Sushi Zo – 9/10/10

Sushi Zo
9824 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034

My mother prefers not to eat raw fish. This, combined with the fact that San Francisco’s sushi scene pales in comparison to LA’s (there’s no doubt), means my dad doesn’t get good sushi too often. So my dad and I planned a sushi weekend, and he came down to visit and eat!  We decided to start off with Sushi Zo (Friday), followed by Urasawa (Saturday) and ending with Asanebo (Sunday).

exterior 224x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

I first tried Sushi Zo last year and found it to be very good – enough to be the second best sushi restaurant I’ve been to in LA. You’d never expect as much from the outside, as it’s a really unassuming spot located in a strip mall with the likes of Vons and Rite Aid. It’s one of those places where, if you just stumbled in without reading up on anything, you’d probably leave thinking “what’s it doing there?”

The menu is omakase-only and, while not a set price, tends to run in the lower 100s. Don’t bother trying to order any cut rolls (especially a California roll!) because they won’t do it and will hate you for asking. Okay I’m not sure about that second part, but they’re very serious about their sushi, going so far as to post signs informing patrons of what constitutes good sushi etiquette.

We started off with a simple bowl of miso soup.

miso 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Plain and simple, and a good way to start the meal.

Kumamoto Oyster

oyster 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

I enjoy raw oysters, especially in Japanese preparations. This went down easy with its clean, fresh flavor.

Tuna Sashimi

tuna sashimi 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Next were four slices of tuna sashimi served with soy and wasabi. The tuna was marvelously tender, and barely necessitated chewing. The flavors were great as well. These tender pieces of fish would foreshadow what was to come.

Baby Abalone

baby abalone 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Baby abalone was next, sliced and served within its shell with yuzu kosho, a Japanese condiment made of peppers and yuzu. The abalone was rather chewy – a very interesting texture and consistency. However, it had a fairly mild ‘sea’ flavor, and I thought it went really well with a touch of soy and the yuzu kosho.

Squid with Uni

squid and uni 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

This was one of the more memorable dishes from my last visit, and it’s still excellent. The squid acts like noodles, with an al dente texture, and the uni is stirred up like a sauce…creating a pasta-like dish. Pretty unique, and the combination works very well.

What follows is the sushi – I won’t comment on each one individually at the risk of sounding repetitive, but the sushi was really, really good. I’ll say more after the pictures!


halibut 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


albacore 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Spanish Mackerel

spanish mackeral 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


scallop 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


yellowtail 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Medium-Fatty Tuna (Chutoro)

chutoro 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


pompano 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


amberjack 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Orange Clam

orange clam 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Butterfish seared with a mustard-like sauce

butterfish 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Yellow-Striped Jack

striped jack 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Monkfish Liver

monkfish liver 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Sweet Shrimp

sweet shrimp 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Pike Fish

pike fish 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Giant Clam

giant clam 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


sardine 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Golden Eye Snapper

golden eye snapper 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


barramundi 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10


squid 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Red Snapper

red snapper 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Sea Urchin and Salmon Egg

uni and salmon egg 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Halibut Fin

halibut fin 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Sea Eel

sea eel 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Fatty Tuna (Toro) Hand Roll

toro roll 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

Egg Omelette

egg omelette 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

I don’t say this very often, but everything was good. The first few pieces set the tone, being very tender, obviously fresh, with good flavor. That would continue throughout the courses, as all of the pieces of fish displayed clean flavors. The rice was consistently barely warm, and the fish at room temperature, which is perfect – I find temperatures are often overlooked at other restaurants.

I think it’s important to note that the sushi chefs will put whatever necessary on top of the sushi and give you instructions to either dip in soy or not to. I love it when they do this! The accompaniments never overshadowed the fish, but really melded well. However, the sushi pieces are on the small side – the fish slices are rather thin. You could say this gives you a chance to try more pieces. My favorites of the night would have to be the albacore, fatty tuna (always is, if prepared well), orange clam, monkfish liver, sweet shrimp, and halibut fin.

This completed our meal, and I’d have to say I was impressed. This was a step above my last trip here, and really solidified its position among the top sushi spots in the city. I think Sushi Zo provides some pretty good value as well, considering the quality of the fish. I will be back!

Sushi Zo provides no dessert options, so we went across town to Scoops to get some ice cream before they closed.

scoops 500x335 Sushi Zo   9/10/10

I got a scoop of the the hazelnut smoked porter, as well as the Earl Grey. The flavors are brilliant, though I always struggle with the temperature of the ice cream. I would love it to be a few degrees colder, as it begins to melt too quickly. I do think that one tastes the flavors more when it’s less cold, but I lose too much of the mouth-feel I enjoy.


Sushi Zo – 9/10/10 — 5 Comments

  1. darin, everything looks delicious!
    ps: i’ll have to second kevin’s comment. i’m eating chocolate malted crunch ice cream as i type.

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