photo credit: Holly Liss
Great sushi is expensive—very expensive. To the point where you’re wondering if that gold-flaked monkfish you just ate is supposed to give you a special power, or if you simply spent $35 on one bite of food. This leads most people to one thing: bargain hunting. And subsequent disappointment.
Except if you went to Sushi Gen, where the specials are what make it special.
Located in a strip mall on the border of Little Tokyo and the Arts District, Sushi Gen is hardly a hidden gem. Those glass doors open each day at 11:30am, and if you have any desire to be seated quickly, you better get there long before that. Lines form up to an hour in advance, and by noon you might not even get in for lunch. But once you do, the first thing you notice is how big it is, and that the crowds give it a festive vibe closer to an izakaya than a neighborhood sushi bar.
But those lines aren’t here for the surprising atmosphere. They’re here for the sushi. In particular - the sashimi special. For $17 ($23 at dinner), you get generous cuts of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, toro, squid, three varieties of chopped fish, a broiled fish, miso soup, cucumber salad, and soft tofu. It’s so insanely popular (and delicious), you can’t even order it at the bar - only in a specially-designated dining room.
To be clear, if you walk into Sushi Gen, head to the bar, and whisk yourself off on an omakase voyage, you also won’t regret it. That meal might set you a back $100, but it’s worth it. The guys behind the counter know exactly what they’re doing, and the quality of fish here rivals any in Los Angeles.
But the fact that Sushi Gen can tighten down an omakase experience so perfectly into an affordable platter of sashimi is what’s remarkable about this place. Whether you’re going big or small or somewhere in between, it’s going to be special.
If there’s a better, more affordable plate of high quality sushi in LA we don’t know it. For $17, you get an army’s worth of top-quality sashimi, with soup, salad, and tofu to boot. The designated dining room that you can eat it in fills up quick, so get there early or plan to bring some reading materials.
There are a lot of phenomenal omakase experiences in LA and Sushi Gen is one of them. It doesn’t stray too far into the extremely exotic - expect incredible cuts of tuna belly, red snapper, mackerel, shrimp, salmon, albacore, and the like. Don’t like something? Tell them. The chefs behind the counter will work diligently to make sure you get the exact premiere sushi you came looking for.