If you love the infamous warm rice of Nozawa but do not want to empty out your wallet, I highly recommend Echigo. I was introduced to Echigo years ago by a friend who swore it was just as good as Nozawa or Sasabune without the high sticker price. And since then, Echigo has been one of my favorite sushi restaurants in the city. Despite my fondness for Echigo and close proximity to the location, I do not frequent this place as much as I would like to. While omakase usually runs from $45 to $50, they serve you around 8-10 pieces of sushi that are generally small in portion size. Every bite is delicious and I never leave feeling stuffed. It is a great place for a light dinner, but Echigo wouldn't be on the top of my list if I was starving and looking for value.
With that said, my most recent visit here was right before I went out to La Descarga for my birthday. I told J that I wanted a light but delicious dinner and naturally, he suggested Echigo.
The staple starter for dinner omakase at Echigo is the snapper sashimi. I love the green onions which give a very mild onion flavor to the snapper and coupled with the ponzu makes a great starter.
The melt-in-your-mouth toro was just that... it literally melts in your mouth. Give your teeth a rest from chewing and just your tongue to mash up the goodness!
The halibut was soft and I really enjoyed the contrast between the cool ponzu sauce and the warm sushi rice. The onions also added great flavor to the mild fish.
Having had scallops in many different forms, scallop sushi has to be my favorite. And this scallop was ah-may-ZING. It was so fresh and absolutely delightful!
I think I've had bonito almost every time I've had omakase here and it is delicious every time.
The kanpachi was your standard sushi and something I usually enjoy. However, J didn't care for this too much. I assume it's because the jalapeno bits and citrus flavors don't mesh well with him.
While J didn't like the kanpachi, he really enjoyed the baby tuna as did I. It was so soft and tender, quite tasty.
Ah... one of my favorites! The butterfish is always one of the highlights for me and something I always look forward to in Echigo's omakase. The miso-based sauce on top does a great job in mellowing out the spicy wasabi under the fish.
blue crab handroll
The mark of the end of our omakase, the blue crab hand roll was as delicious as ever. The ratio between the warm rice and the cool crab was perfect - with more crab meat of course! I can eat this every day, no joke.
sweet shimp eggs
Not feeling very full after our omakase was over, we decided to order a few more items to satisfy our appetites. J ordered another round of baby tuna and his favorite, sweet shrimp. They asked if we would like the eggs with it and my immediate response was YES! When they handed the eggs to J, he immediately moved the plate over to me without even blinking an eye. Oh... how well he knows me... The eggs weren't particularly fishy in taste as one would think, but flavor was quite nice due to the ponzu sauce. The texture of the eggs was crunchy, which I think anyone would prefer over mushy.
I was told that the sweet shrimp was just as good as the other sweet shrimp sushi he's had. The only thing he would note is the small portion size. Who can blame him? We all would want a big serving of sweet shrimp!
orange clam w/ scallop
I really liked that the scallop accompanied the orange clam, although it didn't need to. The contrast in the crunchy texture of the clam and the softness of the scallop was superb.
Save the best for last? Yes. The uni was so creamy and was full of that wonderful sea urchin/ocean flavor. Please don't associate ocean flavor with fishy-ness! It is so far from being "fishy" as it was fresh and on the sweet side.
Despite Echigo's small portions, it will always hold a special place in my heart as I've dined here with old friends and new friends. It holds a lot of good memories for me and for that alone, I'm sure I will always be back to relive them. The chefs and waitstaff are always friendly and the sushi is consistently fresh. In a city with many wonderful sushi restaurants, Echigo holds up well to the competition and continues to be a strong contender.
12217 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste 201
Los Angeles, CA 90025