Zo (Los Angeles, CA)
334 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 3/7/14
I’ve only visited Cheviot Hills’ Sushi Zo a couple of times, but both times I’ve concluded that it was a top-tier sushi place in Los Angeles. So, I was very excited to hear chef Keizo Seki was opening up a downtown location in the Medallion Apartments at 4th & Main. While downtown (particularly Little Tokyo) has a few good sushi spots, I wouldn’t say there is anything really special. There are, of course, some good deals (Sushi Gen) but no destination sushiyas where I feel it’s worthwhile for someone to drive in from outside of greater downtown. Zo is really the first high caliber omakase-only, sushi-dedicated restaurant to open in downtown LA (Q Sushi opened up nearby shortly thereafter and is also cut from the same cloth).
While Zo opened in September, my first visit was just earlier this month – way overdue. The omakase menu runs in the mid-$100 range for around 25-30 courses (it varies depending on what is available).
Kumamoto Oyster ponzu
Crisp and refreshing, loved the ponzo condiment with the rich oyster.
Bigeye Tuna Sashimi
A simple preparation of tender tuna complemented with soy and wasabi.
Baby Abalone yuzukosho
Sourced from Morro Bay, the abalone carried with it a sweet salinity and a delicate chew. The yuzukosho provided a spicy citrus accompaniment.
Squid with Uni and Truffle
The ingredients sounded great and this dish didn’t disappoint. Squid ‘noodles’ were smothered in an uni sauce with a sprinkling of truffle salt. Quite nice.
Slightly chewy, these small squid were accompanied by a savory miso sauce.
With the completion of the small plates, we moved on to sushi courses.
Amberjack yuzu kosho
Giant Clam salt & lemon
Golden Eye Snapper
Black Sea Bream truffle salt
Black Cod miso vinegar
White King Salmon
San Diego and Hokkaido Uni and Salmon Roe
Red Sea Bream
San Diego and Hokkaido Uni additional order
Blue Crab Hand Roll
The meal at Zo was very good, though didn’t quite live up to my high expectations. My last visit to the original Sushi Zo was a long time ago (three and a half years), but I didn’t think this meal was as great as my memory of that one. The fish quality and variety were excellent and the overall construction was very good, but there were a number of pieces of sushi that underwhelmed. The chutoro was sweet, but rather lean and missing the luscious mouthfeel of other medium fatty tuna I’ve had. A number of the pieces were topped with truffle salt; I felt that the truffle overwhelmed the flavor in each of these instances. Having said that, Zo still presented the best sushi I’ve had downtown; however it was, by far, the most expensive (not exactly a value play). I will definitely have to give Q Sushi a visit before deciding to return to Zo.