[Apologies for the not-so-brief hiatus. Just been busy with life. Still need to eat, so I have a backlog of material to post. I figure I’d restart with my favorite subject, sushi!]
Some of the best sushi-ya in L.A. are on the Westside. Kiriko, Mori, and Shunji are a stone’s throw from each other and all within 5 miles from where I live. Because of this, I rarely venture elsewhere for sushi. Of course, I have a wishlist of sushi/kaiseki places to try, both on the Westside (n/naka, Urasawa, Yamakase, etc.) and elsewhere (Asanebo, Kimagure Ike, Q, Zo, etc.), and I was fortunate enough to cross one of the top ones on my list off a little while ago.
Go’s Mart started off as an actual Japanese market, not as a restaurant, according to a regular who we were sitting next to at the bar. Opened and ran by Go-san’s brother Go-san, Go-san took over Go’s Mart from his brother Go-san (confused yet?) in 2007 and converted it into a restaurant, though he (in)famously continued to operate the VHS tape rentals that I presumed existed before his takeover. Nowadays, the tapes have gone, and Go’s Mart is strictly a sushi-ya.
I was meeting up with a friend from the Bay Area for lunch, and as usual I was running late. Didn’t help that I got lost. Fortunately, I arrived as they opened and my friend had already secured us seats all the way at the back of the small sushi bar. We ordered omakase, but rather than being served individual pieces, Go-san served us what I called “flights” (to borrow from wine terminology) of fish, which were grouped thematically.
The first flight consisted of four shiromi, white-fleshed fish: shimaaji (striped jack), kinmedai (golden eye sea bream), karei engawa (flounder fin), kanpachi (amberjack). The fish were all served with yuzukosho (a peppery, citrus-y chili paste), as well as yuzu zest and delicate strips of black truffle. The bold and complex mixture of flavors were quite different than what I’ve become accustomed to with sushi and worked better than I expected.
Next was the flight of maguro: kamatoro aburi (torched fatty tuna collar), kawagishi toro (scraped fatty tuna), akami (lean tuna). This was a most decadent and delicious trio. The kamatoro was topped with gold flakes, and the preparation rendered some of the fattiness instead into crispy edges. The kawagishi was almost tartare-like, and topped with caviar. The akami was the most traditional, with some scallion and a slice of fried garlic.
Ebiko (shrimp roe) served as our intermezzo. Soaked in ponzu, with a hint of sake, if I recall correctly, it was a refreshingly briny treat. It was rather difficult to eat with chopsticks, so I just downed it like a shot.
My favorite seafood tend to be invertebrates, so I was very much looking forward to this plate of non-fish sushi, or hokanomono: uni (sea urchin), amaebi aburi (torched sweet shrimp), zuwaigani (snow crab), hotate (scallop). The truffle oil, which topped each piece, rather than overpowered, really accentuated the sweetness of the each neta, which were exemplary.