12217 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA

"Omakase for lunch / Omakase for lunch / I bet you're one of those assholes who gets omakase for lunch!"

Remember that old tune from elementary school? I never thought, when I was taunting other kids with it on the playground, that I would one day become the very embodiment of Old Mother Hubbard's wickedest burn. But here we are, so might as well enjoy it!


Echigo does not seem like the kind of place where you'd find great sushi. For one thing, it's located on the upper level of a strip mall so nondescript that I (and other people I've gone there with) routinely just pass right by it, despite having eaten there many times.

Often, we'll get out of the car and discover we've gone to a similar-looking strip mall, but instead of Echigo, there's an El Pollo Loco, or one of those places where Mexicans and/or Mongolians get their documents.

Maybe Echigo is like one of those magical leprechaun isles that only emerges from the fog once in a Blarneynight, I'm not sure. What I do know is, once you successfully find it, you're in for the best.


Now, of course it is not "the best" sushi in Los Angeles. For that you will quite literally have to fork over multi-hundreds of bucks, and wait months for a reservation that you can only get via some weird phone-system lottery, and even after jumping through the gauntlet of hoops, you will still stare at the ceiling late at night months later, wondering if it was actually worth it.

Echigo, on the other hand, is easy-peasy, and delicious-pelicious. Though supremely affordable (especially for lunch), it's by no means "value sushi" … I'd classify it more under "bang-for-the-buck."

For around $30, you can get a proper omakase lunch prepared expertly by true sushi chefs and served with utmost hospitality by a small team of graceful ladies.

echigo omakase

You can order off the menu of course, but that's for people like you. For me it's omakase all the way, from the first succulent piece of toro sashimi to the final blue crab hand roll. It's that last one that always makes my tastebuds cream their jeans, to the point where I'll add an extra one sometimes for "dessert." Very much in the Sugarfish mold, but excellent on its own terms.

For awhile I kept running into my boss here, and we both kept feeling embarrassed being caught eating here so much. He was using the place to impress both prospective new employees and prospective new employers. Me, I'm not such a gamer, I just like the food and the ladies.

Review by Toothy Berserker, February 2014