Superstar sushi chef Morihiro Onodera has quietly opened a new restaurant this month, and in Atwater Village of all places. The sleepy, family-friendly Eastside neighborhood near Silver Lake is now home to Morihiro, an upscale takeaway-only Japanese restaurant that opened last week to little fanfare — and chef Mori is at the helm, turning out bento boxes, omakase sets, and more.
Fans of Onodera have for years followed the enigmatic, bespectacled chef all over Los Angeles, from legendary stints at his own Mori Sushi in West LA more than a decade back to a run at Shiki in Beverly Hills a few years ago. Over the years Onodera has also fallen deeply in love with growing his own rice and making his own ceramics, while more recently pulling a quiet kind of double-duty as the culinary ambassador for Japan House in Hollywood. LA Times co-critic Bill Addison even glowingly reviewed Onodera’s food there at the on-site restaurant Inn Ann last year, charting the quiet chef’s journey through some of LA’s most popular Japanese restaurants.
Suffice it to say, Onodera is considered to be among LA’s most vaunted sushi masters, which makes last week’s opening of Morihiro all the more surprising, considering it opened the day after Thanksgiving. The restaurant sits at 3133 Glendale Boulevard, having taken over half of the Viet Noodle Bar space right on the main retail drag, and for now is offering bento boxes, chirashi bowls, rolls, and omakase sets for takeaway only. Check out popular message board Food Talk Central for a look at the fish up close.
Morihiro opened on November 27, keeping hours from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, Wednesday through Sunday, and 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner. The restaurant is almost certain to be a hit with Eastside sushi lovers, particularly since so many of the city’s best spots have long been collected on the Westside or up in the Valley. There has been an influx of Japanese restaurants overall in the past few years, though, including Ichijiku in Highland Park (which also opened during the pandemic), Sogo Hand Roll Bar in Los Feliz, and Ototo and Tsubaki in Echo Park.