Archive for 'Sushi'

Kazu Nori: Sugarfish’s New Handroll Spot Knows Just How to Get Ya


When Sugarfish announced that they would be debuting a new concept at Coachella this year, affordable sushi fans across Southern California rejoiced.  Not the carb hating ones, of course, because the new concept is still just as much about rice as it is about fish.  But us rice loving sushi bargain hunters could barely contain our excitement.  The originators of L.A.’s best omakase deal were giving their signature item, the blue crab hand roll, its very own restaurant.

And it didn’t disappoint.  Kazu Nori debuted in the desert this past April to mostly rave reviews.  3 rolls for $15 seemed like an amazing deal at a music festival where a slice of pizza costs $7.  And now that their Downtown brick and mortar is finally open, you might be surprised to find out the deal has gotten even better.  Like, you-can-almost-actually-get-a-Midtown-Lunch-at-this-place, better.

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Kula Sushi Now Revolving on Sawtelle (And It’s a Cheap Sushi Fan’s Dream Come True)

Is it weird that I love conveyor belt sushi, without ever having been to a conveyor belt sushi place that I truly love?  That’s definitely strange, right?  I guess I just love the idea of conveyor belt sushi. After all, what could be more fun than having your menu float past you on miniature boats, combining the ordering and receiving of your food into one simple motion. Sushi dim sum!  In practice, though, kaiten sushi is never as fun as you think it’s going to be.  If the place isn’t full, you watch the same things go around and around and around, wondering why you even bothered with this nonsense.  Sure, you can order anything they serve off the menu but that would defeat the purpose.  When something you do want comes along you find yourself quickly trying to match the color of the plate with the price. Is this worth it?  Am I paying more for something that may have been floating around in circles for god knows how long? How many plates have I ordered already?  Will something better come if I just wait? Am I spending a fortune?  What the hell is going on?!

It’s downright stressful.  Unless, of course, you just give in to the fun of it. In which case you always end up with a bill that seems far too expensive for what’s supposed to be a casual sushi lunch. And that, folks, is how they get you.  But even knowing all that, I can’t resist the pull of the conveyor belt.  So when Kula Sushi finally opened on Sawtelle last week, in West L.A., I had to check it out.

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Murakami: Hollywood’s Surprising Sushi Gem


Inspired by Nate Silver, I wondered this week if the same principles could be used to decide whether or not a restaurant is good before going.  Some combination, perhaps, of Yelp reviews and Foursquare check ins, with bonus points for pretty Instagram photos and deductions for Groupon offerings and the number of free meals the restaurant gave out to bloggers when they first opened (because, quite frankly, if you have to give out free food to a bunch of shameless white fatsos and cute Asian girls to drum up business, how good could your restaurant possibly be?)

My buddy Brandon thought he had cracked the code a few weeks back, proclaiming that if a restaurant got 4 1/2 stars or higher on Yelp, and had over 100 reviews it was guaranteed to be good.  The model is not exactly foolproof yet (we probably need to add a few more exceptions to the algorithm) but one place the method works unaided is Murakami.  4 1/2 stars on Yelp. 280+ reviews.  And it’s hands down my new favorite cheap lunch sushi place in Hollywood.

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U-Sushi Promises Robots, Delivers Surprisingly Fun Lunch


I was promised there would be robots.  Sushi making robots.  It’s pretty much the only thing that would draw me to Beverly Hills for sushi, arguably the worst place in the city if you’re on the hunt for a raw fish bargain. But money is not an issue when robots are involved, and clearly my cheesy robot movies of the 80s filled brain needed to see this maki making machine in action.  I mean, are we talking a set of John Lithgow powered robotic arms handling raw fish in a sealed glass case like it was plutonium, Manhattan Project Style.  Or was this going to be some kind of love-able Johnny Number 5 type machine, making corny jokes as he rolls my spicy tuna roll. (I do seem to remember him mentioning sushi in one of my favorite lines of the movie.  Salmon to be precise.)

Sadly the “robot” looked more like a woodchipper than the Terminator, a headless, armless, legless Wall-E of sorts, minus the personality of course. In fact, the robot portion of the show consists of a metal box that spreads rice onto a pice of seaweed before your roll gets assembled by an organic, sentient being.  There’s a second, smaller box at the end of the assembly line that cuts your roll if you want it cut.  But calling that a robot would be like calling a hard boiled egg slicer a computer.  I quickly came to the realization that the talk of robots was just PR overindulgence meant to sucker people like me into visiting U-Sushi in Beverly Hills, and it worked.  Surprisingly, though, even without any A.I. I still managed to piece together a pretty fun and delicious lunch.

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Hwal Uh Kwang Jang Serves Up a Scary Cheap Korean Sushi Lunch Special


Midtown Lunch has a long, storied history with ridiculously cheap sushi (sushi from a 99 cent store?  It happened.) One could easily argue that cheap sushi is the scariest thing I’ll eat in the name of this site.  After all, nowhere is the “you get what you pay for” adage more obviously on display than with raw, practically untouched, seafood.  So with a $10 ceiling on lunches, good sushi is usually a complete oxymoron.  But “good enough” sushi is something this cheap bastard is constantly on the hunt for.

In New York finding a Japanese restaurant that would give you three sushi rolls for $10 was the holy grail.  But here in Los Angeles, cheap sushi devotees will find that hwe dup bap might be the way to go… essentially, a Korean salad topped with cubes of raw fish. There’s an ok $9 version at Ssing Ssing in Koreatown, and Wow Bento & Roll Downtown has an even better version for $8 (masquerading as a “sashimi salad”.)  That’s gotta be as cheap as it gets right?  Any cheaper than that, and we’re likely swimming in completely unchartered waters.  And then last week, while driving up Western in Koreatown, I spotted a sign that would possibly change my life. A lunch special hwe dup bap for… wait for it… wait for it… $6.

How could I not?

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Sushi Central’s $10 Lunch Special Gives You a Taste of Their Throwdown Winning Spicy Tuna


If you live or work in the Culver City/Palms area (or spend as much time at Scoops Westside as I do) finding lunch around Overland and Venice has become a constant mission. After all, one cannot live off ice cream and Intelligentsia coffee alone (although a few people I know are certainly trying).  If you’re in the mood for Indian, there are a ton of options.  Mexican?  It’s Angelica’s Cemita truck FTW. Indonesian?  Simpang Asia is right around the corner. And I’ll be very excited when the Westside Food Truck Central lot opens back up.

But what about Japanese food?  Yamadaya just opened on Sepulveda and Washington, but what about sushi?  Finding decent sushi for under $10 is practically impossible, but when paired up with some cheaper items in lunchtime bento box form it becomes a bit easier. And when I heard that Sushi Central (on Overland & Palms) does exactly that, for only $9.95 I got pretty excited.

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Pokey Truck Betting That L.A. Wants More Sushi Burritos


It’s no secret that the Jogasaki Truck is one of my favorite new trucks to hit Los Angeles in the past year. Their sushi burritos are not only the perfectly portable food truck treat, but they’re also a good value and delicious. If they parked outside my office, I’d probably eat one every day.  Most of the press they received (and it was a lot for awhile there) was of the “can you believe this truck is making sushi burritos!?” variety, but apparently there were others who saw Jogasaki for what it is… a genius idea, worthy of copying.

A few months ago The Pokey Truck hit the streets of Los Angeles, and if you thought their signature item was going to be Hawaiian poke (like you get at this great place on the Venice Beach boardwalk) guess again.  It’s another sushi burrito truck.

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