So I’ve been perusing chowhound for a while and I figured it was my turn to post a review.
11920 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA
I stumbled across this little GEM about a year ago and have gone there 1-3 times a week ever since.
Katsu the head chef has been a sushi chef for over 50 years he is part of the prestigious Tokyo Sushi Kenkyu Sanchokai in Tsukiji Japan. He has been cutting sushi working as a sushi chef for almost 50 years. Unlike Nozawa down the street he is a very pleasant chef who is inviting and warm, and is one if not the most experienced sushi chefs in LA.
On to the FISH :) first you absolutely must get the more expensive of the omakase options which is 50 dollars. He spares no expense with this one. My favorite items, which he serves, are live scallops; he has a lime/lemon marinade that he drips on top with a sprinkle of black sea salt. The taste is phenomenal. Other favorites are his live shrimp, if he has them, which he usually does 4 or more days out of the week. If your heart can't take the sight of him ripping of their heads only to be boiled in water, watching their headless bodies squirm this is NOT I repeat NOT the dish for you. Other exceptional things I’ve had there that I cannot stomach at 99 percent of other sushi places are the sometimes live "sea urchin," and the monkfish liver. I had previously been served monkfish liver at other places and thought I would loose my entire dinner after eating it but at tama it was buttery and smooth I did not even know what it was and when he told me I was shocked. He does use a paste for wasabi but its not bad and if he likes you and you request fresh wasabi and he has it he will gladly grind you some. Don't request this on a busy friday or saturday night though. His special rolls seem to be a toro roll and a dungenous crab roll.
His Toro is top notch and it just melts in your mouth, and his tuna is as one of my friends says INSANE. It is blood red and of the utmost quality. Spanish Mackerel is always great and the Albacore is SOOO good one of my favorites as well "as you can see I have a lot of fav's here." The yellow tail and halibut are OK but they are not my cup of tea i'm not a big white fish fan usually. Sometimes he has sardines and he makes a great dish with these. He also does this fried salmon skin thing with a blow torche that is exquisite. When he can he imports some very rare things from Japan, I once had baby squid and i must say they were amazing. But just an FYI to all of you this is not a cheap date or dinner place, contrary to what is stated online. For two people "sake for each" and 2 of the more expensive 50-dollar omakase choices It usually runs me about 120-180 a trip "before tip." But for those of you that are willing to pay the price for a sushi meal you will not forget don't even think twice about calling. The other 2 sushi chef's are nice. There is a really tall guy that is pretty funny and both of the other chef's are quite skilled as well. But after you get to know Katsu well enough he will be sure to reserve a spot for you at the sushi bar.
So upon wrapping this up Nozawa “OK,” Sushi Gen “Good but not Tama,” Urasawa “blah,” Matsuhisa” OK, Tama “YUM YUM YUM.”
There is ONE major downfall to this place, that is that after you have been here for a few times almost everywhere else you go will taste cheap and the freshness just wont match.
OH P.S. don’t go here for rolls. But I have tried the spicy tuna and it was great. But that is not what this place is about.
I don't have time to write a bunch more reviews but here are some other places i really liked.
Yatai "great date spot good-OK food outstanding service, great ambiance."
Bistro Verdu "great food and the menu seems to change a little each time I go"
Thaitalian "if you can get past the sign you'll have a nice time"
Saladang "Good food, Nice atmosphere"
Handy Market "Go there on a saturday before 12 noon and get a tri-tip from the grill."
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