MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Perfectionists will thrill to a meal at this Westside sushiya, where everything from the homemade tofu to the kitchen's selection of seasonal fish is nothing short of exquisite. Everything inside the dining room is finely calibrated to highlight the wizardry behind the ubiquitous bar—soft lighting, white walls, wood accents and handcrafted ceramics. Even the wine and sake list is restrained, with each varietal specifically chosen to complement the fish. Despite such delicacy, Mori is far from stuffy. This ship is steady with Chef Masanori “Maru” Nagano at the helm, explaining the provenance of each bite of the nigiri and omakase. A majority of the selection is flown in directly from Japan—with a few worthy exceptions, including the luscious Santa Barbara uni. The tasting might start with a dollop of creamy tofu brushed with soy sauce and a dab of wasabi, before progressing into wonderful bites of seared madai and lightly torched baby barracuda. Nigiri are ever-changing but may showcase sweet shrimp; rich and tart kohada; or outstanding buri. A cooling scoop of buckwheat ice cream serves as the final memento, but really, it's the savory eats that will linger on for weeks to come.