I spend a good deal of time in New York, and one thing that the locals there don't realize is that they live in a barren desert when it comes to sushi. I've tried a number of the top-rated places in the Big Apple and I've always come away disappointed.
The East Valley alone boasts more great sushi than all of the five boroughs combined. I'll start off with (what else?) the incomparable Sushi Nozawa, located in a strip mall at the corner of Eureka and Ventura. 5 days a week, Master Nozawa serves up eye-popping nigiri and unbelievable crab hand rolls. Food critics and Chowhound forum folks like to complain about the chef's demeanor, but we don't see what all the fuss is about. After many trips, LAist has only seen one person ever get thrown out of the restuarant, and she totally deserved it. This joint is worth the wait line, and it's worth the prices (a full meal will set you back $35-40). The baby tuna sashimi appetizer will literally send a chill up your spine. TRUST ME!
After Nozawa, you've got Katsu-ya, which is also in Studio City. Katsu-ya has great sushi and terrific prepared dishes - it recently overtook Nozawa for sole possession of the #1 overall Zagat ranking in the city. Still, we think the survey has it wrong - this is a wonderful restaurant, but it doesn't live up to the religious experience of a trip to Nozawa.
A few more to mention - Ahi Sushi (near Coldwater Canyon) is a relative newcomer, and it's definitely worth your time. While the sushi doesn't quite live up to the luminaries mentioned above, it's very good, and the chef has a flair for entrees featuring various crustaceans and uni sauce. He also serves a Nozawa-esque crab roll that's the size of a Sno-Cone. Outside the Valley, check out Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo. This place is a favorite of city hall staffers and for good reason. It features a soothingly traditional setting and some of the best fish on the east side. And Sushi Roku, with locations in Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Pasadena, is expensive but it's always a satisfying bet.
Any other favorites? Post a comment.