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“Get ready for a food party!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa

SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
Ranked #65 of 9,848 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $34
Cuisines: Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Downtown
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Get ready for a food party!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2013

You won't see sushi chefs behind the counter, there are no reservations, no dessert, the ambiance is no nonsense just like the awesome sushi. We selected the DineLA menu for $35 per person (special during this time of year) that mirrors the Trust Me menu for $40. Checked in on FourSquare and Amex had a $5 discount. The iced green tea is great.The first tuna sashimi dish will knock your socks off. The yellowfin tuna was awesome and I loved the halibut. I couldn't finish the last blue crab roll but it was so hard to let it go. Lots of plates, lots of food fun. The rice is warm and flavored and not overdone. Everything seems precise. Service is fast and friendly. Dessert and lattes at Bottega Louie's nearby and you've got yourself a night of food fun.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank LawyerLady438
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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302 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    193
    70
    25
    9
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great sushi ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

This is a must visit if you love sushi and are downtown LA. I travel a lot and if I have the chance I try to find a good sushi restaurang at each country I visit. This one is special, they have managed to get a unique taste which is great. I would say this is one of the best sushi I have had.
For a sushi restaurang I would say it is a bit expensive but well worth it. Great staff as well.

Helpful?
Thank Lasrod
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Tampa Bay, Florida
Level Contributor
292 reviews
194 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“Wowzawa!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank texigator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Granite Bay, California
Level Contributor
70 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Not For Large Groups And Disappointed............”
3 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank KamikawaSan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
clovelly
Level Contributor
84 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Best sushi in LA”
5 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank clovellyjel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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