I’ve been wanting to eat at Q Sushi for a long time now, but I have been waiting for a very special occasion. Dinner at Q Sushi starts at $165 a person and that doesn’t include drinks, tax or the tip. Well, it was my birthday… and you can’t get more special than that, right? Q Sushi offers a refined and intimate opportunity for guests to savor and celebrate uncompromised Tokyo-style sushi here in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s an omakase dining experience by Chef Hiroyuki Naruke. Omakase translates as “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese, and that means Chef Hiro will make you want he wants to make you. You don’t get to order here.
The restaurant space is small (oh, at these prices I think they call it intimate, not small) with only 26 seats. It’s a great room with awesome lighting and a great undulating ceiling. We were seated at the sushi bar, right in front of Chef Hiro. I ordered a glass of wine and my husband ordered a beer. Let me say the server was quite stingy with his wine pour. Um, I’m paying $165 for dinner and $9 for a glass of wine, I expected a little more than a thimble full. Okay, let the feeding frenzy begin. Chef Hiro begins with tsumami (small appetizers) served one at a time. First came fluke, followed by baby squid (from Baja) and then red snapper (from New Zealand). This is probably the freshest fish I have ever eaten. Wow!
Up next was some wild fish from Boston. Sorry I missed the name. I was too busy enjoying my meal. That was followed by Seared Toro. How do I say this nicely? Damn! That was so delicious! It melted in your mouth. Damn again!
At this point, we are told that we no longer need our chop sticks. Chef Hiro believes that sushi should be eaten with your hands… and then came a parade of multiple sashimi and nigiri sushi courses: Giant Clam (not my husband’s favorite), Fatty Halibut and Black Snapper (from New Zealand) all served on rice.
Chef Hiro considers his rice as important as the fish, and it reflects decades of cultivating a precise balance of red vinegar (brewed from aged sake cakes) and sea salt. His food is served Edomae-style, a historical preparation dating to the Edo-period of Japan that was the first to combine raw sashimi-style fish with vinegar-seasoned rice. Chef Hiro watches you eat each piece. He waits for your reaction because he truly wants you to enjoy this meal… and we were. Up next came Premium Mackerel (from Japan) and Wild Blue Fin Tuna (from Boston). Okay, let me stop here and tell you that this Wild Blue Fin Tuna was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. OMG!
It was followed by two pieces of Fatty Blue Fin Tuna. Right now I’m in sushi heaven. I’m not sure my mouth can take anymore. I’m on flavor overload. I need another splash of wine (and the second pour was as small as the first).
I like omakase style dining because it forces you to try things you would never order… like marinated, cured and fermented Herring and Japanese Sardine. These were not my favorite of the night, but they were visually spectacular. I missed a photo here. I was ordering a third drop of wine.
The sushi just keeps coming. We ate Scottish Salmon, Octopus and Salt Water Eel… and then came the Alaskan Salmon Roe.
Chef Hiro employs varied techniques to coax optimal flavor profiles from the fish, including ageing (a process called nekaseru), curing, and adjusting temperatures just before serving. This exacting attention extends to the sauces, salts and garnishes applied to enhance the essence of each particular fish. In every dish, Chef Hiro seeks to harmonize size, appearance, temperature, texture, and taste. With Chef Hiro modulating these subtle variables, you need only put your trust in his hands and savor each bite at its moment of perfection.
Up next was the Sea Urchin from Santa Barbara. Unlike the rest of the world, I am not a Sea Urchin fan. It looks nasty, but again, I’m here to try new things so bring it on. I eat it and now I’m a fan. This Sea Urchin was clean tasting. Thanks Chef Hiro… but you are spoiling me.
The dinner ends with a Baked Egg. The chef explains that this is considered a dessert. We chow it down and they ask if we want anything else. Yes! I ask the chef to make us something we haven’t already tried. He whips up Japanese Grouper. Another hit. We also get another round of the Otoro (fatty tuna) because it was so delicious. Our extra selections add another $40 to our check. Dinner plus three glasses of wine, a beer, the added on sushi, plus tax and tip… our bill is $520. Was it worth it? The food was excellent. The service was stellar. My only complaint was the skimpy wine pours, but I’m over it. Sushi Q was an awesome dining experience. If I was rich I would eat there every night, but I’m not so I will have to wait until the next special occasion.
Q Sushi 521 W. 7th Street (west of Grand Ave) 213.225.6285 qsushi.com