More of the Best Sushi in LA

I still have one more Michigan State blog entry to post, but I wanted to give it a few days to let people get through the first two entries. The final post will probably go up tomorrow (Monday).In music-related news, I just signed a deal with Brain Music in Japan for exclusive distribution of my music in that territory. My rental requests from Japan have increased steadily for the past year, and that was only from conductors who were confident enough with English to feel comfortable making rental arrangements. Brain Music is the largest wind band music rental agency in Japan, and I’m excited (and relieved) that they’ll be handling this for me from now on. If you’re in Japan, performing my music just got a whole lot easier, so have at it.

Last night, we took our friend (and composer — and my orchestration guru) Wataru to dinner for his (belated) birthday. We took him out for the best sushi in LA (which I’ve mentioned before), Jinpachi.

As soon as I finished the Sax Concerto last week, I bought myself a treat — a new camera body. The new body, the Canon 40D, is capable of shooting at extremely high ISO (3200!) with only minimal noise, meaning (in the simplest terms) that I can shoot stuff in the dark and have it more likely to turn out well. This will be great for concert photography and — that’s right — pictures of food in dimly-lit restaurants. I took the camera (and my other treat, a new lens) to the LA County Fair on Friday (more on that later this week), and how could I leave the 40D at home when there was sushi to photograph? I mean, I had to try shooting food with it eventually…

I kind of goofed on the exposure with this shot, but the color of the tuna is pretty nice.

You ever have sushi that is either too firm — either because it’s too cold or because it just isn’t tender — or, worse, has those nasty stringy things that make it impossible to bite in half? Those things never happen at Jinpachi. We’ve been there a half-dozen times now, and I’ve never had a piece of sushi that wasn’t perfect.

All of the sushi at Jinpachi is incredible and just melts in your mouth. My favorite may be the comparatively inexpensive ($2.50 a piece) albacore. The attention to detail is amazing, with each piece of sushi hand-brushed with soy sauce by the chef, Taka (at least if you sit at the sushi bar), with the most thinly-sliced Japanese scallions on top. The cool, delicate fish on top of the still-warm rice is just about the tastiest food ever.

Wataru loves sea urchin, so we got two pieces for him — and one for me, since I’d never tried it. I figured if I was ever going to like it, I’d like it at this place. It was sweet, and I kind of loved the flavor, but the texture was a little… challenging for me. I love sushi that melts in your mouth, but sea urchin is so soft that it kind of immediately turns to liquid as soon as it hits your tongue. The super-soft urchin with the less-soft rice and still less-soft seaweed was too much for my simple brain to process.

This is the spicy tuna on top of crispy toasted rice with jalapeno and sweet soy sauce. De. Lish. Us.

I tend to gorge at Jinpachi, since it’s my favorite food, and I think my favorite restaurant in LA, and I always think it’ll be ages before I return. (I always think that, but we’re there about once every 3 weeks.) Since I still had the strength to chew, we ordered another of Taka’s special sashimi creations — the halibut carpaccio, served with ginger, shitake mushrooms (I think), chive, yuzu, olive oil, and fresh yuzu juice. We’d never tried this one, and it was incredible, so we’ll definitely get this one again.

Here, Taka trims more sushi.

AEJ is allergic to shellfish, so we never order it, but Jinpachi has it — if you’re feeling adventurous.

Seconds earlier, those prawns had been alive, but before you knew it, Taka and his assistant had broken off the heads, cleaned the bodies and presented them as sushi, and took the heads back to the kitchen to be presented later — deep fried.

Do you prefer your sushi lightly seared? No problem.

Dinner ended with Wataru’s dessert plate, prepared by Taka’s wife, Chef Tomo (who trained at Spago).

Delicious, as usual. And happy birthday, Wataru!


Nikk says

The Murakamis are some of the nicest people you will ever deal with. Congrats on the distribution deal. Did you deal any with Mark Humphreys, or was it directly with Ken?

zephan says

have you ever tried Toro, fatty tuna? its pretty much the best ever.

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