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If you ask sushi chef/owner Shinji Murata whether the snapper is Japanese tai, his eyes will narrow, he will look quickly down at his hamper of rice, and he will mutter that the Japanese fish is farmed and he serves only wild. If you look at the plump, snow-white pillow of albacore, you may note that it is raw instead of seared tataki-style to firm its flesh like almost everywhere else in town. You will notice that the rice is not just warm, but hot, and that the soft fish melts into it in your mouth, enveloping the sweet grains almost like a sauce. Nothing at Hiko's sushi bar prepares you for a transcendent experience - the precut fish, the limited selection, the cheap plastic plates, the dining room that, while handsomely decorated with abstract paintings, is as basic as you'd expect a mini-mall restaurant to be - but the aesthetic of soft fish and hot rice is absolute, and nearly every piece is what it is intended to be. See full review.
A few weeks ago, Dahlia Lithwick wrote a piece for Slate in which she set forth The Muppet Theory of Humanity: We all can essentially be described as a Kermit or a Miss Piggy, a Bert or an Ernie, or, ... More »
Does L.A. boast the best sushi in the entire country? If even Ferran Adrià is on our side, we can probably feel confident it's true. The factors that allow our city to be blessed with such a ridiculous bounty are fairly apparent: proximity to... More »
“Have you been here before?” the waiter at Hiko Sushi asked as I hovered near the back door. “Because if you haven’t, I need to explain some rules.”He furtively glanced over his shoulder.“First — are you dining alone? Because you can’t sit down... More »
There are famously two schools of Los Angeles sushi at the moment, one of them, like Matsuhisa, looking to the global future of sushi; the other toward the past. Some of the traditionalists, led by Kazunori Nozawa, of Sushi Nozawa, take their fishy fundamentalism to an extreme, bouncing customers who dare to ask for a caterpillar or a spicy tuna roll, serving fish only in the order that they, not the customers, prefer, and instituting a system of rules that regulars understand but new customers tend to crash into without quite knowing why. Shinji Murata, the maestro at Hiko, has very much in common with his colleagues from Nozawa, Echigo, Zo and Sasabune. He enjoys working the soft-textured fish, and his sushi is built around warm, loosely packed rice — if you try to eke two bites out of a serving, it will collapse. His list of rules is perhaps longer than the others, including injunctions against talking on cell phones, inquiring as to freshness, eating too much or too little, requesting a particular kind of sushi, eating the fish off the top of a piece of sushi, or being seated before your entire party has arrived. (He actually seems to resent being addressed at all, but that could be shyness.) The prices are high, the fish is largely precut, and the plates are worn and plastic. No matter how much you wish to skip the cereal-bowlful of marinated tuna that always begins a meal, it will not be allowed. But Murata is a gifted chef, and his sushi melts away on your tongue like good chocolate, leaving behind just the clean smack of fish and rice vinegar. He flirts with extreme acidity, but the flavors seem to balance themselves as you chew. The sake list is short but well-priced, and includes a few bottles hard to find elsewhere in town. And you will see at least one person kicked out of the restaurant during your meal, guaranteed. Think of it as dinner theater.—Jonathan Gold
If you are in the mood for "clean" sushi - meaning melt in your mouth pieces of fish on perfectly cooked sushi rice - then this is the place. Their innocuous strip mall location is only open for lunch (sigh) but maybe that's how they ensure that the fish they serve is so fresh (from the morning's market straight to your lunch table). They don't take reservations and won't seat you until your whole party gets there, nor do they let you use cell phones, so be prepared to surrender to your meal and your dining company. No fancy cut rolls here - actually, only a few hand rolls are on the menu at all - and no sashimi (rumor has it if you eat the fish and leave the rice, the chef will ask you to leave) - but if you're a true sushi fan, this place is divine. Don't miss the baby tuna!
There are famously two schools of Los Angeles sushi at the moment, one of them, like Matsuhisa, looking to the global future of sushi; the other toward the past. Some of the traditionalists, led by Kazunori Nozawa, of Sushi Nozawa, take their fishy fundamentalism to an extreme, bouncing customers who dare to ask for a caterpillar or a spicy tuna roll, serving fish only in the order that they, not the customers, prefer, and instituting a system of rules that regulars understand but new... More »
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