When I compare and contrast the quality of food from coast to coast there are a few dishes that can be debated on, some you call even, and others where it is not even a question. When it comes to Sushi there is no doubt in my mind that the west coast reigns supreme. While there can be many different reasons why this is so I believe the proximity to its origin is the most germane.
One of the several restaurants that stick to its Japanese roots is Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa. The restaurant was founded by Kazunori Nozawa who retired earlier this year after 47 years of service. Nozawa began his tremendous career in Japan cleaning dishes and washing plates as he worked his way up the ladder. During his stay he spent a good deal of time traveling the vast regions of Japan learning to prepare different cuts of fish.
(Image via Yelp)
After opening up a restaurant in Tokyo with his family he moved to California to share this amazing cuisine. His first shop opened in Studio City and as his popularity grew Mr. Nozawa sprawled out to various other locations in the Los Angeles region. His retirement this past February was a blow to the culinary world and I for one am sad that I did not get to visit the Studio City location which closed shortly after.
On the Brightside his teachings were passed down and remain ingrained in the remaining restaurants, one of which I visited this past week. As I strolled down 2nd street on a cool Thursday afternoon I could not wait to experience a traditional sushi dinner. Once I arrived my eyes were dazzled by lovely fixtures which lined the walls.
(Salmon, Yellowtail, and Tuna Sashimi)
Our meal began by nibbling on the edamame and sipping some cold sake. After a couple of minutes the plates began to come out. Once a plate was placed on our table the waiter would give a quick presentation of what the fish was and if it had any sauce on it. In the case of the latter it is advised that you do not add any soy sauce. Throughout the meal I used little to no soy sauce because I wanted to fully enjoy each cut of fish. I also ate a slice of ginger after each piece to refresh my pallet.
(Tono Hand Roll)
As our meal progressed I could not help but notice how each dish exceeded its predecessor. It was as if Chef Nozawa designed the courses to resemble a roller-coaster of flavor. Each piece brought me to new heights and just when I would think the ride is over I would be blown away yet again.
Overall I have nothing but great things to say about my experience here. The sushi is fantastic, it sticks to its traditional roots and it the price tag will not kill you. The servers were both reliable and informative and the ambiance was soothing. If you are in the area and in the mood for sushi I would recommend making this your destination.