After reading a couple of recent posts raving about Sasabune, I decided today while driving by to give the new location a try. Let me preface by saying: I went hungry, I wanted to like it, and I had an open mind. I have even had a few good meals at the old location.
Upon first impression, the old Todai space I thought was appropriate. Really, anything was better than the old house they were in, and the location seemed to suit their rigid and fast style of serving.
My wife and I were promptly seated after the obligatory admonishment / question "Have you been here before?" Maybe it's just me, but it always sounds like they are really saying "We know you're not good enough to enjoy our sushi without our help." At least they have toned it down a bit over the years.
Our waitress greeted us with "You are both having the chef's special?" It wasn't really a question and there were no menus to be seen so we agreed. Then the pain began.
Everything that arrived except for one piece of toro was sauced. And I mean SAUCED. Ponzu so tangy an liberally used that your lips would draw back, sweet sauce that was sickening slathered on sloppily cut tuna. The first sashimi course my wife sent back when the fishy taste was powerful enough to come through the bowl of sauce it sat in. Our waitress admitted that not only was the sashimi prepared in advance and refrigerated it was possibly not even made that day!
For all of you that equate soft fish with freshness, you have made Nozawa and the Sasabune owners millionaires. The fish is brined, and at this point the Sasabune fish is so heavily brined and sauced that I don't think I tasted a piece of fish the whole meal. It's sauce and soft, but that's it. Where's the fish?
The presentation was sloppy, as always. The cutting of the fish was just plain bad. Giant pieces of toro that could not be eaten in one bite and as a result were sickening. The ubiquitous crab roll ending was so salty that neither one of us could eat it and left dehydrated.
After our rapid fire 30 minute meal, all of the waitresses went MIA. It took thirty more minutes to get the check an pay. The total? An amazing $106 for lunch with one $4 drink.
How do they get away with it? If this were really the best sushi in LA, I would move. Instead I am drinking aranciata to try to get rid of the knot in my stomach so I can enjoy a good meal another day somewhere else.