Sushi Encino

Shin Sushi Delivers Serious Value to Encino

Tokyo native Taketoshi “Take” Azumi has a serious sushi pedigree and now runs Shin Sushi in Encino, honoring his family and delivering high value.

Ventura Boulevard has long been known as “Sushi Row” for the preponderance of stellar options. Brand new Shin Sushi still manages to stand out, thanks to the chef/owner’s rich sushi heritage, notable value and high-quality, market-driven seafood.

Shin Sushi’s lunch menu is a notable bargain. Nothing costs more than $22.50, including chef’s choice chirashi bowls and sashimi plates. I really enjoyed Shin’s nigiri “deluxe” platter featuring 10 pieces of nigiri and four pieces of sliced California roll. For most pieces, Chef Take bypasses basic fish in favor of choices like black snapper marinated “tsuke” style with soy sauce and dashi, silky Hokkaido sea scallop and torched Japanese snow trout. Lunch combos come with miso soup.

In each case, Take prefers to serve rice warm and toothsome, just above room temperature. He seasons each batch with two types of vinegar, salt, pepper and savory seaweed broth.

Customers who favor specific seafood preparations at lunch or dinner can order à la carte. Particularly enticing options include a baked crab hand roll, kanpachi sashimi with herb oil sauce, and sashimi trio teaming tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Shin Sushi also sells nigiri by the piece, starting at $2.50 for tamago (omelet) and escalating to market price items like sea urchin.

Tokyo native Taketoshi “Take” Azumi previously worked at high-end sushi bars like Mori Sushi and Sushi of Gari before replacing Sushi Nakamura in the back corner of an Encino strip mall. His father ran the original Shin Sushi in Tokyo. He passed away five years ago, and Take honors him with the same name and logo wall-mounted behind the bar.

Take is the youngest brother in the Azumi family. Older brother Fumio is another accomplished sushi chef. They worked together at Sushi of Gari, and Humio is now opening a branch of L.A.’s revered Sushi Zo in Hong Kong. A third brother also works shifts at Shin Sushi. A fourth brother bucked tradition by running a hamburger restaurant back home in Tokyo.

Shin Sushi’s omakase starts at a quite reasonable $80 given the family’s rich heritage. Sit in eight cushioned chairs at a wood bar or at four wood tables amidst burgundy and cream colored walls and jazz music.

16573 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-616-4148

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