9240 Culver Blvd
Eat don't Drink: The highest quality sushi and sashimi await you in this longtime favorite, yet often overlooked Culver City gem of a restaurant.
There are two things I love about this "job" - 1) free reign to sample one of the many many new restaurants that pop up weekly and 2) taking the chance to point out an old favorite in the hopes of bringing in some new fans. Last Friday night I revisited an dear old friend - K-Zo in Culver City. Tucked away in a nook between the Trader Joe's and a city parking structure, K-Zo isn't one of the first, or third, or fifth place you think about when you discuss the hot dining scene in Downtown Culver City, but it should be. Step inside, be seated by one of the very friendly and efficient waiters (or better - sit at the sushi bar and watch the magic created by the French trained Japanese chef) and be ready for a treat.
There is an extensive a la carte menu of sushi, sashimi, and small plates to meet all tastes with plenty of vegetarian and carnivorous options. My dining companion and I stuck to sushi on this most recent visit. I opted for the smaller of two tasting menus (aka Chef's choice) and my friend went for a selection of sushi from the daily menu.
My tasting menu courses were well laid out and evenly paced. Sitting at the counter gives the cooking staff the opportunity to monitor your progress and ensure food comes out at the right time. My "appetizer" tray included two of the freshest scallops with a light chimichurri sauce and some of the tastiest kelp I'd ever eaten. My salad was amply portioned with two perfectly seared slices of tuna on top.
My main course was a sumptuous piece of sea bass, perfectly roasted over bok choy and mashed taro. Not usually a fan of taro, this was perfectly cooked (and un-pictured: perfectly purple)! My final course before desert was 3 heavenly pieces of the highest quality sushi and a blue crab hand roll that was oozing with blue crab. All told, quite a value for the fixed price of $58! Trust me!
As I mentioned my friend opted to order off the sushi and specials menu - where dozens of options awaited him. The highlights I was able to put my chopstick on were the amberjack with a kumquat sauce and perfectly seared tuna.
And for the encore, the sweetest of sweet shrimp. The menu includes a broad selection of Japanese beers, sake, wine and shoju. I didn't partake in a beverage with dinner this go round, but I would normally love to have a nice Japanese beer to go with my sushi goodness!
If you haven't been to K-Zo and you are a sushi fan, you simply must go. Fight your way past the Trader Joe's parking lot, enter through the unassuming side entrance, and be ready for a happy belly!