02 Feb Sushi Tsujita Los Angeles
It may not be the easiest restaurant name to say. But, those in the know can easily pronounce Tsujita. After all, Tsujita LA and Tsujita Annex have been popular ramen destinations on Sawtelle Blvd. since 2011. And, last year Tsujita opened it’s 3rd location on Sawtelle Blvd, Sushi Tsujita, in the space that used to house Orris. If you didn’t know how to say it before, you will quickly want to learn it now.
I had been to Tsujita for lunch and had the special lunch deal – Bara-Chirashi, a bowl of warm sushi rice with an assortment of sashimi and miso soup for $15. (Note that they only make 15 of these each day.)
But, I was really looking forward to coming back for dinner where they serve an edomae-inspired, omakase-focused menu. Edomae-inspired means is that the dishes are about simplicity. Because it about the fish, it is about serving the best quality. And omakase means that you are in the chef’s hands. There are three price options, $120, $150 and $180, and once you make that decision, you sit back and leave the rest to the chef.
We took our seat at the sushi bar, where there are 10 seats. There are also tables if you prefer, but I like being able to interact with the chef. Sushi Tsujita is helmed by Shigeru Kato who came from Tokyo to open the restaurant. Our sushi chef for the night was Hide Yokoyama. Hide speaks English (Shigeru does not) and was wonderful in describing each dish and answering any questions we had. We selected the $120 menu and off we went.
Shirako (Black Cod Soft Roe)
Our first dish was Shirako and Chef Hide called it Black Cod Soft Roe. It looked like brains but I heard the word roe and felt comfortable taking a bite. Skirako is actually a sac of cod milt, or the seminal fluid, which I learned when I looked it up later. The texture is soft and creamy, like a custard, and the taste is subtle with a slight sweetness and ocean flavor.
Ika-Uruka (Squid Sashimi)
The little strands of squid sashimi have been salted and there was an earthy element to the taste.
The next course was sashimi, which included Live Octopus, Hata Grouper, Isaki Grunt, Japanese Mackerel and Blue-Fin Tuna.
It was now time for the sushi. Next to each setting was a fresh bowl of ginger cubes and a little wet finger towel, for use when you eat the sushi with your hands (which is perfectly acceptable).
And, Chef Hide ground fresh wasabi as he needed it.
Much of the fish at Sushi Tsujita is flown in daily (except Sunday) from Japan but other fish came from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as sea urchin from Santa Barbara.
Hobo (Sea Robin)
Nodokuro (Black Throat Perch)
Buri (Premium Wild Yellow Tail)
In fact, Chef Hide showed us the certification that comes with each Buri ( wild yellow tail).
Otoro Tataki (fatty Blue Fin Tuna)
Kohada (Gizzard Shad)
In between the sushi, we were served a plate of Kinme Calpaccio. The seared Golden-Eye Snapper is served with truffle oil and the aromas just rose off the plate.
Ikura-Uni (Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe)