This is more of a commentary than an actual review.
Though my family loves Japanese food (wife happens to be Japanese American) we don't go out for sushi all that often. Sometimes, but we prefer what just plain ol' Japanese food, the closer to home cooking the better -- stuff like donburi or katsu-don -- not necessarily teriyaki and tempura (though I do like the tempura at Mitsuwa Market) -- but just regular ol' Japanese food like a relative would make.
None of us (wife, me, sons) had ever had an omakase meal. Honestly -- even the more reasonable places are out of our price range for the most part. But it was my wife's birthday this week and I've been feeling a little midlife crisis mania myself, we decided to splurge.
And we had a great time.
I wish we had written down all the different dishes. Off the top of my head, we had bluefin toro, salmon, red snapper, raw shrimp (after he showed it to us alive), deep fried shrimp heads (ditto), uni, fresh water eel, scallops -- there was another tuna and I think there was a total of ten courses. Maybe nine, we lost track.
Because this was our first time -- I couldn't compare the meal to anything. I will say we really liked every thing we had. My sons felt it was "the best meal they ever had." Take that for what it's worth -- they both go with us to a lot of places from fancy to hole in the wall and are good eaters.
But there is another point I wanted to make, one that was lost on me until I had the experience myself: There was an added enjoyment of the meal, just because we didn't have to do the ordering ourselves. Just being surprised, just having the sushi chef (Masu himself was there that night, but we were with his protege on the other end of the bar. I wondered if we should have told them omakase before we sat down, if they would have sat us near Masu, but oh well. The guy we were with was really nice and friendly. One of the dishes -- the eel -- he made a point to tell us Masu had prepared it himself, for whatever that's worth).
Just relaxing and having the different courses laid out of us was a great part of the experience, one that I had not thought about in advance. Also, when you just order sushi, you tend to end up eating two pieces of the same order, sometimes more if you order a roll or something. In this case, it was one piece of each item for more variety.
I realize that many people here are veterans of this experience, so this won't mean much to you. But in case there were others like me who weren't sure about the experience due to price or maybe because they didn't know what to expect, I just wanted to recommend the overall experience, even if you pick a different restaurant.
Glad you asked.
I know the omakase starts at $40 for dinner. We ended up at 61 a person. This included a complimentary dessert of fresh fruit that we got because we mentioned my wife's birthday. So, it was 244 for the dinner, one beer and tax got me to 275 and I left a 50 dollar tip (I hope that wasn't being a cheap skate? -- I really didn't know how much to tip.)
Four people, ten courses plus fruit, one beer, 325 all in.
And it's Cup O Noodles the rest of the week.
Sushi Masu is on Westwood Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood.