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“Wowzawa!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sugarfish By Sushi Nozawa / Downtown

Sugarfish By Sushi Nozawa / Downtown
600 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (Downtown)
213 627 3000
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Ranked #14 of 8,891 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $15 - $34
Cuisines: Sushi
Neighborhood: Downtown
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Downtown
Tampa Bay, Florida
Top Contributor
222 reviews 222 reviews
159 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 91 cities Reviews in 91 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

I have eaten sushi all over the country for many years and I have discovered a new #1-Sugarfish by sushi nozawa in downtown Los Angeles. I tried the "Trust Me" combination and was amazed at the tenderness of the fish, the subtle flavors and the presentation. I had yellowtail, salmon, halibut, and albacore sushi, tuna sashimi, toro handroll, blue crab handroll, along with organic edemame. I added a lobster hand roll, as well and washed it down with a dry sake. Every single item was outstanding. I savored every bite and almost hated to swallow the bite. The service was very prompt, efficient and friendly. It was a special pleasure to dine here. This is one of the best restaurants at which I've ever eaten. I'll definitely return on my next trip to L.A.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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161 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Granite Bay, California
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Not For Large Groups And Disappointed............”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Disappointed........Had frequented Chef Nozawa's original location in Studio City since the late 90's. It was high quality, straight forward, excellent quality sushi for both Nigiri and Sashimi purists. I remember the trust me sign so distinctly and how he would stare me down for the slightest infraction... Being on a cell, asking the wrong questions etc. So I would go in, eat my excellent meal with no fuss or fluff and left.. no more than an hour max.

I hadn't been to the original sight since 2005 or 2006 and heard that it had closed and that he was opening the Sugarfish concept. If you know the chef, he isn't of the "younger" generation so I was a bit wary of why he was expanding in such a quick manner and in a way so different that he had operated for so many years in the past. Unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed.

My daughter had been frequenting the Downtown unit so she was giving me her feedback on the food and experience. She spoke highly of the concept and although she is not as seasoned or experienced in the world of sushi like her Dad, she has good knowledge and experience in this area of cuisine. We were going to have a family and friend dinner on the last night of our event week and she wanted us to try Sugarfish Downtown. It was a Monday night and since we were dining late at around 9pm, I figured that even though they don't take reservations, we shouldn't have to wait too long for a group of 7.

How mistaken I was to have thought that. If you have a party larger than 4, it is advisable to avoid this restaurant. It is set up mainly for diners in pairs and up to four. The table layout doesn't accommodate flexibility for the management to handle large groups. Once a large group is there it really limits the ability for another large group to get a setting. That is what happened to us. A larger party was already there and I could see that the rotations were going to be off. There were a few small groups in front of us and then several small groups came in behind us. The staff did not seem experienced at all in how to watch the tables and to manage the wait to accommodate the smooth sitting of the waiting guests. Being an restaurant owner, I know that is not always easy to do but they were off in how they were staging the sittings.

Plus throw in a couple of groups hanging around 30 to 40 minutes after they are finished dining and just chatting and you have a very very long wait. It still amazes me that diners know that there are groups that have been waiting for awhile and lack the common courtesy to leave. Staying for an extra 15 minutes is ok but not 30-45 minutes especially in a small restaurant such as this one. The staff acknowledged the issues when asked but acted more uncomfortable more than anything as this issue went on. I know that I seem upset just because we had to wait but that is not the main reason. We were told at first about the wait being about 10-15 minutes and that our group had to be all here to be seated. Even if we had all been there the wait would have been the same as they didn't manage the rotation well at all. The only reason that we got sat was they finally "kindly" asked the couple who had been chatting for the better part of an hour if they could move them to another table as they had a large party "waiting". They moved graciously but that could have happened much earlier if asked. What was the most galling of all was the manager's comment after we were finally seated that they usually "don't" put tables together to accommodate large groups and it is not their usual policy. I have been in the business for almost 30 years and have never ever heard such a statement before. When the manager left, we all looked at each other with a look of incredulity. He basically said that the "large" parties aren't really welcome. Is that the message the owner wants to send? If so they did a great job in every way to get that across to us even before he made that appalling statement.

Now for the food. By this time we were famished. The menu is quite simple and is based on Chef Nozawa's famous line, "Trust Me". There are several combo's with this title built in. This story is getting long so I can state that the traditional sushi was fairly solid. Sushi rice was right temperature and not too tight but the flavor was a bit too vinegary for my liking. Fish quality was definitely great but not superb. Maybe it was late in the night and close to closing. The style of how the fish was slice and put on the rice was excellent. The portions for the price were mid-level and when looking for this type of sushi, that should not even be an issue.

All in all, the evening wasn't enjoyable and isn't that what dining out should be all about? I have dined at a number of other great sushi establishments in the area of similar food style that are just as good if not better and some similarly priced. Maybe they had an off night and in fact my daughter thought the food wasn't up to the level of her past experiences there. I went with the expectations of the past and my experiences with Chef Nozawa, looking for that in his new concept. I should have know better...... but I will try it one more time in the future... just with a party of 2.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Best sushi in LA”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013 via mobile

Went here for lunch & had their set meal. Loved the warm rice sushi & the fresh fresh fresh sashimi. Funky interior & great service. A must.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
163 reviews 163 reviews
153 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“As good as they say it is, but.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

For the sushi purist only, which I am but my wife isn't. If you want California rolls and the like, this is not the place. But, INCREDIBLE quality at mid-pricing, it almost seamed cheap for what you get. Best sea urchin serving/preparation I have ever had. Even the house sake was great. Very nice decor, but so odd not to see a sushi bar with the chefs preparing in front of you. Everything comes from behind the kichen wall. Hate the 'Sugarfish' name, LOVED everything else.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Best Sushi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013 via mobile

This was the ultimate in sushi cuisine. Ordered the "Trust Me" ... Portions brought out as prepared by chief, never felt rushed and fish was beyound fresh . Wait staff was excellent

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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