11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
It’s time for some end-of-the-year catching-up for the blog. This time of the year (4th quarter, from mid-October to late-December) is the busiest for us at work, so I haven’t really gotten around to posting anything new, although there is no shortage in my dining out (see: my Flickr). It’s not that I don’t have any time for it, because that would be an obvious lie (and most people who use that as an excuse are just BS-ing), but the last thing I want to do when I go home after a long day of sitting in front of a computer and typing at work is to do even more of it at home. But I would like have a fresh start for 2014, even though there are a lot of posts in the queue. So until the new year, I’ll be posting some of the more significant meals I’ve had in the last few months that I hadn’t previously gotten around to, with mostly photos and a few words here and there – enjoy.
I’m not sure if most of you know this, but I’m a huge fan of sushi (okay, that should be OBVIOUS). And not just any run-of-the-mill stuff either – I’ve acquired a taste for the finer raw fishes life has to offer. I’m not ashamed to say that a good portion of my take-home salary goes to the local sushi joints, to the point where I should start looking for ways to write these expenses off. But while most of these visits go to a short, playoff rotation of regular haunts, I do try to mix in a new place here and there, especially when the homie Lawrence is in town. And the last remaining “tier 1” sushi restaurant on our to-dine list in L.A. was Mori.
I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to trying Mori – I live only a couple of miles from the restaurant, and it had remained very high on my to-dine list over time despite Mori-san’s departure and lack of reports in recent years. Maybe it was their previous no-photo policy, but it’s not as if I’m going into the restaurant with a DSLR and taking hundreds of photos as if I was actually someone important with journalistic dignity. Or maybe it was their price range, which is arguably the 2nd-highest in the city, but it wasn’t as if it was in the Urasawa-range. But there we were two months ago, finally entering the restaurant for the first time.
We were fortunate to sit in front of Maru-san, who was Mori-san’s second-in-command before taking over the place. By all accounts, not much has changed since the restaurant’s supposed heyday, from the pristine and expansive fish selection, the unique rice blend, and even down to the custom handmade plates, except they have been altered to suit Maru-san’s own preferences. There are three tiers of omakase, and we went with the middle choice, which was mostly sushi with three appetizers at $165.
The meal itself was definitely an all-star starter (top 5) from me this year. Each piece of nigiri, sans the sad piece of amaebi, was excellent. No nigiri can truly impress me from a rarity perspective nowadays, but I was indeed wowed by the quality of fish that we had that night, from the famous uni “duo” of Hokkaido and Santa Barbara varieties, to the hiramasa/buri yellowtail contrast. Confirming what I had heard and read, each piece of nigiri was on the smaller side, but not to the point of Sushi Zo’s minuscule portions. That sushi rice though – amazing. I can’t tell you what specific grain was used, or whether it’s a special blend, but the temperature, acidity, pairing with fish, etc. – it just clicked.
If you’re a sushi aficionado, and I’m sure there are plenty of you in L.A., then Mori should be high on your to-dine list. It’s definitely a splurge (again, the quality of food was top-notch, but for sure priced on the higher end of the spectrum), but it really was a great meal. Just save it for a special occasion…
Zensai (from left): smoked aori ika & quail egg, red shishito pepper, abalone, baby celery, gobo, 2 kinds of pickled tomato, chestnut
Matsutake Dobinmushi – shrimp, hamo, gingko
Tai no Kobujime
|Japanese, Sushi||West LA||$$$$||A|