Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Let's Go to Echigo!

For a while now, I’ve really been craving some good straight up sushi. While I do enjoy much of the California, American style sushi, with the yummy spicy tuna rolls and all, nothing can compare to the buttery melt in your mouth sweetness of real high quality sushi. My bf had heard of a place that served really good sushi on warm rice. We did some searching on the net and came across Echigo. It got raving reviews and the head sushi chef trained under the sushi chef from Sasabune. I had been putting off satisfying my undeniable sushi craving for so long mainly since I didn’t want to spend the money, but the prices at Echigo seemed reasonable and I had just gotten paid, so Friday night seemed like the perfect time to go.

The place was a little crowded, and we did have to wait about 15 minutes, but I didn’t mind. Good things come to those who wait, right? Like many reviews will tell you, the place is scarcely decorated with white walls and white and black furniture. There are little signs in the front that say things like ‘sushi only, we don’t serve any soup, salad, or other things.’ This place was definitely serious about its sushi. All I could think was 'no soup for you' soup nazi style. The bar is for Omakase only, which I really want to try one of these days. Not wanting to spend that much, my bf and I were seated a small table for two.

They definitely weren’t kidding about only serving sushi. The only things on the menu were nigiri sushi, hand rolls (no cut maki) and drinks. I love sake, so we put in an order for a hot sake while we debated over the list of fish on the sushi menu. One thing I love about Echigo is that the pieces come out one by one. I am a slow eater and I truly believe in savoring each bite of food, so this style of serving really allowed for that kind of dining experience. It also insures that the warm rice stayed warm but didn’t cook the fish.

The first piece that came out was the salmon, which is one of my standard favorites. It was served with a little sliver of kelp on top. Both my bf and I were blown away by the flavor. I loved the slightly warm rice. It is a little different, but in a good way. The vinegary rice balanced perfectly with the sweet and buttery salmon. Next we got one piece of swordfish and another piece of a different type of fish of which I now forget the name. Both were served in their own sauce and we instructed to not use the soy sauce. Both pieces were exceptionally good. I don’t think I have ever had swordfish sushi but I would definitely get it again. This was served just slightly seared giving it a delicious flavor and texture. The next was the unagi, which has always been my favorite. After so many orders of truly mediocre pieces at other sushi bars around LA, I forgot how delicious good unagi can be. The meat just seemed to dissolve in my mouth with sweet rich goodness. Oh it was like taking a little bite of sushi heaven. For our final piece, we tried the blue crab hand roll. This seemed to be something that everyone was raving about and for good reason. The toasted nori was a perfect texture and had an amazing toasty nutty flavor. The rice was warm and vinegary and the lump of crab was oh so sweet. All three of those flavors and textures combined created such a super yummy tasting experience. The roll was fairly large and we were quite satisfied after.

Granted we didn’t get much, but the bill was actually under $30 for the two of us including the sake. I wish I had some pictures, but at least that gives me an excuse to go back (not that I need one!) and I will have to do another post with pictures included.

The Good: Amazing sushi, good price, nice casual atmosphere

The Bad: Nothing!

The Yummy: While I bet everything on the menu is delicious so try some things out side of your normal repertoire of sushi, but the salmon, unagi, and blue crab handrolls are all must tries!

Sushi Echigo in West LA
12217 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90025


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