Kifune Japanese Restaurant, Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles

Kifune Japanese Restaurant, Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles

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  1. Do you sometimes jones for sushi to the point where if you imagine a succulent slice of tuna or yellowtail you salivate all over your shirt? If you answered yes, Pavlov would love to meet you (at least he would if he were alive). You also have something in common with me.

    Affordable sushi is something of an oxymoron: all sushi is expensive, by necessity, as all the fish has to be flown in from Japan and includes only select cuts from select fish. Some places charge considerably more for “atmosphere” or because—by chance—they are frequented by celebrities and are therefore filled with nobodies hoping to “be seen” by the right people in the right place. If you go to such places, you’re not only a sucker, but a fool who would fit in perfectly with the movie industry crowd. Y’all deserve each other.


     Kifune is not pretentious, although it has a nice interior—though somewhat dark, especially in the dining room—and caters to the moderately wealthy highfaluting yuppies of the Marina. Still, as sushi bars go, it’s affordable… otherwise, why would I be eating there?

    I have sampled most of the delicacies available at Kifune and other sushi bars all over the LA area. I’ve liked almost everything I’ve tried (the sweet shrimp was decidedly weird, and one taste of uni—or sea urchin roe—was enough to last a lifetime). These days, however, I stick with only my favorites, as it makes little sense paying top dollar and filling up on choices that fall short of favorites. While I enjoy ahi as much as the next guy, I rarely order it, as the flavor is just a bit too subtle; besides, I prefer my ahi grilled.  My sushi meal usually consists of a couple orders of hamachi (yellowtail), sake (salmon), toro (fatty tuna belly) if they have it, ikura (salmon roe) and hotategai (scallops); if I am with my wife—who has the common aversion to eating any raw food other than fruits (you know the type: “I hate sushi!”  “Have you ever tried it?”  “Well… no.”)—I also enjoy some of her California roll, unagi (eel), lobster dynamite and the mouthwatering soft shell crab.


    I sat in the dining room only once, and the service was slow, especially considering that only one other table was occupied at the time. That experience made me a fan of sitting at the sushi bar; besides, it’s more fun to watch the sushi chef do his thing, and it pays to order the pieces one at a time when it comes to freshness. Also, I tend to eat less, which is never a bad thing.


     They have the usual selection of domestic and Japanese beers, of course, and only a nitwit—or a reformed alcoholic—eats sushi without good beer. Everyone has their own favorite Japanese beer. Seeing that virtually all of them follow recipes established by German braumeisters, it really doesn’t matter which you choose, but I prefer the Sapporo.


    One last thing that you must try at Kifune—unless you’re one of those wimps who cringe at the notion—is the raw oyster shooter. I have no idea what they use in the non-alcoholic sauce in which they serve the bits of oyster, but it is a taste sensation not to be missed. Sometimes I go to Kifune just to toss back a few oyster shooters. Even if I don’t tell her what I’ve been up to at those times, my wife somehow always figures it out.

    Kifune Restaurant:

    405 Washington Blvd
    Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 
    (310) 822-1595

    Business Hours:

    Mon. – Fri.         11:30am to 2:00pm

    Mon. – Thurs.        5:30pm to 10:30pm
    Fri. & Sat.             5:30pm to 11:00pm
    Sun.                       5:00pm to 10:00pm

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