Restaurant: Ginza Onodera [1, 2]
Location: 609 La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (323) 433-4817
Date: December 7, 2021
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: Fabulous nigiri, although expensive, not quite enough food, and minimal/no corkage
It’s been 4 years since I visted Ginza Onodera, and while I thought it was one of the best high end sushi spots I’ve been to, collecting others willing to brace the price tag is always a little challenging. But “Sushi Series” (in which Foodie Club tries all the best sushi places in LA) warranted we revisit.
Post pandemic they have put in the plastic divider. Not clear that this does anything at all, but I guess it makes people feel better.
Cute little chop stick demon.
On pulling out our wine we discovered that Ginza has recently disallowed corkage! Eek gads. Hate that. We managed to beg them into allowing us to open 2 bottles if we bought 1 from the list, so we bought this.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this <em>cuvée</em>, but with no lack of vivacity.
2002 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. VM 96. Taut, vibrant aromas of grapefruit, apple, pear, and powdered and wet stone. A great expression of rocks in the mouth, with extremely pure flavors of grapefruit and lemon. Conveys a powerful impression of sweetness allied to sheer energy. Fabulous, consistent wine with near-perfect balance and extraordinary length. As penetrating as it is today, I would not describe this wine as austere.
2004 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 97+. Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle. (Drink between 2017-2044)
Japanese halibut. Sake sauce.
Octopus. Roasted green tea marinate.
Chawanmushi. Uni. Caviar. Dashi.
Hairy crab with thick dashi.
Awesome pickled ginger.
A few other pickles.
Japanese blue fin tuna.
Ingredients at the ready.
Japanese needle fish. Shiso. And shiso flower.
Baby White shrimp with uni.
wild king yellow tail.
Brined Hokaido uni.
Hok rockfish. Kinki.
Dark roasted green tea.
coconut milk matcha panda cotta.
Overall Ginza Onodera has a very strong distinctive traditional style. The rich is basically oozing with red vinegar and has a strong assertive quality — but it does stay together well. The fish was very aged and marinated and each piece of nigiri crafted so as to balance with the particular qualities of the fish. I can’t fault the taste, texture, or presentation of nearly any of the dishes. They were pretty spectacular. And I love straight nigiri. Individually these are much more enjoyable than the odd combinations at Sushi of Gari for example.
And service was warm, very Japanese, and excellent.
My issues with Onodera are a high price point (about $400 for food) / quantity ratio. The price itself is high, but not outrageous at all given the labor involved (and certainly not offensive like Urwasawa). But are not ENOUGH pieces for my big nigiri appetite. I could easily have eaten 2-3 times as many. They might as well have just served me pairs. I would say that for pure nigiri QUALITY in volume this is the best I’ve had outside of Japan. Still, if you want to experience the exquisite art of perfectly crafted nigiri — Onodera is one of several top sushi places right now in LA.
But we were so hungry we went afterward to Tu Madre Tacos for infamous second dinner (see below).
For more LA dining reviews click here.
The site of our second dinner.
The menu. Erick and I put away all of the following tacos AFTER Ginza. Yep.