Buried in a discussion between former New York Times critic Frank Bruni and the world's most famous chef, Ferran Adrià, at the New York City Wine & Food Festival in September, was a culinary riddle wrapped in nori somewhere in between the 101 and the 10. Ferran contended that the world's best sushi was in L.A., at a place whose name he had forgotten, but that he'd visited with his friend chef José Andrés. Andrés couldn't remember the name, but his assistant suggested it might be Sushi Zo, a small place in a strip mall next to a taco joint.
Sounds like something to be skeptical of. But a visit in October made the case that if strip malls across America are serving that kind of sushi, there's more to Americana than meets the eye. Fine, maybe you shouldn't expect to find high quality sushi next to Red Lobster's along I-40 across the U.S., but when you go to Sushi Zo, expect course after course of fresh, expertly cut, beautifully presented sushi. And for these reasons Sushi Zo made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.