Nori: An Unexpected Gem

D-League in LA maybe, but that’s A League in some states.

Always glad to hear from people with more knowledge and experience. I will say that the skin was left on the snapper in more or less the same way it was at Mori, though the knifework, rice etc. etc. was nowhere at that level. The salmon belly seemed to be approached in the same way. And knifework aside, the quality of the fish itself in the case of both pieces was very good. “Fine” was probably the wrong word to use there though for the knifework (I meant “fine” in the sense of acceptable, though my standards are obviously lower). And yes, neither of those pieces were prepared by the head chef.

But for the price…I do wish we’d hear more on this forum about B and C-league places though and the places that serve lunch combos of 8-10 pieces of better sushi for only a bit more money. As I’ve said on another thread, the talk here is usually only of the A list.


Here’s the wild red snapper at Mori: Mori Sushi (Los Angeles, Winter 2015-16) | My Annoying Opinions

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Here is the red snapper from Kimagure. IMHO, I think Ike san has even better knife skills than Maru-san.

Need the sushi experts to weigh in here but my understanding is that (total) removal of skin/silvery bits can vary a lot. Kinmedai, for example, seems commonly to be served with a strip of skin (that’s often seared), but at Sushi Tsujita we were given kinmedai that was completely stripped. Similarly, we’ve almost always received tai that had no/negligible silvery bits but both at Nori, and more tellingly, at Mori it was not served that way. I’m not sure, however, if @mhlee’s objection is something else.



In the interests of learning more I would really appreciate if the sushi gurus could explain why Nori’s treatment of the skin (leaving aside the matter of the cut and rice) is D-league compared to Mori’s. Please don’t misunderstand this as a passive-aggressive request: I really would appreciate learning these nuances.

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First piece. Cut on the bias which is one of the standard cuts to get a long enough piece from a small fillet for Nigiri Sushi. Outside flesh/skin portion is along the entire cut length. Edge is clean. Nice shine to cut face of fish. Can see the entire cross-section and grain of the flesh.

Second piece, skin portion is only on one end. But, there are traces of skin on the meat, but the thickness differs from the tip where the silver portion where the skin was removed. Therefore, he likely gouged the meat when skinning. The cut doesn’t show the grain of the fish, isn’t a clean cut - it’s ragged, there’s no shine. If I had to guess, he made a nearly crosswise/vertical cut of some leftover piece and tried to make it fit.

But, just because you now know these things doesn’t make you or anyone else knowledgeable about Sushi because, if you didn’t know and couldn’t tell the difference by the photos, how would you notice in real life? And, why are you (or anyone else for that matter), writing a review that provides opinions of things that you have little knowledge about?

And, most certainly, this isn’t to say that I’m an expert on Sushi. I’m not, nor do I claim to be. But, I’m not writing reviews, and, my knowledge, unlike a lot of people (most?) who write like they’re authorities on Sushi using generic terms like “Neta”, “Shari”, etc., comes from (1) selling Sashimi grade fish for a couple of years, (2) cutting fish professionally, (3) learning about and using Japanese knives, and (4) casually studying about Sushi for about 15 years. I also casually study about seafood, Sushi and Japanese cuisine when I go to Japan.

If you want to learn about Sushi, read books. There are a lot more books now about cutting techniques, handling and preparation of fish and rice, etc.


Thanks for that. Well, now I know more than I did before and will know what to look for in real life. As for your larger question, I’m writing reviews of meals I’ve eaten, not presenting myself as an authority on sushi (or anything else). I certainly don’t use jargon intended to give a different view of my knowledge. And if people didn’t write about things we don’t know much about what would we do on food forums or, for that matter, the internet?


damn that’s pretty. UNNNHF.

Read, not write. Ask questions, and not provide uneducated, uninformed, or wrong opinions. At least you’re willing to learn and you’re humble.

Since you posed a few more questions, I’ll answer them the best I can based on what I’ve learned.
FWIW, the silver part isn’t necessarily the skin. There is a thin layer - I don’t really want to call it a membrane - between the actual flesh and skin. Some times, the silver is the skin, but even when the skin is correctly removed, you may have some silver membrane on the meat/flesh. But, properly skinned fish has a shine, and clean, smooth finish, and the piece from Nori does not if that’s where the skin was, and if it was cut, the cut was poor because the surface isn’t smooth. Either way, it’s D-League.

From what I’ve read, seen and experienced, whether the skin is attached on a piece of fish depends on the species, size tenderness and thickness of the fish and skin. You don’t want to chew on a chewy or large or thick piece of skin relative to the size of fish (this also depends on what part of the fish the cut is being made). The skin of some fish is essentially inedible even if quickly blanched, cooked or seared, e.g. fluke or California Halibut, and others like Starry Flounder, Northern Halibut, Monkfish that aren’t used for Sushi. But, especially for fish with tender skin, the Chef may want to try and not take off the skin (whatever manner you’re preparing the fish) because the skin has texture and flavor and there is usually some fat between the skin and flesh of a fish. If you skin a fish, you’ll remove some, if not all, of that membrane and fat. But whether the skin is attached is, ultimately, the chef’s decision. The skin may have not been included simply because it was imperfect and the chef didn’t want to serve it.

You seem to be trying to apply a singular expectation to Sushi, but you really can’t, because even fish of the same species can vary significantly in size, texture, and fat content, etc. There are singular ways of serving some fish, but not necessarily others. That’s like expecting all steaks to be prepared and served the same way. How a Sushi chef deals with these factors separates people who are making rote Sushi, while others are making great Sushi.

If you have questions, ask the Sushi chef. I’m just making an educated guess.

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Maybe b/c this isn’t a site that’s exclusively for trained chefs? I enjoy the knowledge you’ve imparted on various threads here, but, to be perfectly honest, I find the way you’ve stated your opinion to be rude; I’m entitled to this OPINION, not b/c I’m highly trained or skilled w/ food, but b/c I’m a human being w/ feelings, just like any other person who chooses to share here.

MyAnnoyingOpinion has never made him/herself out to be an expert, and I’m very appreciative of when people choose to share their opinions with us. It’s up to me and to any other user of this site to determine if the opinion is “valid” or not.

It’s one thing for you to point out things you perceive to be factual errors. It’s quite another thing to call into question someone’s “right” to post an opinion here, unless you’re somehow footing the bill for all of this (which you’re not).


First, they’re not perceived errors. They are technical errors.

Second, you’re misinterpreting what I wrote. I wasn’t questioning his right to post; I questioned why he would post.

Third, if the feelings of other humans are of paramount importance, don’t forget to defend all of the cooks, chefs, waiters, managers, owners that members here are so critical of. They’re humans and they have feelings.

Hey man, I’m glad to be corrected and told the things I don’t know. And I suspect @mhlee is airing here a larger frustration, not just at my post, with a lack of knowledge of sushi by people who write about it. I often feel very similarly reading things that professionals and amateurs say about Indian cuisines so I can’t be too defensive about it. But where I will defend myself is against the suggestion that I am claiming greater knowledge than I obviously have about sushi (or other cuisines I know little about). I am very careful in all my reviews to disavow expertise I do not have and have many times referred to myself as little more than an advanced novice when it comes to sushi.

Why then do I write about sushi meals (or Thai or Chinese or whatever)? Because I think that as long as you’re not projecting/claiming expertise that you don’t have it is still valid to describe your own particular experience from your own limited perspective. And my review of Nori is just that. In the context of price I was wiling to overlook some of the technical shortcomings that even I was able to discern (the rice, seaweed, oversaucing etc.) and I did not make any positive claims about the aspect that @mhlee has taken me to school on–the knife work–except to say that it was “fine” (which I’ve acknowledged was probably not the best word; what I meant was “acceptable (to me)”). He’s correctly pointed out that it was also not fine and to the (far more) educated eye as/more egregious than the other flaws. I am glad to have this explained to me: some aspects of sushi I have through limited experience come to discern some nuance in, many others I"m still learning about.

But I do want to resist the notion that I (or anyone else in the amateur rank and file) should not write about our meals till we’ve acquired in-depth knowledge about the underlying cuisines. The important thing, to repeat myself, is to not claim bogus authority and to be open to and welcome correction and clarification from those who know more.

And I’ll still stand by my recommendation of Nori: which is more or less that if you’re on a budget and in the neighbourhood you could do a lot worse. It seems to me that if they were in fact able to pass all those technical tests with flying colours on a consistent basis (and I expect that from the pictures even @mhlee would concede that most pieces were competently cut) they’d no longer be a budget, neighbourhood place. I do still want to know though which all the other places are that do all this much better in the C and B leagues for not much more money–because I’d like to eat there on future trips!


But the part in bold here is just wrong. I am doing nothing of the kind. In fact, a few posts up I noted exactly my awareness that different types of fish are prepared quite differently by different chefs.

I’m not going to go back and forth about this, so this will be my final response to this topic.

If you want to encourage other people to show humility and a desire to learn, then perhaps you should show that yourself. Masking your arrogance behind issues of “technique” is an incredibly disingenuous way of responding. Discourse regarding food (outside of its nutritional value) is inherently subjective and a social construct (and, to a large extent, an intrapsychic construct, since you can’t truly KNOW how someone else perceives a taste or a texture, unless you’ve also learned how to read minds).

I’m not sure of how you’ve missed the various posts here (and, previously, on CH) where posters DO defend the various cooks, chefs, waiters, manager, and owners of various LA eateries. Of course, your analogy is invalid because those people are being PAID for a SPECIFIC service. We, as a consumer, have every right to expect them to perform at some threshold level. I didn’t pay the OP or MostAnnoyingOpinions to review Nori. I don’t pay my partner (who is not a professional chef) to cook dinner for us; accordingly, my expectations for him are different than when I go to a restaurant to pay $100 per person for a meal.

Inherent in your questioning of MyAnnoyingOpinions review is that those who are less “learned” shouldn’t post. And if the only people who should feel comfortable posting are those who have a professional background in the food world, then this would, IMHO, be a very boring (if very educational) board.

I have no issue w/ people calling BS on posters posing as experts who clearly aren’t. I welcome the professionals here teaching us about what we’re eating. But there is no reason why “amateurs” should be made to feel uncomfortable posting their opinions in this forum. And I’m not sure where you get off thinking you should be the arbiter of who has sufficient knowledge to post and who doesn’t.


Everything is subjective. K.

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gravity? death? the steak at the stinking rose?

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Nori has really stepped up it’s fish sourcing game… today my meal included Sagoshi (young king mackerel), kaiwari (whitefin trevally), renkodai (yellow snapper), kamatoro, kohada, and side by side Santa Barbara and Hokkaido uni. Base rate of $60 a head (something like 18-20 pieces). Over the last couple months I’ve also had black snapper, golden eye snapper, king mackerel, live amaebi, ice fish, flying fish, ankimo, katsuo, baby octopus, baby squid, and many others I’m not remembering.

The omakase is still an all fish affair, but I expect this to change in a few months.

It has already been established above this place has crap knife work and low qpr. How exactly have they stepped up? Got new knives sharpened? New ownership? Fired the Korean cook?

For $60 I can stuff my face at Mori.

I’ve never had a piece of fish here butchered as badly as that red snapper. You’re welcome to continue judging it off that instead of personal experience - but let’s not pretend it’s accurate.

I think it was established that some of the pieces at the meal I ate there were prepared pretty badly and that in general they are far from the level of a Mori. But for that reason I’d also agree that it’s not a place to go if you’re looking to spend in the neighbourhood of $60. On the other hand, you can easily get out between $30-40 (or even far less if you stick to the lunch specials) and at those prices the quality is more than acceptable, and you’d eat more for less than half the price of a Mori. It’s also not in any circumstance a place to go out of your way to eat at.