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Sushi Yotsuya in Tarzana

Greg Henry | Dec 21, 200305:53 PM

Does anyone out there have any info on Sushi Yotsuya at 18760 Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana? I ended up there on Thursday. I am not at all familiar with the area but had a meeting which I arrived nearly an hour early. As I was hungry and curious about Tarzana I randomly picked a sushi place in a mini mall. I came in and was a little bit concerned because it was 7:00pm and the place was rather sparcly attended. Two sets of two folks sat at the bar and a family of four (including an infant at a table). The waiter rushed up to me with a worried look on his face and asked me if I'd ever been there before. When I said no he practically pushed back to the front and sat me on a bench. At first I thought maybe he wanted me to take my shoes off (it seemed like that kind of bench and that kind of place). I looked at the other patrons and all were well shod! Then I noticed he was directing me to read a large blackboard that I had somehow missed when I came in.

The board stated that this was a "traditional" sushi and sashimi house. There would be no rolls, no ordering, just a brief conversation with the sushi chef/owner (Masa Matsumoto) to gauge my tastes (and I gathered worthiness) and then the food would be prepared and presented to me at the pace of the chef.

The waiter then asked me if I still would like a seat. Well, as I had goosebumps of anticipation I said "yes sir"! I was seated and immediately brought some excellent yellowtail sashimi which was perfect. The rest of the meal was equally sublime. A great variety ranging from giant clam to whole fried shrimp and a couple of things I'd never had before including a shrimp roe item that was very fun. It was as if he'd removed a pregnant (I am sure that is not the right word) shrimp from it's shell and left the eggs still attached and clinging to the shell. I used chopsticks to daintily remove every last egg. It was terrific.

There was also some seasonal type of fish that he said was very hard to come by and it's Japanese name escaped me. But he made me feel very special when he presented it to me. I found myself actually giving a small bow in appreciation!

After a while I began to understand why the place was as empty as it was. First off I was the only non Asian eating, and secondly, the 3 or 4 groups that stumbled in during my hour of dining were given the same "read the board" treatment. Almost all of them read and left immediately.

Was I simply wowed by the stunning service and presentation or is a place that is well known for what I believe to be excellent "traditional" sushi?

Sadly, I had to leave for my 8pm meeting. I know there was still more planned for me. The whole bill for just me was $65.00 w/o tip, I believe he comped my sake.

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