Sushi purists tend to deride the concept of “all you can eat” (AYCE) when it comes to this Asian dish, and that’s not really surprising. With the focus on food quality, the quality drops precipitously, with the fish almost spoiled when offered. Not that the quantity is all that great either since some of these sushi places can put a time limit. It all becomes a chore and not a sublime pleasure.
In the Los Angeles area, however, you can find AYCE sushi spots that can make you change your mind about gorging yourself. Get yourself to any of these places, and you may experience something worthwhile.
1. Matsu Sushi
Location: 29495 The Old Rd., Castaic
Sushi in Castaic, seriously? Actually, the “all you can eat” concept is quite serious here in Matsu, and you may want to get to it quickly. Try visiting on Tuesdays, when they serve the utterly soft uni that somehow smoothly flows down as you swallow.
The halibut is quite a sight, and it’s properly marbled. Even though you’re eating as much as you can, you ought to try this with tiny bites so you can savor it properly. Try it with the fresh wasabi relish that’s house-made, though you have to be careful as it really burns.
2. Itacho Ramen & Sushi
Location: 7311 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax
One door closes, and another door opens. That’s the way of things, and sometimes that’s a good thing especially with Chung Mu Ro. It stands in the spot where the great Itacho eatery once stood, and now the new place offers all you can eat sushi. In fact, the price of their AYCE is great for ordinary folks, as it can get below $28.
Here you can always enjoy the rolls and nigiri, but you really need to check out the side dishes too. You must try the cevichés, along with the dumplings and fish soups. Here you can also enjoy the seasonal offerings, and your dining experience here can be quite amazing.
3. Hikari Sushi
Location: 690 E. Los Angeles Ave. B, Simi Valley
Have you ever tried Japanese-Mexican fusion yet? It’s another example of LA ingenuity, and you can try it in West Hollywood when you visit Ainoko. It’s not yet that much of a trend in LA proper, but you can always visit the Hikari Sushi house just off the 118 Fwy (not exactly in LA, Southeast corner of Ventura County, California, about 40 miles from DTLA). Its worth the drive.
It’s certainly not a perfect place, and you can always find something wrong here. It’s not really a spot for an impressive dinner date, as it seems better for just informal lunches. Sometimes you try out dishes and you seem to get the tastes of spicy mayo and artificial crab each time.
But this is still a fun place nonetheless, with food that can be as tasty as what you get in any other sushi place. You have to try the Mexican-inspired Spicy Salmon Guacamole Roll and the seared nigiri. You should also get a taste of their Superman Burrito. Once you try these delicacies, you may find yourself coming back often.
4. The Sushi by Jin
Location: 6010 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood
Ask any AYCE enthusiast in LA about their list of go-to places, and it’ll seem like every list will contain The Sushi by Jin in NoHo. That’s not just for sushi places, but for all types of cuisine that offers all you can eat. In this little corner of North Hollywood, the charming sushi house seems to enjoy breaking all the rules of traditional AYCE.
Here you don’t really have time limits. The servers tend to see these time limits as more like suggestions rather than hard and fast rules. There’s no pretentious hype, as its humble abode simply produces delicious treats like the Toro served sashimi style with one order per person.
Sometimes you don’t even have rice when you enjoy the huge order of grain-free all-fish rolls. But if you do want rice, they have it. It’s almost never starchy and it’s always gorgeously tender. Here in TSBJ, the first rule is that you enjoy yourself.
5. Sushi Song
Location: 22896 Copper Hill Dr., Santa Clarita
We’re probably not doing ourselves a favor promoting this place when we ourselves are rather finding it difficult to find a table during the weekends. Blame the Internet, but lots of people are spreading the news about how great this place is. That’s why if you want a table on Friday nights, you better be ready for a long wait.
But then again it’s worth the bother. Chef Kenny of Sushi Song offers his fish with impressive flair, along with rather some ruthless efficiency. Sure, there are about 6 or so restaurants in the Santa Clarita Valley that offer all you can eat, and these places are good. But somehow Sushi Song is just more memorable. That’s especially true when you try their creamy salmon.
6. Midori Sushi
Location: 17047 Ventura Blvd., Encino
If you get out to Ventura you can actually find two locations for Midori Sushi. But the ambiance here at the Encino location is truly striking, with the feel of a museum offering priceless relics for your inspection. For a sushi bar, it offers an esoteric air, as the ceiling showcases woodblock cut-outs while barriers between the chefs and the patrons are made from fake bamboo.
The food does go very well with the feel of the place, as the dishes here are delicately seasoned. You have to try the salmon skin salad with its unexpected tanginess, along with the fish-piled poke bowls. The albacore here is definitely Cajun-style, as it really is spicy.
If you’re really hungry, the all you can eat menu includes full-size ramen bowls that should surely tide you over. Try the McLovin rolls as well, and it’ll complete your experience.
7. Sushi Ippo
Location: 3800 Wilshire Blvd., #110, Koreatown
If you’ve been here before, you wouldn’t be surprised that it’s included on this list. Lots of first-time visitors Sushi Ippo have become frequent visitors, and it’s always been trendy ever since it opened in 2015.
The menu is full of experimental dishes, but even those who have never tried sushi before (or claim not to like it) will be impressed with the offerings here. Try the Green Tea Macaron along with the Yellowtail & Scallion Handroll.
Also, check out these 34 Hottest New Restaurants in Los Angeles You Need To Eat This Summer 2019