Restaurants & Bars

Tama Sushi in Studio City

Jack Flash | Sep 22, 200302:36 PM     2

After reading some positive words about Tama Sushi (formerly Katsu) on this board, my GF and I went there for dinner on Friday night. I'm glad we did.

I had been there when it was still called Katsu (before the fire) in the summer of 2000. Had a pleasant enough meal, as I recall, but it was under unpleasant circumstances. That, and the fire, conspired to keep me away.

Mistake on my part.

We were both amazed at the quality and selection of fish, especially for the price. I'd have to say that it's about the best sushi deal I've found. I had the $30 Omakase, which included 12 pieces of sushi, plus an appetizer plate (four amuse guele-sized "bites" consisting of some monkfish liver & aspic, a piece of whitefish on a slice of tomato, a piece of okra, cut & topped with some sort of chili-paste-type concoction, and a kind of Japanese pickled sweet pepper) and a little teapot of soup. The soup was a clear broth, with chunks of fish and a shrimp, plus slices of shiitake. The broth was subtle, with the smoky earthiness of the mushrooms being the most prevalent flavor.

I couldn't identify everything on my sushi plate (we ate in the dining room so I couldn't just say "what's this one?"), but the selections definitely included: two yellowtail, two albacore, two toro, two mackerel, a sort of crab handroll (one piece), and three other pieces (two and one), none of which I could specifically identify (the specials board indicated they had Japanese halibut and a couple of other things with Japanese names, so I suspect that's what I got).

They were all generous cuts of fish (completely draping over the rice). The fish itself was impeccably fresh.

I went to Nozawa a week or so ago. The fish at Tama was not *quite* up to par with Nozawa's, but it cost about half the price.

My GF ordered one of the pre-selected sushi combos, which itself was a which included tuna, yellowtail, salmon, albacore, shrimp (1 piece), & california roll, for something like $15 bucks.

We also ordered a tempura appetizer (my GF can't go to a Japanese restaurant without trying the tempura), and 3 cocktails (2 green apple martinis & one Tom Collins).

Total bill before tip: $68 (and were were stuffed; much of the tempura was left, even though it was perfectly fine, as were a couple of the pieces of California roll). I spent about the same amount just for myself at Nozawa (which is, IMHO, the best fish I've had; and I don't understand why people complain about the attitude there or the atmosphere. There's no attitude at all if you simply go there and "trust [him]." I don't go to restaurants to make new friends, and many of the best food in town is found in atmospherically-challenged mini-malls).

I've paid as much or more at other places as I did at Tama, for food that didn't come close in terms of quality (and for those of you who care about those things, Tama has linen table cloths & napkins, and was decidedly low-key at 8:45 on Friday night).

You'll have a hard time getting me to go elsewhere to fulfill my sushi needs from now on, if I'm 30 minutes or less away.

Tama gets bonus points in my book for serving cocktails, since my GF doesn't drink beer and neither of us cares for sake.

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