I have been on a quest to find my sushi restaurant in Los Angeles since the 1980's (yes, I am old enough to say that). I've found several good ones that have changed (for the worse), closed, or where the chefs have moved back to Japan, so my search goes on as I continue on my quest to find my Holy Grail of Sushi one day, and it will stay open with the chef who created the place, for many years.
My latest find is Kaizuka in Culver City. Everything about the place is very pleasant, from the reception to the shaded outdoor patio. The friendly service and the sculptured water fountains added more nice touches to a good experience.
They promote themselves as a fusion place, but they offer all the standard sushi bar fare from sashimi to sushi, with a few interesting twists on classic Japanese cuisine, like their asparagus beef ($7.50), calamari with creamy basil ($8.50), and yellowtail sashimi garnished with jalepenos, yuzu and olive oil ($15). Since I was here for standard Japanese, I decided to go with some classics, like Spanish Mackarel sushi ($6) to start. The Spanish Mackarel was wonderfully fresh and presented beautifully even though it did not adhere to the rice soaked in ponzu.
And their lunch special of tempura and sashimi ($18), which came with a tasty miso soup, steamed rice, and a green salad with a light dressing on field greens. The box lunch set was superior to what is offered in most other Japanese restaurants, with mixed field greens instead of iceberg, home made ginger, daikon and cucumber for the sashimi, and the tempura was a generous mix of shrimp and vegetables in a crisp batter that could have been lighter but it was still a very good version.
This was not my Holy Grail, but it is a very pleasant place, definitely worthy of another visit, perhaps during a dinner with more people so we can travel around the menu a bit more.