Showing posts with label sashimi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sashimi. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Omakase at Q Sushi (Downtown Los Angeles)

One of the latest high end sushi restaurants to open in Los Angeles is Q Sushi in downtown. It's a quiet dining experience: he interior is stark, but certainly well thought out and elegant. The man behind the operation is Chef Hiroyuki Naruke who ran a small sushi bar in Tokyo but moved to Los Angeles after the tsunami in 2011.

When you arrive, the only menu you'll be given is the drink menu of wines and sake. Your dinner will be the chef's choice omakase.
Q has been called the most traditional, "real edomae" sushi in LA, which focuses on the flavors of the fish rather than the rice or condiments (says the J Gold). I suppose it's true that LA has had a fascination with sushi rice since the days of the Sushi Nazi.

Waiting for my perpetually late LA friend, my sushi chef (not Naruke) entertains me by showing me their wasabi from Shizuoka. Just like the restaurant, chef Naruke is a quiet man and he oversees everything even when he's not making the sushi.
Finally my friend arrives and our meal starts with a light, bright sashimi of Fluke
 Followed by a fattier Baja California Swordfish with caramelized onion dressing and soy sauce
The touch of the dressing and sauces here are delicate, not a drizzle more that might overpower the fish.

Next: Japanese red snapper in homemade black sesame paste, garnished with gold flake
The first time I've had sashimi with black sesame, and I certainly enjoyed the unusual combination.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Omakase at O Ya (Boston, MA)

When I asked for sushi recommendation, the name that kept popping up was O Ya - with the warning that it's expensive. Indeed, although you can order a la carte at O Ya, the full omakase runs about $250 and the smaller tasting menu $180. But I have to try it, right? I sat at the counter where I can see the chefs at work. My friend was late so I was getting hungry watching all the foie gras sushi being fired out ...

Finally my friend came and we opted for the smaller omakase menu. As expected, it started with a fresh Kumamoto Oyster (watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette)
Then, we proceeded with the nigiri courses. What makes O Ya different is the sauces he puts on the nigiri sushi. They're not just soy sauce or yuzu, but you can find things like Hamachi with spicy banana pepper mousse
I loved the texture of the seared hamachi and the banana pepper mousse worked well, although it slightly overwhelmed the hamachi flavor. Maybe slightly less mousse on top?

Things like banana pepper mousse doesn't mean that O Ya veers completely from the traditional, though. Our next course is a Salmon with unfiltered wheat soy moromi
Moromi is a term you may hear in sake brewing, and I believe it basically means the unrefined or unfiltered mash of grain that is undergoing fermentation. I enjoyed the earthy flavor with the fatty salmon.

The next bite is an indulgence: Santa Barbara sea urchin and Russian Osetra caviar
An unbeatable combination, of course.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dami Sushi and Izakaya (Buena Park, CA) and $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

by guest blogger @bstunoda
PS. Be sure to scroll to the end for a giveaway!

At an Izakaya restaurant, drinking is primary and eating is secondary. People go to izakaya restaurants to socialize much in the same manner that the Spanish drink wine and eat tapas. Like the current trend in dining, small plates dominate the menu and the plates are meant to be shared.
Dami Sushi and Izakaya is located in the brand new Village Circle on Beach Blvd in Buena Park. After entering the restaurant, I found it to be beautifully decorated in modern Asian design. A high open ceiling, beautiful lattice wall coverings and effective lighting gave diners a comfortable experience.
DSCF1852 DSCF1863
Whole grain salad
The dish wasn’t calling my name, but I tried it anyway. It consisted of endive, black rice, Indian millet, lentil, kidney beans, fresh mozzarella in a soy vinaigrette. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the ingredients worked together. I think the soy vinaigrette brought all of the disparate flavors and textures together quite nicely. I’d choose this salad over most green salads as the kidney beans and lentils gave it quite a bit of substance.

Jawanmushi was next up and it turned out to be a version of chawanmushi (steamed Japanese egg custard).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

An Intimate Sushi Omakase Experience at Nozawa Bar (Beverly Hills)

When they built Sugarfish in Beverly Hills, they had planned for Nozawa Bar all along and kept a room in the back for that sole purpose. Now, Nozawa Bar is open and taking reservations for ten people, two seatings per night for a sushi omakase experience. It's not Nozawa wielding the knife, but Osamu Fujita has long worked with Nozawa and has his stamp of approval. After my omakase meal there, I would say perhaps the setting and timing actually allows for a more refined experience than the busy Sushi Nozawa was in Studio City.

I knew my sushi, or thought I did, but for more than a couple of courses at Nozawa Bar I had a few moments where I went "no way, that wasn't ...". There were moments of learning that season really matters, and preparation matters. More on that later, on to the meal first. 

As I said, there are two seatings per night for everyone (at 6PM and 8:30PM), so don't be late! I was five minutes late and missed Fujita-san slicing up the jelly fish for the first course. I didn't miss eating the course, though, luckily (everyone is served the courses at the same time).
The crisp jellyfish was a nice opener to whet your appetite.
Sashimi plate of tuna and octopus before moving on to nigiri sushi
The nigiri courses start out with a bang with the chu toro. This a blue fin tuna chu toro, although the fattiness is close to oo toro.
Just like Nozawa's style, the rice is served slightly warm so that the sushi feels like it's melting in your mouth.

Ika (squid)
Fresh and firm squid on top of a shiso leaf.

Switching to the opposite spectrum of texture is a perfectly creamy Santa Barbara uni
A generous serving of it, too!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hironoya (Gardena, CA)

I got an email from Utopia, a South Bay-based Japanese-focused gift certificate store offering discounted certificates for South Bay and Japanese local businesses like Gaja (the okonomiyaki place), Robataya on Sawtelle, and Izakaya Bincho. They asked if I wanted to try using one of their certificates to visit a restaurant, and I do love Japanese food so why not! I was tempted to go back to Bincho but I figured I should use it to visit a restaurant I've never been to before so I opted for Hironoya in Gardena.

Hironoya sits in Tozai Plaza and seems to be visited by mostly Japanese. When I was there there was a reunion for some university in Japan and they proceeded to sing their alma mater song. Hironoya serves sashimi, sushi rolls, tempura, udon and various other dishes, but no nigiri sushi.

They did have some fresh fish, though so I tried their blue fin tuna toro sashimi ($18 for 4 pieces). Not as fatty as some other toro I've had but definitely fresh.

Also tried sea bream sashimi ($9) and a salmon roll, which were both pretty good. I haven't had sushi rolls in a while but enjoyed this one.
You can get almost everything tempura'd here it seems, from broccoli and eggplant ($1.95, 2pcs each) to sea urchin ($12.95) and oyster ($4.95, 2pcs)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tasting Menu at Shunji (West LA)

Shunji is one of the hot recent restaurant openings, with Chef Shunji Nakao's serving his "contemporary" omakase in an inconspicuous stand-alone building on Pico Blvd. There are only a handful of tables and a few seats at the sushi bar, and the chef prepared most of the dishes personally (some get fired in the kitchen).

His printed menu looks like the standard Japanese restaurant, but we had read about his omakase (the omakase was not printed on the menu) and just asked for that.

As an amuse bouche, a small bowl of jelly with cucumber and vinegar sauce


Next is a plate of small bites of vegetables, ankimo topped with caviar, a ball of purple potato with blue cheese and persimmon, and sweet potato with feta and truffle
Unsure if we were supposed to eat these in a particular order, we moved in one direction and it moves from rich (ankimo) to the palate cleansing, crisp, unadorned vegetables to the creamy potatoes

The scallop sashimi, topped with arugula flower, was so fresh

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kiyokawa's New Sashimi-centric Omakase

Kiyokawa had been on my to-try list for some time since Jonathan Gold loved it so much, but I had sort of forgotten about this little place in Beverly Hills and stored it in the back of my mind. I recently dug it out and made it a point to finally go.

There are two omakase options at Kiyokawa, a full omakase (kaiseki) for $78 or a sushi-only omakase for $48. As I sat down and read the omakase menu there were things like miso black cod and other cooked items, but then they told me to ignore the menu. They had just started a new omakase menu and it was completely different than what was written. They recently changed the omakase menu to be more sashimi-focused rather than cooked dishes. Sounds even better to me.

Sushi Chef Satoshi Kiyokawa
Our first course came in an orange sitting on ice. Inside the orange was some halibut sashimi with cucumber sunomono and tomato

Albacore salad topped w crispy green onion
This was a rather big plate for a second course with plenty of albacore. As the ponzu sauce that normally comes with albacore tends to be too astringent for me at times, I preferred this.

Live sweet shrimp and Hama Hama oyster topped with uni
Did I mention the amaebi was a live? The legs attached to the head were still moving on the ice! (Sorry PETA)
Still, the oyster with the creamy uni stole the show for me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nishimura: The Beverly Hills Sushi Fortress

There was someone who kept claiming that Nishimura was better than all the sushi places I've brought him to. I took him to Sushi Zo, he says Nishimura is better. I took him to Sushi Mori, he says Nishimura is better value. So finally I just retorted back with "So why haven't you taken me there?" So off we went!!

Nishimura is located across the street from the Pacific Design Center. There's no sign, just a tall, solid, wooden gate, in front of which you may occasionally find a towncar or two. Street parking are aplenty next to it.

Unfortunately it was rather dark and I didn't want to use flash so only a few of the photos really turned out well. I'll just give you guys a sampling.

At first I was a bit disappointed because Nishimura himself was not the one serving me sushi. But my young sushi chef was very friendly and as it turned out, very good. We got to talking and apparently before going to Nishimura he used to work at Jinpachi.

Among our dishes were a sampling of oysters - 3 kinds per person.
All very fresh and delicious.

Then came a slew of sashimi. Unlike Zo which was mostly sushi or Mori which offers a significant number of cooked dishes for the omakase, our omakase here was significantly composed of sashimi dishes. I'm not complaining, mind you.

Among them were octopus with yuzu.
Fresh and chewy. "Crunchy" even. The quality of the ingredients at Nishimura is evident.

There were tons of hamachi and albacore with ponzu sashimi, etc, all of which were very good. It's a lot of fun watching this young chef coming up with dish after dish, all of which he tried to put special touches on.

The highlight of my meal was probably this one: seared toro with white truffle salt and yuzu.
Orgasm on a plate. I mean, it's practically everything that I love, with the absence of foie gras! The toro used here was fatty and delicious, but the one used for our simple toro sushi we had later that night was even better - it tasted fresher and fattier than the seared one.

I didn't spend the whole night eating fatty fish, though. The waitstaff also brought out piping hot ginko nuts with sea salt.

The highlight towards the end of the meal for me were these fresh king crab legs.
Fresh, juicy, meaty. I had to chow down with my fingers to make sure I got every little piece of meat out of those shells.

The meal for 2 post-tips was $160 - which was comparable to my meal at Sushi Mori, but with more of the things I like (sashimi!). I had to agree that Nishimura was very good indeed, and yes, probably is a better value than Mori. At least, I felt like I got more for my money here.

8684 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 659-4770

Nishimura on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sushi Komasa: Cheap and Good Spot in Lil Tokyo

Recently made my first visit to Komasa in Little Tokyo. I've been missing out! This place has good quality fish and is cheap! Now a quick sushi meal doesn't have to cost me at least $50! The only drawback: Parking ...

The place is small and has a traditional japanese look. When we were there the place was packed with Japanese blue collar workers- good sign. Since there were 6 of us we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but we walked around and they called us when they were ready.

The salmon sashimi plate was $13 for 8 generous slices.The quality was not at all bad, they're very much comparable to the typical good sushi joints, but it's much nicer to the wallet.

The yellowtail that we also got was even better though, also at $13
These slices of hamachi were quite fresh and quite fatty! They made me happy :)

Sushi prices ranged around $4.80 per order. I had ordered halibut and anago.
The halibut was okay - decent. The anago was quite good though!

The best deal of all at this place might be the chirashi though. For $13 you get this big box of fishy-goodness!
I see salmon, hamachi, tuna, squid, ebi, and uni! Here's that quick, inexpensive, sushi meal, all in a box!
Sushi Komasa, I'll be back!

Sushi Komasa

351 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-1792
Sushi Komasa on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Serving Up Kamado and More

I haven't been back to Torafuku in a while, but when I did a few days ago I wondered why. Torafuku serves some good solid food! I guess their dishes are not something you normally crave for ... and I've been into trying new things. But we wanted tofu one night and I wasn't up for spicy soon tofu, so we went back to Torafuku. I'm glad we did!

We started with the seaweed salad. This was a good starter, with some nice texture from the seaweed.

Torafuku serves their own homemade tofu and we've always loved it. It has an amazingly smooth texture.
This time we also got one of my favorite standards: grilled eggplant with miso.
They had the kin me dai (japanese big eye fish) sashimi. I was surprised to see this on the menu, I never thought of Torafuku as a place that would have 'rare' fishes. I've never had this before so I had to get it. They served each slice with a thin slice of lemon.
I thought this was really good and the fish was fresh. I also liked the lemon touch, although I also liked it without it. The fish was slightly chewier than say, salmon or hamachi, but otherwise had similar texture. More like halibut, perhaps?

Torafuku also prides themselves on serving free range chicken and eggs. We got the free range eggs tamagoyaki, which was excellent! It had more color and flavor than normal tamago.
We also got the grilled free range chicken thigh.
It was a very, very juicy chicken! Without all the excess fat too. And served with yuzu, which was a very nice touch.

I got the salmon touban yaki, which is their kamado rice with salmon and an egg - served on a sizzling hot plate. The server will bring it and mix it for you on your table.
Then they top it with seaweed and salmon roe.

For dessert, get the mango kuzu! It is mango mousse served with cream.

It is my favorite dessert there, but then again I am /very/ partial to mangoes.

We also got the custard pudding (flan). I am also partial to flan ;) This was a good one, though I've had better.
I had forgotten how good the food at Torafuku is. I will definitely be back for more pretty soon.

10914 W Pico Blvd

Los Angeles, CA

(310) 470-0014

Torafuku on Urbanspoon

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