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Hamasaku Sushi Chef Yoya Takahashi Talks Fresh Fish, Tattoos, and Amber Heard

Is he LA's most fun-loving sushi expert?

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

While Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it seems that Hamasaku’s executive sushi chef Yoya Takahashi dreams of… Amber Heard. At least that’s what the affable Kyoto-born chef says when asked by Vice food imprint Munchies to describe his inner thoughts.

Takahashi — and his funny, slightly off-kilter sensibility — is a staple on the West LA sushi scene, having run the strip mall spot Hamasaku for a while now. While the place was long frequented by moneyed locals and casual celebrities looking to enjoy a quick roll, a recent interior overhaul and menu update has brought a solid omakase experience and more nigiri service.

That’s good news for sushi fans and for Takahashi, who takes his work seriously, despite the casual demeanor and long hair. Consider him the antidote to the super-serious Hiroyuki Naruke of Downtown’s Q Sushi.

In the Munchies piece, Takahashi talks about moving to Los Angeles because he wanted to be, what else, an actor, but finding instead that working an omakase service involves a lot of showing off too. Along the way, he rails against brown rice, shows off the smiley face tattoo on his hand, and breaks down fish flown in whole from Japan only twelve hours prior.


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