Kiyokawa (Los Angeles, July/August 2014)

bigeyetuna1We’ve been going to Kiyokawa to celebrate our wedding anniversary for a few years now. It’s true that we already ate an excellent celebratory dinner this year at Piccolo (in Minneapolis) but tradition is not something to be messed with. Therefore after a pretty good but not particularly exciting lunch at Shunji earlier this trip we repaired to Kiyokawa last week for what turned out to be a pretty epic sushi omakase.

There are a number of things that distinguish Kiyokawa from their peers in the upper echelons of the Los Angeles sushi scene. There’s the whimsical approach to platings (seen most clearly in their kaiseki omakase meals); their live sea urchin; being open on Mondays; the ageless Satoshi Kiyokawa’s friendly and relaxed demeanour etc.. The one that I want to note here though is that their menu clearly lists the price of their omakase and what you are going to get for it. This summer the price for the sushi omakase at lunch is $120 and you are told that you will get 18 pieces of nigiri plus a handroll plus two desserts. This is in stark contrast to pretty much every other place where to opt for the “market price” omakase is to not really know how much you will get till the meal is done, or how much you will pay till the check arrives—which is fine for very wealthy people to whom money is no object, but a little intimidating for middle class people making the occasional splurge. So I appreciate it.

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Kiyokawa (Los Angeles, Summer 2013)

We’ve had two excellent meals at Kiyokawa in the past–one the full chef’s omakase lunch, with kaiseki style cooked items along with sashimi and sushi, and the other an exquisite sushi omakase. And so, as good as our regular lunch omakase at Kiriko was, and as much as it suggested that their omakase of comparable cost could give Kiyokawa a run for his money, we chose to return to Kiyokawa for our 10th anniversary lunch (we’re travelling with our young boys and have neither the ability nor energy to go out to dinner). Continue reading