It is amazing. After 13 years of FrankAboutFood.com, the question most asked is “What is the best Sushi Bar in the Ventura County Area?” That would seem to be and is a tough question since sadly there are almost as many supposed “Japanese” sushi bars in the county now as there are low end chain Pizza joints and with quality often ranging toward those lower at a similar level. And we have checked out just about every one of any potential from Calabasas to Oxnard.
But if the owner and ALL Sushi chefs are not native Japanese, we walk. We lived in Japan ate lots of true Sushi there and do speak fluent Japanese
And thus what we discovered is that because of a shortage of TRULY trained (10 years prox) in Japan “Sushiyas”, most of the current crop are non-Japanese Asians faking that they are Japanese Sushi Chefs. Not one of them that we talked to has ever been been near the world famous Tsukiji Fish market in Tokyo and their expertise begins and ends with slicing the dreaded “California” or “Ventura Roll”. If that is your style don’t bother to read further.
But if you are “Serious About Sushi” Kaminari (Japanese for Thunder) in Westake Village stands out from all the rest. When you enter this small room, you will be transported to the Ginza in Tokyo. You will be greeted by a charming diminutive Japanese server. Behind the bar are 2 true Sushi Masters who have been on this job for a decade plus Chef Owner Hidekazu with 40 plus years of slicing, chopping and squeezing behind him. He is also at the downtown fish market every morning with his Japanese Tsukiji trained eye selecting the freshest and best fish available. He will not accept Santa Barbara Sea Urchin (uni) unless it measures up to his high standards.The same goes for all the Ngiri sushi served as well as the very creative rolls that are also on the menu. He is as good as they comie!
Service is the best. But there can be a wait on weekends.
If you know what you want, you will immediately recognize the difference. If you are an adventurer, consider ordering “Omakase” which is Chef’s Choice while indicating a price limit starting with a low of at least $50 per person while adding your own special choices such as Toro (BlueFin Tuna) or that very special Sea Urchin (Uni).
Avoid the “All You Can Eat, On a Revolving Belt or Near The Water Hustlers” You will get a lot of rice, soy sauce and very little True Fresh Fish
Kaminari is slightly higher in price than others but absolutely worth it for the serious Sushi Lover.
2891 Agoura Road, Westlake Village 91361
(Actually on Village Glen)
Most Credit Cards Convenient Free Parking