mila: sushi. It has definitely become my favorite cuisine. It took years for me to finally get there, and I can accredit Ashley for that. When we were young, probably pre-teen years, Ashley and her family would always go to Iroha Sushi in Studio City. I would go along and hesitantly order California rolls because that’s as risky as I would get. The idea of raw fish completely grossed me out. Then after some years, I branched out to Spicy Tuna rolls and then I discovered Yellowtail. The rest is history.

Katsu-ya became my favorite joint in the city. It was small, always busy and the quality of the fish was always up to par. Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice is my heaven. It’s a craving that cannot be satisfied by any other food. One day while at Katsu-ya on Ventura Blvd., it was so jam-packed that the hostess sent me to their new sister restaurant, Kiwami by Katsu-ya, just down the block. I was home. This is my favorite spot in all of Los Angeles. I love the staff and the chefs and they can always fit you in no matter what time or day. Whenever Ashley and I go we get the Raku Mori, which is an assortment of sushi for two. It’s a great deal especially for the quality of food you’re getting. One of the servers told me that the name Kiwami is best interpreted as “better” and that this latest restaurant is Katsu-ya’s pride and joy, so he pays particular attention to it. Two weeks ago when I went, I saw a chef I’ve never seen before, he was sitting outside with people all around him. I knew it was him. Of course, I got all star-struck because I love his food. By the way, SBE bought Katsu-ya’s recipes a few years ago, hence the chain Katsuya (no dash), but these restaurants are not overseen and regulated by Katsu-ya, therefore the quality is not as great as his actual slew of eateries.

Last night a friend of mine took me to Sushi Nozawa, where the infamous Sushi Nazi (Kazunori Nozawa) resides. It’s been said that if he doesn’t like you, he won’t serve you. If you are smoking outside his restaurant and you let smoke inside, he will banish you forever. And if at the very end of the meal you get his “special” plate, then you know you’ve made it into his ranks of favoritism. Needless to say I was nervous as I walked in. Nozawa has a scar on his eye and is very rigid behind his bar. I smiled, he smiled. Phew. We sat far from him as to avoid any communication with the man of mystery. Nozawa practices the centuries-old tradition of omakase (let the chef determine the menu) which is always a bit nerve-wracking but mostly exciting. I felt his eyes on me as I took my first bite. Damn. It was good. Then it kept coming and coming. Then I was getting to the point where I felt like I was going to throw up. I didn’t want to disrespect him by not eating what I was given, so I kept pounding it down. Then… It arrived. The plate. I ate it. Then… Another special plate. It was obvious he loved me. I must say, this man, who spent 6 years perfecting rice before even touching a piece of fish, is truly an amazing sushi chef.

    • stranger
    • June 22nd, 2010

    “he made me keep EATING and EATING and EATING until it hurt so bad I knew he loved me.”


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