QUESTION: On the Sawtelle Boulevard strip, near the two Giant Robot stores and pretty much in the middle of the Westside’s Little Tokyo, there is a sort of ordinary-looking sushi bar on the east side of the street that always has a line. Always! There have to be 20 sushi bars within walking distance of Hide Sushi — why is this one so popular?
ANSWER: Hide Sushi serves neither the most famous sushi in the neighborhood — that would be Sushi Sasabune — nor what is arguably the best, which, if my last meal there is any indication, would have to be Sushi Tenn. But it does serve among the cheapest sushi in town — incredibly cheap, change-for-a-ten-spot cheap — in a dining room that usually seems closer to an old-line New York deli than it does to a serene temple of fish.
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“Nigiri special? Here you go, Mac.”
“Want soup with that? One dollar.”
“Can’t you read? Cash only. ATM at the front.”
This isn’t Ginza Sushiko, you understand. The portions tend to be on the smallish side, and the fish can be a little ragged. You will not find obscure beltfish, giant squid or Japanese tai rushed straight from Narita to your plate. But the fish is fresh — with this turnover, it’s got to be — and the raucous atmosphere can be kind of fun. 2040 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 477-7242.