As I've stated/ranted in this space before, one of the most annoying parts about living in Los Angeles is the barrage of people who just invaded the West Coast from New York City (the-greatest-country-in-the-world) and simply cannot stop letting go of their lifestyle there. "The bars stay open until 4!" complains the not-yet-admitting-they-have-a-problem alcoholics. "There's more diversity there!" say people yet to leave their Hollywood apartment. "Sushi is so inexpensive I could have it for every meal!" probably says a mercurial (literally) Jeremy Piven in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Actually, Piven and company were right in that complaint. For years, buying sushi in L.A. would generally cost consumers more coin than our metropolitan counterparts across the country. But, no more. Last week, Bloomberg.com let it be known that New York now outpaces L.A. and the rest of the country as the most expensive city in the sushi department. The reasoning:
"It's not only for sushi restaurants, because the rent is more expensive than any other area for that space, so they have to cover the expenses," he said by telephone from New York. "Also, the people that live here have to pay more money to the chef, otherwise they cannot live in New York City."
Just another mark to put on the Los Angeles side of the ledger. In honor of that new frugally-friendly designation -- which, to be fair, isn't that cheap when compared to the rest of the country; L.A. still ranks second most expensive overall -- here's a list of some of the best places to get your raw fish fix.
Worth the Coin
Sushi is definitely one of those meals where you don't have to have Jonathan Gold's taste buds to feel the difference that comes with throwing down a bit of extra money. If you're a 1%er, or just want to live like one for a night before spending the next six months bargain-bin shopping, you can't go wrong with Sushi Zo in Palms or Shibucho in the Silver Lake/Echo Park/Westlake-adjacent bit of nebulous space.
Meaty Part of the Curve
Where L.A. is mightiest is in the arena of mid-priced sushi, the always-shifting price point where eaters feel like they're not skimping (a lot of people, for some weird reason, have a mental barrier when it comes to ingesting cheap raw fish -- weird, I know) but are still getting a night of deliciousness. Among the best places in Los Angeles that would be appropriately placed in the $$ or $$$ section of Yelp are downtown's delightful Sugarfish, Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo, and Yabu in West Hollywood, which is responsible for the bit of perfection pictured above.
Cheap, But Good
And then there's these guys. You desperately want rolls of some sort, probably with "rock n' roll" glaze and a whole lot of imitation crab, but only have pocket change to spend. So where do you go to make sure you won't spend the next morning hacking up bits of gross skunkness on your trip to the ER? SushiStop, which has a few locations scattered throughout L.A., will generally get the job done. But if you're in the mood for something a bit more exotic (read: mobile) track down the location of the Fishlips sushi truck and give them a whirl.
What's your sushi standby?