As I was driving to my usual haunt in the Westside Pavilion tonight, I noticed an “OPEN” sign hanging on Wadatsumi’s door. Considerably fewer people showed up to the meetup today, so I decided to drag the few attendees to dinner, wanting to see if Wadatsumi would hold up to its previous reputation. Walking in, I consulted with the waitress about their newly re-opened status - she indicated that this location was under new ownership, though they retained their meat sources and the new owner had some unclear relationship with the original owners (now running the Torrance location).
We sat down and examined their (considerably shortened) menu - a bunch of rice bowls, a few “set combos”, and a very short sushi/sashimi selection (big eye/bluefin, yellowtail, salmon, albacore, aji, saba, toro, bonito). The prices are a little surprising - the bowls are mostly $10-13 (standard things like maguro-don, chirashi-don, kaisen-don, some beef bowls - but no Wagyu??), which is cheap but believably so, but the sushi is $3/order (except the Toro, which is $5), and the Sashimi is $6 (again, except the Toro, at $12). I confirm with the waitress that the sushi orders are indeed 2 pieces each and the Sashimi is 4 - “I think!” she laughs. At this point the sushi would have to be literally inedible for me to not eat it at those prices. One of my friends orders nearly a quarter of the menu (not as daunting as it sounds - a beef skirt bowl, some other grilled beef, and both the chirashi- and kaisen-dons). I get the sushi set combination, an order of Aji sushi, and an order of Bonito sashimi.
The beef is unfortunately mediocre. It’s not cooked with any particular skill, and it’s obviously not very high quality meat; if it’s sourced from a high-quality purveyor in Japan I’ll eat my hat. (As I don’t own a hat, I’ll have to buy one first. Double the pain!)
The sushi, thankfully, is better. It largely passes the “acceptable quality fish without any off-notes” test, the technique isn’t great but far better than at Shibuya, and the rice is even a little better than the fish.
The Aji and Bonito were, if anything, even better than the more common fish offerings. The Bonito sashimi came with eight(!) thick, generous slices - it didn’t have the rich depth of flavor I’d normally want, but it was fine. For $6, I felt like I was getting away with something.
In short: the quality seems to have dropped pretty steeply from previously reported levels, but at current prices I’d still go in if I were in the area and order a few plates of sashimi. You could probably put down 16 oz of “slightly better than ok” fish (no rice) for less than $30 all-told.