On Wednesday, D and I were experiencing a IGTESN (I Got To Eat Sushi Now) moment. After 20 minutes of wondering where to eat, we decided check out Sushi Zo after reading an article our friend wrote in the Rafu Shimpo. According to Rickmond Wong at the Rafu Shimpo, "Sushi Zo is at the forefront of a new boom in edomae-style sushi bars, restaurants that specialize in serving fish the traditional way, like in “Edo-period Tokyo a century ago.” In other words, it's old school.
Sushi Zo is headed and owned by Keizo Seki, a former Hide Sushi chef who is insanely particular in how sushi is to be served and eaten. You won't find any green-capped Low Sodium Kikkoman bottles of shoyu here. At Sushi Zo, Keizo makes his own shoyu, which is superb and does what shoyu is suppose to do with sushi...accentuate the sushi's strengths rather than mask it's imperfections.
D and I went wild for Zo's sushi rice. Served room temperature, his rice melds perfectly with each slice of sushi. I looooved his sushi rice. Sooo yummy! As much as I admire Keizo's detail and attention to making the perfect sushi, it's quite intimidating eating in front of him. If you plan to sit at the sushi bar, you better eat your sushi when he places it right in front of you. Keizo didn't like that I was taking my time as I took pictures of each sushi. After several passive aggressive remarks (a very Japanese way of confrontation) about me taking pictures and not eating, I was intimidated and started to take rapid shots of the sushi before Keizo said anything else. Another Sushi Zo eating tip, make sure you eat everything. The girls next to us dumped the rice from their nigiri onto a plate and Keizo sure wasn't happy with that. Again, he made several passive aggressive sneers at them. The girls didn't get it, and just giggled, "We didn't like the rice." I was waiting for him to pull out his samurai sword and behead the two giggling patrons. But he didn't (sigh), instead he waved bye to them and continued working on our omakase menu.
Ok...let's get down to business. How was the sushi??? His sushi was marvelous! His fish, which is flown in from Japan FOUR times a week is nothing but fresh and OISHII!
A. Awabi (Abalone) - This was the first time eating abalone so I didn't know what to compare it to. It was super yummy and had a buttery fish taste. However, it was super crunchy. It felt like I was gnawing on someone's nose.
B. Blue Fin Tuna - Super yum! Keizo brushed it with some of his special special shoyu behind the counter.
C. Kanpachi with Yuzu Kosho- PERFECT!
D. Kurodai (Black Snapper) - This was my first time eating Black Snapper. It looked like Tai (red snapper) but the meat was softer.
E. Amaebi - This was D's. I got Aji shimo. D was looking forward to the ebi's head...but it never came. Sigh.
F. Aji (Spanish Mackerel) - I thought I hated mackerel. Mackerel will always remind me of when we used mackerel as bait when my dad took me fishing on the pier. Anyways, the aji shimo was yummy.
G. Freshly steamed Ankimo (Monk Fish Liver) - The best ankimo I've ever had. I looooooved how Keizo served it warm. Oishii~!
H. Hotatagai (Scallops) - Sprinkled with fresh yuzu and special sea salt. Very good.
I. Miso Butterfish - I just smacked my hand on the table. The butterfish was DAAANG good!
J.Giant clam with Shiso - Chewy. Shiso. Not a big fan.
K. Toro - His toro was good. But I was still thinking about the butterfish.
L. Albacore - Good.
M. Tai (Red Snapper) - Sweet.
N.Hamachi (Yellowtail) - We were fascinated with the ridges he made on our slices. He's got some major knife skills.
O. Ikura (Salmon Roe) - For years I've tried to dodge these shiny red balls of fish juice. Ikura to me, belongs on a treble hook and eventually in the bellies of future trout dinners. Again, I was "berry berry bigu shocku" (surprised) in how yummy ikura could be. Keizo soaks his ikura in his special shoyu. So each egg was a joy smoky katsuo/shoyu wonder. YUMM!
P. Unagi (Grilled Eel) - His unagi was yummy but I wished I ended my omakase with his yummy ikura.
After our omakase, D and I ordered piece of butterfish, hamachi, ankimo and blue fish tuna because we were still hungry. But before handing us our check, the waitress gave us some special yuzu juice. I called it "Yuzu-ade." Nothing spectacular, but definitely a nice treat to end our big sushi night out.
Omakase for two + four extra pieces of sushi + three beers = $150 (without tip). More than we've ever spent on sushi, but definitely worth the amount and quality Keizo put into each bite.
9824 National Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90034