Kazunori is a popular Los Angeles sushi spot located in Westwood. I had the opportunity to visit the busy restaurant over the weekend, where I ordered some of their most popular rolls. The restaurant has a very limited menu, only serving hand rolls and salmon sashimi. The wait is long on Saturday nights because the restaurant is made up of a sushi bar with only about 18 seats. We waited for around 15 minutes, but while we were in line, we had the opportunity to look at the menu and pre-select our rolls. The menu uses a check-off system, meaning that diners mark their order on the menu and hand it to the servers when ready. Service was fast, and the rolls arrived only a few minutes apart after I ordered. I ordered the salmon sashimi, toro hand rolls, a salmon hand roll and yellowtail hand roll.
The first dish I was served was the salmon sashimi – small cubes of high quality salmon with sesame seeds and a soy-infused sauce. This was a perfect dish to start my meal with, as it was light and quite tasty. Each small piece of fish packed a punch of flavor when combined with the sauce, and I would definitely recommend this dish to anyone who wants something savory to accompany their hand rolls.
About three minutes after I got the sashimi, the toro hand rolls arrived. The rolls were served with warm rice and wrapped in crispy seaweed. The chefs stated it is imperative to eat your roll right when you are served so the rice can stay warm and the seaweed stays crispy. The fish was of excellent quality, and the toro was perfectly chewy yet melted in my mouth. Out of all the rolls I tried, I enjoyed the toro the most. The soft toro paired with the rice and seaweed was a perfect combination, and I absolutely loved this roll.
Shortly after came the salmon roll. This roll was also quite good, but I felt it was lacking flavor. The salmon had a pillowy texture similar to the toro, but it tasted less fishy and flavorful. When combined with soy sauce and ginger, however, it had an excellent flavor. I would suggest adding soy sauce and ginger to your rolls to add some extra salty and tangy flavors.
The yellowtail was served differently from the salmon and toro. Inside the roll was fish with chopped scallions, which was not a good combination. The yellowtail was particularly flavorless, and it felt like I wasn’t eating anything because of its lack of taste. This was my least favorite dish of the meal – if you are looking for a flavorful roll, I would instead recommend the bay scallop, which bursted with flavor in every bite.
Another factor that adds to the Kazunori experience is the ubiquity of empty space. The restaurant has no decorations or art and is mostly comprised of a beige sushi bar and stools. This is unique to Kazunori; instead of the focus being on the decorations, the most important aspect of the dining experience there is the attention to detail in the sushi. In order to have the best Kazunori experience, it is important to know the best dishes at the restaurant before ordering.