Recently, One More Bite Blog revealed director David Gelb’s preference for Nozawa.

Last March 26, Sushi Nozawa opened its star-studded space on a Saturday night for the first time in 10 years. The purpose was to donate its entire proceeds from 5pm-10pm to the Japan Relief Fund. Apparently the charity event was a huge success on the donation front. All one needs to know about the food served during this evening are shown below:

Absolutely sloppy, with soy soaked rice. But it was all for charity. The amount of food served for $40 prix-fixe was rather generous (10 pieces of 5 variety, 2 rolls, appetizer of tuna tartare). Would I rather be here than at SugarFISH? Most probably. Did I feel like a cow being hearded towards the slaughtering trough ala Sushi Gen? Yuppers. Whose fault? This guy. Don’t be stupid enough to celebrate a birthday for charity, especially when high cost food material is involved. That said, we’re glad we tipped directly into Japan America Society’s Tsunami Fund jar.

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A few months ago, report of Ichi Sushi in South Pasadena surfaced. The dearth of tolerable omakase in SGV is rather appalling, so a trip up the always dreadful Fair Oaks was made, and the results were rather joyous.

Omakase by Ichiro-san:
Tai, sea bream snapper (yuzu, sea salt)
Marinaded ikura in soy
Kohada — shiso, grated ginger, sliced super thin
Herring roe — marinaded in dashi, sandwiching kelp, topped w/ shaved bonito
Peeled albacore — soy, radish
Pompano — soy, radish + 2 way, fried bones + head
Mirin miso cod
Halibut carpaccio
Octopus carpaccio

Some photos (hover for course description):

This meal ran a bit more at about $60/pp + t/t, but… really, can you compare the craftsmanship between the two dinners? Is there any spirit of “shokunin” in what transpires at Nozawa these days? Is Nicole Ritchie’s favorite sushi found in Studio City?

After watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, can anyone actually go back to Nozawa or its offspring, SugarFISH? Some chefs chase higher taste and skill set like Lexus chases the “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection”. One can perhaps find that in South Pasadena, at Ichiro-san’s rather spartan store front… Go to Nozawa after watching Jiro and you’ll likely come away pretty pissed off.

Sushi Ichi
633 S Arroyo Pkwy Ste 1
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 395-9977
Sushi Ichi on Urbanspoon

Also, 2 bits on “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” — Everyone has mentioned the sushi wet dream within the movie. Mentions of Yoshikazu’s struggle against the Goliathan shadow were made. But one point, perhaps because this is America, and Western perceptions of Eastern culture are always different, seems glossed over: Ono Sr. grew up dirt poor, and without a father. This gent busted his ass for 75 years to achieve his status in society. His sons, both college uneducated, are the same: childhood consisted of penuriousness. Sad bastards couldn’t afford a can of Coke. Can David Gelb & Magnolia Pictures take that message to inner cities, where the American “poor” are guzzling soda pop by the gallons? How about them fat little kids drink water instead? I hear that’s still nearly free in America.

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