Sushi Tsujita

It’s so awesome how Little Osaka, or the area on the Westside I’m used to referring to as “Sawtelle,” has totally exploded into this mecca of delicious Japanese-centric dining destinations.  I’m actually envious and wish I could turn back the clock to be a UCLA student now.  Back in the day, the only thing I really went there for was Hurry Curry.  Volcano House was also a popular hang out for their ultra milky milk teas.  There was Sawtelle Kitchen, which has since closed.  Asahi Ramen, which has been able to stay open all these years to my shock, served a totally mediocre bowl of ramen.  Everything else was either too pricey for the poor college student that I was back then, or just meh.  Now there’s all these new and hot places like Tsujita Ramen, and its new high end sister sushi restaurant Sushi Tsujita.  The place is omakase only with a choice between $120, $150, and $180 menus.  Triple T, Smooth Obturator, Quadruple T, and I went for the mid range option.  Obviously, this place ain’t cheap.  
Agedashi Tofu sesame tofue, bonito, ginger
While usually a huge fan of agedashi tofu, I found their take on this with a heavy hand on sesame to be a bit odd.  I guess I’m a traditionalist here.

Abalone Liver Cake – kinda weird and oddly livery and seafoody at once
Uni Cake – better than the abalone cake, but channeling tamago which I’m not the biggest fan of
Oyster white sauce – Oysters should not be cooked, let alone made dynamite style.

Squid Sashimi mentaiko, kabosu lime cup, caviar – Probably the best of the lot, light, clean, pretty presentation
Gingko Nuts rock salt – No did not like this one
Sardine slow cooked, soy sauce, sake, yellow ginger – I love almost everything Japanese marinated in the classic flavors of soy, sake, sugar, ginger.  Yet, a sardine is still, and will always be, a damn fishy tasting fish.  I’m not sure if this is a taste I will ever acquire.

Steamed Abalone mizuna mustard, yuba, marinated in bonito broth

I like the firm, yet supple texture of a good abalone.  The flavors here were clean and mild.

Kenchinjiru chicken, japanese parsley, matsutake mushrooms, onions, carrots
More clean, light flavors.  I really dislike Japanese parsley, but not more than I dislike shiso.

Bluefin Tuna medium toro (boston) – good solid tuna, not particularly fatty tasting
Uni (santa barbara) – Santa Barbara uni can do no wrong in my opinion
Kohada gizzard shad, cured in red vinegar and gin (japan) – This was the first of many unusual fishes that I’ve never tasted before.  I can’t say that I liked this fishy tasting silverfish.  The cured flavors could not hide anything.
Hata grouper – A nice clean whitefish
Kitihata grouper – I can’t say this tasted much different

Hokkaido Scallop torched, truffle, rock salt
I LOVE scallop.  I LOVE truffle.  I LOVED torched sushis.  Damn this was one good sushi.

Baby Sea Bream shimeji mushrooms, tofu

I do like these very simple Japanese soups, broths, stews.  Everything you see, is everything you taste.

grated daikon radish, green onions, yuzu, ponzu
I dumped these all together and used it to dip the items from above.  It added a little more flavor and depth.

Goldeneye Snapper soy sauce
I like it when sushi restaurants sauce the sushi for you.

Toro (boston)
More toro.  I think I’ve had better.

Buri wild yellowtail (japan)
I’ve never had yellowtail that was so deeply pinky-red.  It didn’t taste like any yellowtail I’ve ever eaten.  Smooth Obturator was quite impressed with this, but I was still confused why it was called yellowtail but didn’t look or taste anything like yellowtail.

Hata grouper, himalayan rock salt, yuzukosho
It’s amazing how a little smidgen of yuzukosho adds so much dimension to an otherwise simple white fish.  Why were they repeating fishes?!

Ikura-Uni Don
I am certainly starting to appreciate ikura, but man were these the firmest salmon roe I have ever eaten.  Usually these little balls easily burst in your mouth, showering your taste buds with a saline packed punch.  These would easily roll around in your mouth as you chase them with tongue and teeth to release their contents.

Beak Clam
Smooth Obturator was again impressed that they had beak clam.  It had a squid like texture.  It was a bit chewy for me, but Smooth Obturator loved it.

Japanese Mackerel (japan)
Oh no, not my kinda mackerel.  Triple T was not a fan either.  Phew, that oily fishiness.

Amaebi sweet shrimp
Yum!  Really delicate and sweet.

Hirame halibut
Halibut is such a clean tasting fish.  Sorta makes it pretty forgettable.

Sea Bream
I was soo stuffed by this point.  I don’t think I really appreciated the sea bream here.

Shrimp Head miso soup
I didn’t get to try this.

Shrimp Head fried

More cakey than eggy, but I still couldn’t eat the whole thing.  Soooo full.

Fruit Compote honeydew melon, black bean
I did not care for this at all.

Considering how much I paid, I would say I was disappointed.  At this price point, I expect more wow from a sushi place.  Their hot dishes were good in their simplicity, but does not justify the price tag.  The cold non sushi offerings were frankly not good.  Though, maybe what you’re paying for here is a unique sushi experience.  I don’t think I’ve eaten at a sushi restaurant and said so many times, “I’ve never eaten or heard of this fish before.”  Smooth Obturator definitely appreciated Sushi Tsujita for their unique offerings.  It seemed like they imported many of their fishes (possibly rare like beak clam?) from Japan, which might explain the hefty price tag.  In any case, I’d just stick to Tsujita Ramen and my favorite Ohshima in Orange.  Sushi Zo is still on my radar!

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