Less than a month old, Ichijiku Neighborhood Sushi Bar’s order queue was jumpin’ by the time I called. Happy locals filed in (distanced, naturally) to retrieve their sushi orders to-go. Resembling a house in Amsterdam, the sushi counter space was narrow but deep. The staff were kind and very friendly during my pick-up.
No outside dining service is currently available, but as my cashier kindly pointed out, there is a lovely patio with sunshades out back (it shares the deck with Civil Coffee next door). Yes, truly this was a neighborhood sushi-ya in the best sense - Comfortable, casual and just a tad less than traditional. But how was the food?
I was eager to find out. I recall reading that one of the shokunin hails from Yu/Mi Sushi in Beverly Hills. Once home, I noticed the careful packing of each pristine piece of nigiri. It was looking good. For now, there is no omakase menu at Ichijiku, so instead I ordered each piece as if creating my own omakase. It worked out great.
Salmon: Fantastic! The rice was just a tiny touch dry (but this I felt was more an artifact from the commute rather than an oversight by the itamae), but this shari was really tasty and balanced in its use of vinegar. The salmon was soft and rich.
Hotate: Another winner. Spot on neta so far.
Albacore: Lovely. I liked the smidgeon of uni they placed on top.
Branzino (actually this looked and tasted more like tai): Great bite.
Trio of tuna (o-toro, chu-toro, akami): This was surprisingly good for the relatively low price point. Really super!
Seared wagyu: Just awesome. This was pricier than the other neta, but well worth it. Sansho peppers (garnished on top) worked wonders to open up the flavors.
Roasted red peppers: A tad spicy, and complex. A terrific veggie option.
Unagi: Fluffy and deep nitsume.
Tamago: Generous and good.
Ikura gunkan: A bit flaccid (also from the car ride, I believe).
Negitoro hosomaki: Wow! Packed with deliciousness. I could have eaten a LOT more of this.
Ichijiku Neighborhood Sushi Bar is a humble yet capable newcomer to the sushi arena. There seems to be already a loyal local following. It should do very well, if it keeps up this level of offerings at this price point. My self-curated omakase was delicious. Highland Park is a lucky neighborhood to have a sushi-ya of this caliber there.
Ichijiku Neighborhood Sushi Bar
5629 ½ N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90042