We’ll never claim to be experts in the practice of color therapy, but there’s no arguing there’s something to it. After all, there’s a reason staring at a blue expanse of ocean feels so good after a terrible day, or why people board planes simply to see cherry blossoms bloom. It’s also part of the reason why we’ll continue to drive to Canoga Park to eat at Go’s Mart.
By simply walking into this iconic sushi bar’s entirely orange space, you’ll feel revitalized. Maybe it’s the paint on the wall that makes your chakras go haywire (orange is a healing color, after all), maybe it’s the knowledge that you’re about to eat some of the best sushi in Los Angeles, or maybe it’s both. Either way, a meal at Go’s Mart is a full-on therapy session, and the ultimate reward for making the pilgrimage to the far west Valley.
You can get world-class sushi in a lot of bare-bones spaces in LA, but even so, Go’s Mart feels different - it may be the bare-bones-iest space of them all. Outside, the tiny strip mall location is marked only by a giant sign that reads “SUSHI,” and inside, you’ll find hazy fluorescent lighting, sticky white tile flooring, and yes, those curiously stimulating orange walls. If you think you’ve accidentally stumbled into a janitorial closet used by the dance studio next door, you know you’re in the right place. All you have to do now is find a seat at the bar (skip the two tiny standalone tables) and prepare to embark on one of the most utterly perfect sushi experiences in town.
Go’s Mart doesn’t have a physical menu, per se. All that’s provided is a tiny dry-erase board hanging on the back wall that lists that day’s catch. You can certainly come here, call out different nigiri that looks good to you (beware though, they don’t list the prices), and walk away extremely pleased. But at Go’s Mart, the greatness lies in the omakase. Yes, it’s a meal that can easily set you back $200, but if you’re in the market to throw down that kind of cash, this is the kind of premium fish that transcends any dollar sign that’s placed in front of it.
The omakase at Go’s Mart changes daily, so chances are, that perfect piece of bonito your friend hasn’t stopped talking about won’t be there when you go. But something better will be. You can generally expect your meal to be structured as such: A few cold appetizers, a plate of various whitefish (amberjack, sea bass, etc.), a tuna plate, a shellfish plate, and a grilled dish at some point. At around the 15-piece mark, the chef will begin to ask if you’re full, but do your best to lie to his face, because in these next courses, Go’s Mart breaks out the rare stuff. Abalone, akagai (blood clam), seared mongo, and a plate that might also come with a chef-taught crash course in the difference between unagi and anago (fresh and saltwater eel) - if the front half of Go’s Mart’s omakase is filled with ace versions of crowd-pleasing favorites, the back half is a masterclass on the relative unknown. Together, it’s an experience that almost no other sushi bar in LA can match.
So yes, Go’s Mart bright-orange walls will slowly sear their way into your mind over the course of a meal, but don’t let your chakras fool you - it’s the incredible sushi that’s making you so abundantly happy. Did the walls help a little? Ask your color therapist.
Ranging anywhere from $200-$250, this certainly isn’t your once-a-week sushi binge, but it is one of the very best omakase experiences in LA. The fish changes almost daily, so don’t get too attached to any one piece, but you can generally expect about a dozen or more perfectly executed pieces of sushi, a few cold appetizers, and a grilled dish of some sort. Tip: The longer you stay at Go’s Mart, the more rounds of fish you’ll get to try, and the more interesting and exciting it all gets. So plan to stick around, sample premium fish you can’t find anywhere else in town, and walk out fully content, knowing it was more than worth the price of admission.