21 places in LA to find the best… sure, fair list that makes decent sense. We can squabble on a few, but it’s a list after all.
Addison’s focus on the article on “Edomae” is a bit off, in my opinion. What makes LA sushi scene great? It’s not that the high-end (while very good) is trying to follow closely behind Tokyo, though the focus is pointed toward there. Rather, I believe it’s LA’s:
- Early adoption and popularization of sushi in America
- Contribution of prolific dishes on a world-wide scale. How often is Nobu Matsuhisa’s style copied around the world, for better or worse, in so many restaurants (not just sushi, but also aspirational steakhouses, gastropubs / New American, fine dining - see Jordnaer 2* Michelin in Copenhagen, etc.)? It’s part of the general non-Japan style of sushi. Like how Kyubey in Tokyo invented gunkanmaki, and now that’s just part of the sushi canon, for a different crowd, Nobu’s hamachi/ponzu/jalapeno style of dish is now almost just part of a “sushi menu” in many parts of the world for different kinds of restaurants. Not saying it’s a great dish, but it can be enjoyable and has its place, a product of its time but no doubting its contribution to the food world, because as you point out we’re not just talking about high-end (it has no place in high-end sushi, imo). The Zo/Nozawa style. The California roll. etc.
- Diversity - something for everyone. And relatedly, a sushi culture that embraces all aspects of sushi with quite a bit of interest. You can get sushi in the south bay, the valley (Ventura Boulevard must be in the America’s sushi history), west la, downtown, mid city to weho, etc.
It’s not that LA has the best high-end in the country, it doesn’t. It has maybe #2 or #3, which is still very good. I like Kaneyoshi, Ginza Onodera, Mori Sushi, etc. If one doesn’t go to Japan or NYC, one can have very good and enjoyable high-end here in LA. But going to Tokyo doesn’t teach one about what makes LA’s sushi scene great. If anything, it can show what the inspiration is for some of LA’s best at the high-end, which again, is good. But that’s not what makes LA sushi’s scene so prolific and great. It will continue to get better. So will NYC, which has different strengths. Higher-highs and
Yes, of course, if not better / more.
While NYC itself does not have the same quality of produce as California does, NYC sushi restaurants indeed can serve some produce as good as, if not better, than what is served in California at the high-end (because they’re generally not serving local produce - think Miyazaki mangos and Shizuoka musk melons, wasabi from Shizuoka (though what is currently being served in Japan is still in a different league), great seaweeds from Japan, etc.).
I get and like Addison’s enthusiasm for sushi. I just think the articles are a bit off and they read like too predictable food journalism.
I am curious though, where can one get a great kanpyo maki? I’ve yet to have a good one in LA.
“Do you want maki filled simply with kanpyo (dried gourd) in the strictest Edomae fashion?”
I do like his push for better sake to be served. Yes, people are tired of Dassai and Kubota, but now you have some food influencers getting their mind blown by fairly normal Kokuryus (though of course Kokuryu has some great ones). On another note, I’ve also noticed a recent trend where Aramasa has become like Selosse, collectible by people who know next to nothing about what make them stand out or even basic types of sake / champagne. Let’s see an emphasis on good pairings, not just in-the-know brands, as sake culture outside of Japan has now come to automatically think that the higher polishing = more expensive = more desirable for sushi meals. Give us talk about the methods, the rice, and the synergy with the food. Help expand knowledge of techniques, not just desirable brewer brands.
I’m all for omakase, but I would like to see more places serve good okonomi. Perhaps, as someone else mentioned, institute a minimum order, but let the diner decide how he or she is feeling that day - we need more options for good sushi besides reserving 1 month in advance (on Tock nonetheless)…