If you’re dating someone who loves sushi, take that person to Katsu-Ya. One of the difficult things about making your sushi restaurant stand out is that it’s a sushi restaurant. There are only so many variations and types of fish you can serve so the faire is mostly the same across the board. What Katsu-Ya does is combine things in a way that is sort of indescribable. That’s not to say that the other restaurants on this list are any different, really, but there’s just something about Katsu-Ya. One of the menu favorites is the blue crab hand roll, so order that. The sashimi over crispy rice is very tasty as well, and the softness of the fish paired with the lightly crisped rice is perfection. Bring cash and valet park, because there isn’t much in the way of street parking, plus chicks dig it.
Like a lot of these places, Urasawa is named after the owner and head chef. Chef Hiroyuki Urasawa spends every day serving up whatever he damn well pleases, much like Chef Nozawa. Urasawa does things spectacularly, from the first course sesame tofu topped with caviar and 24 carat gold flakes, to the mesmerizing sashimi served fresh to you on an ice block just to keep it right. There was an episode of “The Simpsons” once where Homer thought he was going to die because he ate the wrong part of a blowfish. You see, there’s only one tiny bit of a blowfish that’s actually safe to eat and the rest is very poisonous. It takes years upon years of training to properly serve blowfish. Why am I bringing this up? Chef Urasawa is one of the only chefs in the country who has the skill and balls to serve it. Have some.
If you aren’t made of cash and can’t afford a place like Sushi Zo, wander on down to Aboot Kinney and grab a table at WabiSabi. WabiSabi is pretty trendy (it’s in Venice, after all) but still manages to keep it real. Yes, you can get your beloved California roll here as well as a lot of other delightful sushi treats. One of the coolest things about this place is the fact that all of the tables are right next to each other in a fairly enclosed space, but when you’re talking to your date (or whoever you’re with) you don’t even notice the fact that two people are practically in your lap. While it’s not THAT close, it’s still pretty magical how it all works out. You can even get more traditional (i.e. cooked) Asian cuisine here.
2 Sushi Zo
Sushi Zo is a lot like Nozawa’s in the fact that you get what you get. No table sitting wasabi, no California rolls, none of the stuff that, as mentioned before, you can go get at Ralph’s. As fed up as you might be with hearing that, you’ll be much better fed by heading on down to Sushi Zo. Everything on the menu is omakase, or “chef’s choice”. The oysters are amazing, as is the monk fish liver. More traditional fishes finish out the simple yet effective menu. Take some money, though, because this place has a Michelin Star.
1 Nozawa - UPDATE: Relocated to Sugarfish Sushi
Chef Nozawa would probably turn you into sushi given the opportunity. Partly because he is a master sushi chef who knows how to use knives sharper than you’ve ever touched, but also because he’s very, very strict about what you can and cannot eat in his place. One of the most popular urban legends about Nozawa is that he once kicked a patron out forever because they ordered a California roll. I can’t say that I blame him. Never, and I mean never, go into a sushi restaurant and ask for a California roll. Go get it a Ralph’s because you won’t know the difference anyway. Nozawa is awesome because the sushi selection is limited to what Chef Nozawa finds and purchases that morning. His fish is the freshest of fresh, and his palate is tremendous. You can’t go wrong here.
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