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sushi fest!: zipangu sushi at the lab in OC, kiriko on sawtelle, hamakawa in jtown and asami cafe in hollywood

modernist | Aug 2, 200509:06 AM

monday: i was meeting my dad at our regular sushi spot, and perhaps my favorite sushi joint in all of so-cal: kasen.
but i forgot its closed on mondays...damn!

since i dont eat out in OC much, i totally forgot about shibucho - still have to try it. someone recommended zipangu to my dad so we went there. its the same designer as sushi roku (we were told by the chef), we both have an inherent fear of trendy looking sushi restaurants, we looked at each other with trepidation, but didnt know where else to go, so we went in.

the quality of the fish was quite good. we had uni (santa barbara), amae ebi, aji (head already cut off in the case), hamachi and hamachi belly (actually we asked for the belly cut but he didnt give it to us the first time so i had to order it again) black fin o-toro (not that often available and it was beautiful looking: 12 bucks an order- we each had one piece, served with grated fresh wasabi root), sake (salmon) negi toro hand roll (made with a whole chunk of o-toro that he scraped to get rid of the tendon-y bit).

total price: i think it was around 70-80 before tip.
his knife work was a bit clumsy for a sushi chef

wednesday: kiriko for 35 dollar 10 piece omakase lunch.
good quality fish. with a slightly precious foodie way of describing each piece as he sat it down in front of us, that made it kind of sound like he was patting himself on the back each time. food was good so its all good. house lightly smoked salmon was slightly unusual. tamago is of the light cake like variety (not to my taste personally) blue crab hand roll was tasty.

sunday: we had dinner at hamakawa (we really like sushi!), on account of sushi gen being closed. i used to think this place was quite good in the mid 90s, then it went downhill. one time the hostess (i think shes the wife of the owner/chef as well) sat us, and then got behind the glass and started cutting sushi! we were both kind of surprised at this move. well, we gave it another shot. we just got the 25 dollar 12 piece sushi meal which included: uni, amae ebi, tamago, maguro, and something that looked like it was trying to be toro, but didnt quite make it (hence, two pieces of maguro), ikura, halibut, a roe of densely packed small yellow eggs that i dont know the name of. it was decent stuff, but nothing great, but i dont expect much, ordering a set sushi dinner course at a table.

side note: i had a good meal at asami sushi cafe on melrose just east of highland on the south side. chef/owner is female. an unusual touch. she seemed quite good at her craft and the fish was very good (i heard she trained for many years in japan). i didnt taste any of the cooked dishes so cant comment on that. i have to say i was a bit skeptical at first because 1)the location and 2)the clientele (90 percent white - okay, so im a culinary racist) but it was all quite tasty.

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