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What defines Tokyo-style Sushi? Sasabune, Echigo, etc.

jujubee | Jan 3, 200406:54 PM

We've been to Echigo a half-dozen times. These were our first experiences with "Tokyo-style" sushi. Sometimes we'd choose off the sushi board or the list, other times we'd go omakase. I am not super-experienced, but the main thing I noticed was that there was a focus on rich, buttery, tender fish (hamachi, salmon, hirame) and various types of tuna. I liked the ponzu sauce that came already on some of the nigiri, with instructions not to dip further in soy sauce and wasabi. The chef is nice enough to include things you love in your omakase if you ask and if he's got 'em - I can't go without ikura and uni, and both are spectacular at Echigo. Each meal ended with a crazy-delicious crab hand roll featuring warm rice, cold crab rolled up thick in crispy, smoky nori.

Last night we went to Sasabune for the first time. We went omakase. We were pleased with the portions and the freshness of the fish, service was smooth. Much to my surprise, the meal was VERY similar to Echigo. That is to say, same focus on buttery fish and even the same (but not quite as good) crab hand roll at the end! (They charged extra for my requst for ikura and uni, which was a bit of a bummer... but I know, I know... omakase.)

Educate me, Chowhounds! Is it a coincidence that the meal was so similar? IS this Tokyo-style - the crab roll at the end, etc? Or is one of these restaurants copying the other? What defines Tokyo style?

If this IS Tokyo-style, I would say that one thing I miss from "regular" sushi (is there such a thing? or are we used to a certain regional style?) is a bit more variety in fish texture: ika, ama ebi, tobiko, mirugai... but maybe these items ARE included in Tokyo-style and these 2 restos are doing a certain style thing or a seasonal thing?

Thanks for your knowledge in advance!

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