ADDRESS: 3465 W 6th Street #50, Los Angeles, CA 90020
At the end of last week after a night photography shoot at Griffith Observatory with my friend Nate, we decided to head down into the Koreatown area to check out some Korean BBQ options. When we were told that it would be a 75-minute wait for our table, we put our name in and started to walk around the immediate area near the restaurant. We were a little bit hungry since it was already 8PM at that point, and that’s when we spotted KazuNori within the same plaza. Nate hadn’t tried Japanese handrolls before, so that made it an easy decision to go there for an appetizer before our main meal.
I had already tried Yunomi Handroll in the Arts District and ROL Hand Roll Bar in Huntington Beach, but I had always heard that KazuNori was the OG. I was looking forward to comparing my experience to that of the other two. The space inside of this particular location (there are seven total within the LA area) just contains the bar seating that extends the entire length of the restaurant. Warm temperature lighting that is set to be a bit dim definitely made it felt like a more intimate setting.
As with the other handroll restaurants that I’ve been to, the bar seating is bunched pretty close together, so that just meant a little more wiggling to get onto your barstool to make sure you didn’t bump into the person next to you. On the menu, the 13 handroll options definitely offered a nice variety across different types of fish that you could choose from. There were also some sashimi options if you were looking for that, but the handrolls were definitely the main feature.
Since we were going with this meal as an appetizer (but also being a bit hungry at the same time), I decided to order four rolls total. Instead of the set menu that the restaurant provided, I went à la carte instead and chose four handrolls that I knew I’d enjoy: toro, salmon, albacore, and eel. The only two other options I was considering was either the yellowtail or the NZ sea bream (if I was feeling like trying something new). But I definitely still felt content with my other selections.
While seated at the bar, you can end up getting your rolls pretty quickly if the handroll chef is pretty efficient. For a period of time, I was surprised to see that it was only one chef that was working the bar for all 20 of the people’s orders. Even with that, I thought that he was able to keep up a good pace for the rolls between Nate and myself.
My first three rolls of toro, salmon, and albacore got made in pretty even succession, with no more than three minutes or so between finishing one and having another ready to eat. I’d say that of the three, I enjoyed the salmon one the most, since it also had a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds in the middle between the fish and the rice. I thought that helped to give the roll that slight sesame aftertaste. The albacore did also come with some scallions, but I think the toro was just straight fish and rice.
The last roll I had ordered, the eel, did have a noticeable delay until it ended up getting made. It was approaching the point that I was going to ask our waitress whether the handroll was still in the system to get made when I saw a member of the kitchen staff bring out the cooked eel to the handroll chef. Seems like there might have been a delay in the kitchen which caused the roll from not getting made. But nonetheless, I ate the roll pretty quickly since we had gotten a text that our KBBQ table was ready.
I will say that while I do appreciate the clean flavors when it comes to the handrolls, sometimes I am wanting either one additional flavor in the mix when eating the handroll or another texture. The other handroll restaurants that I had been to would have other options on the menu where they have either a crunch element to it or sometimes tossing the fish in some sauce mixture before putting it into the handroll. It seems that KazuNori can lean more on the purist end of the spectrum, where it’s primarily just the seafood, rice, and seaweed. If that is the type of handrolls that you are primarily looking for, then the good news is that you’ve got several location options to choose from within the LA area.
Let’s now take a look at the KazuNori Restaurant Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Toro Hand Roll **
Chopped fatty tuna, wrapped in seaweed.
** Salmon Hand Roll **
Diced salmon, wrapped in seaweed.
** Albacore Hand Roll **
Chopped albacore, wrapped in seaweed.
** Eel Hand Roll **
Grilled eel, wrapped in seaweed.
And finally, here are my rankings for KazuNori:
Food: 4.25 / 5
The 13 different types of handrolls you could get certainly meant that there were options for what flavor mood you might be in. All four of my rolls certainly had the fish tasting fresh, with their individual flavors able to stand out.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
The bar setup and the dimmed warm temperature lighting for the restaurant was nice, definitely helping to establish a bit more of an intimate setting. Even in the smaller space and a relatively full bar, I was surprised at how quiet it also seemed at the same time.
Service: 3.75 / 5
Our waitress seemed a bit sporadic in coming to check in on us to see how we were doing. The delay in getting my last handroll also caused a dip for this ranking as well.
Price: 4.5 / 5
All things considered, I thought that the handroll prices were very reasonable, most of them within the range of $5.25 – $6.00 per handroll. The only ones that strayed outside of that were the cucumber ($4.75) and lobster ($8.50).