Zo (Los Angeles, CA)

Zo
334 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 3/7/14

zo exterior

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).

zo interior

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

Kumamoto Oyster ponzu

Crisp and refreshing, loved the ponzo condiment with the rich oyster.

Bigeye Tuna Sashimi

Bigeye Tuna Sashimi

A simple preparation of tender tuna complemented with soy and wasabi.

Baby Abalone yuzukosho

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

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.

Firefly Squid

Firefly Squid

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.

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Halibut

Halibut

Albacore

Albacore

Yellowtail

Yellowtail

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Scallop

Scallop

Medium-Fatty Tuna

Medium-Fatty Tuna

Amberjack yuzu kosho

Amberjack yuzu kosho

Giant Clam salt & lemon

Giant Clam salt & lemon

Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack Tuna

Golden Eye Snapper

Golden Eye Snapper

Black Sea Bream truffle salt

Black Sea Bream truffle salt

Black Cod miso vinegar

Black Cod miso vinegar

White King Salmon

White King Salmon

Monkfish Liver

Monkfish Liver

San Diego and Hokkaido Uni and Salmon Roe

San Diego and Hokkaido Uni and Salmon Roe

Mackerel sawara

Mackerel sawara

Red Sea Bream

Red Sea Bream

Gizzard Shad

Gizzard Shad

Sea Perch

Sea Perch

Sea Eel

Sea Eel

San Diego and Hokkaido Uni additional order

San Diego and Hokkaido Uni

Blue Crab Hand Roll

Blue Crab Hand Roll

Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Egg

Egg

Yuzu Juice

Yuzu

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.

zo sign


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