presentation and were doing some interesting stuff with the fish without going all weird and California. I’d put it in that grade of 9/10 LA sushi, which is saying a lot as our sushi is so fantastic.

Click here to see more LA Sushi posts.

Go Go Go Sushi!

Restaurant: Go’s Mart [1, 2]

Location: 22330 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303  818.704.1459

Date: May 28, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese Sushi

Rating: Possibly LA’s best sushi!

ANY CHARACTER HERE

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.”


Ginger.


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.


The “volcano!”


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.


More fish.

Close up on the toro.


Prawns and scallops.

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.

For other Foodie Club meals (all crazy great) see here.

Sushi Sushi Sushi

Restaurant: Sushi Sushi [1, 2, 3, 4]

Location: 326 1/2 Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (310) 277-1165

Date: March 30, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese Sushi

Rating: Old school sushi – fantastic fish and presentation!

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Sushi Sushi is fast becoming one of my preferred sushi places. I had actually intended to try out Sushi Zo, but they were closed for the week so I had to “settle” for this new favorite. We decided to try out the “large omakase” this time, as I had done both ala carte (HERE) and the medium one (HERE). It was great as expected, although not much different than the medium, which I think is a better value.

One of the chefs with the big slab of home ground real wasabi. This is one of many ways in which the men are separated from the boys. Accept no powdered green stuff.

Japanese bonito sashimi, lightly seared. Marinated seaweed and pickles. Soft and flavorful.

This device is used to shave the daikon radish into long paper-like strips.

Each of us got slightly different sashimi plates. This one is the “no sea urchin” version.

Ankimo (monkfish liver), with scallions and pickles in a ponzu. Perfectly fresh, with that rich creamy texture that it’s supposed to have, a hint of grainy, a hint of fishy,  but very mild (no such thing as monkfish liver with NO taste of the sea — what would be the point of that?)

Raw Japanese scallops with salmon roe.

Saba Mackerel with miso paste.

The urchin plate, only the middle is different.

Two kinds of uni (sea urchin). Santa Barbara and Japanese. It tops a pile of squid bits and includes pickles and wasabi. The combo is delicious, and all texture.

The rounds of regular sushi begins. Note that all the sushi here has been pre-applied with sauce, even when it’s just soy sauce. This red yummy is maguro (Blue fin tuna). This is some of the best tuna I’ve ever had, totally melts in the mouth.

Yuzu, Japanese citrus. Shavings or juice from this little fruit are added to a number of dishes. The chef keeps it sitting on the freezer pipes in the fish case so it’s easy to shave.

Tai (Red Snapper), with a ponzu and shavings of the yuzu. This is a lighter fish, but I’m very partial to it.

Chu-toro (medium grade fatty tuna belly). This is also melt in the mouth amazing.

Kampachi (young yellowtail). Like Himachi, but more tender.

The chu-toro was just a warmup for this o-toro, the even more fatty toro. It melted in the mouse like butter. Always one of my (and everyone else’s) favorites.

Some very specific kind of yellowtail, “vury yellowtail?” It was hard to remember the exact name. But it was darn good.

This was a piece of scottish salmon. One of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever had. Incredible!

Aji (Spanish Mackerel), with only the very slightest bit of fishy. Again, a great mackerel. Somehow I missed the photo of it AGAIN!

Kohada (Japanese Herring) This was great herring, but is certainly a bit fishy — herring always is.

Saba mackerel, not as good as the Spanish one, but nothing to mock either. There is a bit of “batera” seaweed on top and some pepper.

A fiery new dish in the works.

Seared toro on the bottom, scottish salmon on top. Both delectable. They taste very different half cooked. Warm, fattier, with a bit fo char flavor.

Another round of sashimi. Sweet shrimp, Japanese scallop, giant clam, and taco (octopus). Are were prefect examples of the breed, and doused with a little bit of yuzu (just the fruit, not with the pepper) to test them up. The shrimp had a wasabi “ebi brain” sauce. This is really a mix of shrimp guys (liver). Sounds awful, but tastes good.

And it continues.

Ikura (salmon roe). Perfectly fresh, with just the slightest hint of brine (good). Wonderfully taught, they explode in the mouth like little brine balls.

They say you should judge a sushi chef by his tamago (sweet omelet). By those standards Sushi Sushi rules.

Kampachi cheek. This was marinated in one of those sweet broths I would frequently get in Japan. There was a bit of bone but the meat was incredibly soft (consistency like tuna fish?) and delectable. I really enjoyed the heavily marinated root vegetable. I don’t remember what these are, but I’d get them in Japan all the time.

Asari miso (clam broth miso soup). This is a very light miso, with a clam brothy quality. Not too salty, very nice.

Uni (sea urchin) sushi. I can’t get enough of this. It amazes me to think that even just a couple years ago (bear in mind that I have been eating sushi since 1978) I didn’t like the stuff.

Diced Toro handroll. This shiso leaf and shaved yuzu inside, which added texture, tang, and the exotic and wonderful flavor of the leaf.

Unagi (Fresh water eel). BBQ, with the sweet eel sauce. This was some damn fine eel, as good a piece as I’ve had.

The omakase included dessert, this concoction of fruit, green tea ice cream, green tea panna cotta, sweet bean sauce, and whipped cream. Oh yes, and with a “mens pocky” as garnish and corn flakes underneath. Pretty good, and all Japanese.

If  you like sushi —  and how doesn’t? — then you owe it to yourself to try Sushi Sushi. This is some seriously good fish.

CLICK HERE for a review of the Sushi Sushi medium omakase.

CLICK HERE for a review of Sushi Sushi ala carte.

Or here for the LA sushi page.

Fast Food Sushi?

Restaurant: Sushi-Don

Location: 970 Monument St #118, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. (310) 454-6710

Date: March 9, 2011

Cuisine: Japanese / Sushi

Rating: Not bad for a $20 lunch.

 

There seems to be a strange trend going on right now where top sushi bars are opening fast food or light branches. Sushi-Don is in my hood, and it’s owned by, or in some way executive chefed by, Sasabune (see my first and second reviews of that here). Sushi-Don is a kind of fast food version of it’s big brother Sasabune, where you have a simplified menu and reduced prices.

The menu is on the wall.

I went for “Combo B” the soup, cut roll, and 5 pieces of standard sushi.

The miso soup is exactly as you’d expect.

You can chose any cut roll, I went for blue crab. Left to right we have Maguro (tuna), albacore x2 with two sauces, salmon, and Hamachi (yellowtail).

The sushi itself is fine. It’s not fantastic, being perhaps 80% as good as that at Sasabune. This is no Sushi-Sushi (REVIEW) either, but then again, the above was $12. It’s certainly not icky mall sushi, and the chef made it in front of me.

I also ordered a scallop hand roll, which was tasty enough. Could have used a touch of yuzu 🙂

Sushi-Don is what it is. You can have a little light sushi meal here for $15, or you could probably get stuffed for $30-35. The equivalent food at Sasabune or Sushi-Sushi or similar would be at least twice as much. Sure the quality is better there. But at Sushi-Don you can also be in and out in 15-20 minutes. So I think it fills a niche, when one is in a hurry, often alone, and just want a tasty quick bite to eat.

Sushi Nozawa has tried a similar concept with SugarFISH, but that for me is even less satisfying, as it isn’t actually much (if any) cheaper than a real sushi bar, and they’ve eliminated the chef. My colleague kevineats.com reviews that HERE.