This restaurant is all about trust. Trust you'll get a table, because it doesn't take reservations, and trust the omakase, which is what people come here for. You have three options:
For those with a whale of an appetite: “The Nozawa,” containing edamame, Tuna sashimi, 2 pieces each of Albacore, Salmon, Snapper, Yellowtail, Halibut, and a Daily special – on this evening, Unagi, and one hand roll each, of Toro and crab ($35-$37 depending on the special)
For those not as famished: “Trust Me” containing edamame, Tuna sashimi, 2 pieces each of Albacore, Salmon, Yellowtail, and Halibut nigiri sushi, and again, one hand roll each, of Toro and crab ($28.50).
For those with the merest whiff of hunger: “Trust Me/Lite,” containing edamame, Tuna sashimi, 1 piece each of Albacore, Salmon, Shrimp, and Tuna nigiri sushi, and one Toro hand roll ($19.50)
Besides these, sugarFISH does offer a few à la carte items if you’re hankering after some oysters or scallops for instance.
A flummoxed and harried server (to my eyes, the only one actually serving, while plenty of other staff stand around deciphering tables and orders) takes your order, and then you sit back and wait. In Nozawa we trust.
We start on a wilted note, with below average cold edamame that is a stroke away from fresh. Some like their edamame cold, some like it warm, and I fall into the latter category with a dash of salt which I was sadly deprived of.
But wait, keep the disappointment at bay. Chef Nozawa recommends you avoid dipping your fish into excessive soy or ponzu sauce to best partake of the actual flavour of the fish itself (much like Sushi of Gari). All the fish is of good quality and arrives in courses per our various omakase orders.
The Tuna sashimi is delicious, and made me wish for more.
I will admit, however, that I have eaten better salmon and yellowtail (sorry, evident-regular-with-lofty-promises) on many, many occasions. The hand rolls, never a personal favourite because I am averse to chewy nori, are stuffed with creamy toro and crab respectively. There's something missing - both the toro and the crab, while decadent enough as they should be, lack flavour and somehow fail to make a huge impression on me. In all fairness, some of my fellow dinner companions were fairly gaga over them.
It’s the kind of restaurant that is clean and minimalist. Bulbous orbs cast clear light from the ceiling where they are carefully placed in purposeful disorder. The uneven wavy wood walls are a rather nifty background to the cosy and simple setting. There is one painting in a corner, a bright affair that stands out against the rest of the sobriety, depicting Chef Nozawa at work.
It’s also the kind of restaurant that charges for green tea. I do dislike being charged for tea, especially when it’s not of the brewed variety. Beer (Yebisu and Sapporo), a few wines, and a few types of sake are available as well.
The maître d’hotel is a friendly chap, giving me status updates on a table as we waited before our meal, and letting us squeeze seven into a table for six when a friend spontaneously showed up.
A 16% charge is automatically added to your bill, so don’t worry about tipping. All told, it's a reasonable place with a nice atmosphere to go for omakase, which usually sends the tab skyrocketing well into the $60-$90 range. Parking is available in the lot outside.
11640 W. San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Telephone: 310 820 4477
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday 12 – 9 p.m.
4722 1/4 Admiralty Way, Marina del Ray, CA, 90292
Telephone: 310 306 6300
Hours: Same as above
RATING: 3.75 OUT OF 5 GENMAICHAS