Hiko Sushi

Went last night. Had heard how proper/old school the guy is, and how he can make the “sushi nazi” of old, Nozawa, seem positively playful, so I wanted to see for myself. He did not disappoint.

It is very Nozawa/Sugarfish style - warm rice, saucing by chef, creamy wasabi. Two of us ordered omakase. No pictures - chef would freak. He hits you with your next plate the micro-second you finish the first. Not relaxing at all.

Chef quickly (after about 4 rounds, 2 pieces per round) got mad at my partner for only eating half her rice and said (well, actually, he doesn’t really say anything, but grunts to the waitress and they express his hostility) that she could not continue with the omakase, unless she ate all her rice, but I could continue. The waitress said he would be willing to make the pieces with less rice. She was full anyway. And was nice enough to let me continue while she sipped sake. I went quite a few more rounds by myself.

The fish and rice were outstanding. All the standards, plus an excellent bonito. Uni and ikura werecas good as I’ve had at most very good LA places.

Only real dissappointment was that the nori was not at all good, mushy - not toasty/crisp. He charged us $160, not sure if we both got charged for a full omakase (which I have read is about 80 bucks there) or if she got charged for 1/2 and me for 1 1/2.

I might go back - the fish and rice are superb - with someone who eats the same amount as me or alone. But I think I can have a more enjoyable experience at many other places.

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you mean she just left balls of uneaten rice on her plate? I’m not sure any sushi chef wouldn’t be upset about that.

What makes great nori I wonder? is is buying the right product or toasting properly. I’m thinking about hand rolls in particular it seems to make the biggest difference.

Went a couple years ago, school of warm rice ala Nozawa, Sasabune.

Not good enough to put up with all the rules. Think there are better options for the quality and price

I think there are 2 parts:

  1. I visited a nori factory - Yamamotoyama in SoCal. There are numerous grades of nori - 7 grades IIRC. The middle grades go to sushi bars, low grades go to supermarkets, and highest grades goes to select sushi bar customers.

  2. There appears to be some prepwork to the nori as well. If you watch “jiro dreams of sushi”, homie spends a good amount of time brushing the nori over what seems like a bincho setup - I imagine this dries and crisps the nori even further.

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Folks can say what they want about fish quality at Sugarfish/Kazu (fucking )nori but the nori is always very, very tasty and crispy.

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Love the nori at Nagao (random I know) cant figure out how he gets it so much better than most. he does wrap his hand rolls a bit on the looser side maybe that helps keep it crisp.

1/2 balls eaten, 1/2 left for a few rounds

Yes, you are 100% right, it is considered rude (to many itamae, though not all care to make a fuss about it) and we know many very good ones, including Hiko, who will violate their purity principles and make nigiri with less/small rice.

Let me be clear, neither of us felt he was totally out of line at all - his house, his rules, we knew that would be part of the deal.
---- I did not report this earlier but, perhaps, he was a bit “beyond the pale,” in insisting that she finish all the rice - which was not a whole lot - that she had not yet eaten from previous courses before he would begin to make nigiri with less rice for her. That seems a little “school-boy-get-even nasty” (to me). But at that point she had eaten enough and wasn’t forced to eat rice just to appease him. And one can argue we were the offending parties to begin with.

Wait he refused to make her more sushi until she ate the lingering plain rice balls? That would be enough for me to request a check and get up and out of there.

I agree requesting less rice early on to avoid the situation entirely would have been the way to go, but his response seems more egregious than the actual offense.

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apparently they source some super duper stuff per Sugarfish peeps.

This is a strain of dining that I have no understanding of and no patience for. Why someone would be willing to pay three figures to be tense, rushed and on guard throughout a meal - and entertain the high probability of being scolded by the chef - makes absolutely no sense to me.

While taste, appearance and texture are important, I consider an environment free of hostility to be as important.

Honestly, fuck this guy. (meaning the sushi chef not Bob)

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thanks

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Interesting, I went for the first time tonight and was similarly conflicted. The fish itself was nicely done. Not really a fan of the rice though, thought it was a touch over cooked and the nigiri was among the smallest I’ve ever been served.

Still need to find a decent QPR spot a bit closer to where i’m at in Hawthorne / LAX