Taking a mental health day means different things to different people. Perhaps you’re soaking in a Korean spa, or driving up PCH, daydreaming about luxury yachts and strong jawlines. Maybe you’ve chosen to hide in your pitch-black bedroom with the AC turned down to 62 degrees, watching British reality shows. Either way, you’ve taken the day to clear your head, recharge, and treat yourself to whatever makes you happy.
When that time comes for us, you’ll find us at the bar inside Matsumoto. This Beverly Grove sushi spot’s deceptively simple omakase takes thinking out of the equation - rather than pore over a menu, we can switch our brains off and just enjoy incredible fish. It’s our secret retreat whenever our mind and soul need to be refreshed. Consider this an open invite.
LA is no stranger to world-class sushi being served inside nondescript spaces. In fact, it’s pretty much the norm. But even when you go to iconic spots like Sushi Park, Go’s Mart, or Sushi Iki, a certain amount of planning usually precedes that visit. Not at Matsumoto. Unless you’re part of a large group during peak weekend hours (where a last-minute reservation is handy), you can walk into this Beverly Blvd. strip mall spot anytime you want and find a seat. You can get dressed up and make a night of it if you choose, but for us, Matsumoto is best experienced at 1pm on a random afternoon while wearing sweats, flip-flops, and a fresh pair of bedroom eyes, ready to take down one of our favorite omakase in Los Angeles.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Matsumoto has a full menu with everything from hot appetizers to rolls to a la carte nigiri, but your order here is simple - the omakase. It’s not cheap by any means, but in the world of high-end sushi, spending roughly $130 for 18 different pieces of premium fish is a very good value. Plus, getting to watch the chef’s masterclass unfold behind the bar is worth the price of admission alone.
You aren’t going to get served some contemplative appetizer or a showy handroll at the conclusion of your meal - this is simple, fresh fish prepared and executed at a level that makes all that other stuff seem irrelevant. You’ll eat striped amberjack that’s cut so finely it basically melts into the rice, perch seared to perfection with a blow torch, and a Japanese sardine that’ll make you realize you actually love sardines. The omakase changes daily, but know that no matter when you go, you’ll be served the kind of sushi that makes you sit back in your chair, breathe deeply, and feel confident in the knowledge that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. And that certainly includes the work desk you're supposed to be at right now.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
You can order everything from fried sesame tofu to red snapper nigiri at Matsumoto, but if you aren’t coming here for the omakase, you’ve made a mistake. For about $130, you’ll receive 18 different pieces of premium fish that, depending on the day, range from Spanish mackerel to a Japanese sardine to seared nodoguro (perch). It’s definitely pricey, but in the world of high-end sushi, you could spend twice as much for a meal that’s half as memorable. Plain and simple, this is one of the essential omakase experiences in Los Angeles.