Just had dinner at Sushi Tenn tonight with my parents. It won the readers poll on citysearch. Never tried it but heard good things.
It was an icy encounter with the itamae/owner Hanzawa-san. I believe the reason might be we ordered the omakase sets from the sushi bar. If not, this is the coldest reception I've ever encountered in a restaurant especially being 5 feet from the chef himself.
Small place. Sushi bar seats 10. 4 tables seating 16 total. Not too busy. 4 others at the sushi bar and 11 people at the tables. Mostly caucasian clientele.
We were promptly seated in the 1st 3 seats that take up the short side of the sushi bar.
We were handed menus and today's appetizer specials. As well as a sushi menu with a pen. That was a turnoff. If I wanted to mark my order with a pen, I can sit at a table.
I like to talk to the sushi chef on what is especially good today and get his recommendations.
We waited for some sort of communication from the sushi chef. After 10 minutes with no response, we ordered the 3 different omakase sets they offered.
I wasn't too hungry so I ordered the $45 omakase. My mom ordered the $30. My dad the $80.
I told the waitress that we would like to order the omakase sets and order some sushi a la carte. She said you can order directly to the chef in Japanese.
I wanted to order Aoyagi sashimi and an order of ankimo. With little eye contact given to our group, it was difficult to order.
I eventually ordered the ankimo through our waitress. Just by looking at it, I can tell there wasn't too much fat in it since it was almost all orange. It had the texture of ricotta cheese instead of the dense, smooth, creamy texture. I know it's summer time and that this is not the season but I've had decent ankimo at other restaurants. If I was the owner here, I would not even serve it. The best part of the dish was the wakame and greens with a little sesame dressing that with the ponzu sauce was delicious.
My omakase set began with 3 appetizers:
1) Housemade Crab tofu with spinach and crab on the side. Delicious and nice texture of the tofu.
2) Baked green mussel. In a sesame sweet flavor.
3) Stuffed cabbage and taro in a bonito broth. This was a nice light japanese flavor.
Still not one word from the sushi chef.
Now on to the sushi:
I received a plate on 12 pieces of sushi. This is when I realized that this set is meant for table customers. I'm used to omakase where I get one piece at a time. I've ordered omakase at the bar at Asanebo many times and never had any problems.
1)Toro - fresh and buttery.
3)Mirugai - very good
5)Ikura - a little too salty compared to other places
8)Salmon - belly part
9)Anago - Nice
10)Uni - solid but like it sweeter/fresher
11)Crab - Tasty. I was hoping for some kani miso (Crab innards/brains on top that Jonathan Gold talked about)
12)Hirame - Served plain. Good quality. I like it with ponzu, negi, and momiji oroshi.
Overall thoughts: One of the better places in LA. Fish is fresh. The sushi rice is plumper than other places and with less vinegar. I prefer my shari al dente and with a little more rice wine vinegar. It was a nice change of pace. They use high quality rice.
Fresh wasabi was very nice. They use different ginger if you order omakase and a la carte . The a la carte ginger was 3 times thicker and better tasting.
Came with red miso soup. And dessert. Homemade Ice cream with a little japanese cookie.
A great deal for $45. The $80 meal came with sashimi of some toro, mirugai, aji, and kanpachi. Plus different appetizers such as buta kakuni (slow cooked pork in soy and ginger). The sushi had blue fin tuna, and aji instead of albacore and saba.
The waitresses were friendly. I discovered the other type of ginger when I ordered a negitoro temaki (handroll) from the other sushi chef.
Still not a word from the itamae/owner. When the negitoro came, just said here you go in Japanese and that was it.
Unfortunately it was a cut roll, but at this point I was frustrated and didn't bother correcting them.
As we were about to leave the sushi chefs left the sushi bar and went to the back. We left the restaurant. My mom yelled "Gochisosama deshita!" so they can hear as a sign of respect when leaving. The waitresses replied back but nothing from the sushi chefs. I felt bad.
Is this what to expect at Nozawa? Or did I experience much worse?
Or was it because of what we ordered?
If so, the waitress should not have given us a menu and should have given us an appetizer menu only.
A sushi bar should be a friendly place where you feel welcomed and can talk with the chef.
Link to the best sushi list is good. Don't know how Japon Bistro got on there though.