Stop Asking Me: Tourist Sushi Edition


It comes with the territory. As the magazine’s dine editor, I regularly get hit up for restaurant recommendations during my off hours. I receive text messages from friends in the evenings, phone calls from family members on weekends, and—my personal favorite—the casual backyard barbecue sneak attack. (I’ve had three beers, but sure I can tell you where to eat for your anniversary!) Despite the title of this post, I’m always truly happy to help. But I insist every inquirer give me a few guidelines first: a) what part of town, b) price point, c) desired vibe, d) style of cuisine, or the name of a restaurant they already like. Here, I share my off-duty advice.

Who: An ABC news radio correspondent and his partner, in town from D.C. for a wedding

Method of Inquiry: In-person, at said wedding. (Congratulations to Jenny and Kurtis!) 

Scenario: They’re visiting L.A. for a few days, don’t want to spend a fortune, but are interested to try some of what L.A. has to offer.

Where: They are staying in West Hollywood but have friends in the Valley and Hollywood.

Price Point: Medium to high, depending on the experience.

Vibe: Anything goes, but preferably not complete hole-in-the-wall. 

Type of Cuisine: Sushi! They’re relative newbies but are ready to get more adventurous and don’t know where to start. They’ve heard L.A. has some of the best sushi offerings in the country. (They’re right.)

I Said: For their particular sushi level and desire for some atmosphere, I sent them to one of my personal favorites: Kiwami. Katsuya Uechi’s other place in the Valley has a tourist-friendly feel (read: not in a mini-mall) but takes its sushi seriously. I suggested they try omakase, a term they’d never heard of before, which essentially means the sushi chef chooses your meal for you. Omakase is a great way for beginners to try dishes they’d never know to order themselves—plus, it’s a bit of an adventure, which it seemed like these guys were up for. Kiwami requires you to call ahead for omakase; I told them as much.

The Verdict: I lost touch with my wedding pals sometime after the cake cutting, but before the Boys II Men dance-off. Here’s hoping they loved it. I always do.  

11920 Ventura Blvd., Studio City