An old school, cozy little place without any obvious signage outside, the best way to locate the restaurant is to head just across Sawtelle from the modern complex currently housing lunch hotspots Tsujita, Nongla and ROC Kitchen, then look for the traditional-style Japanese house facade, white-washed with brown tiled 'roof'.
It can get crowded at lunch, and when my co-worker and I went they did not have tables for us, but we were happy to slide up to the counter - you get faster service there anyways as the chef is right in front of you! We of course skipped the cooked foods (teriyaki, noodles) section of the menu, and dove straight into the lunch specials.
We both got the Nigiri special ($12.80) which had very generously sized rolls of mackerel, salmon, yellowtail, tuna, shrimp, egg, and (impressively considering the price and instinct of most other restaurants to cater to the lowest common denominator with their lunch packages) surf clam and octopus.Every piece was good quality for the price (obviously you're not getting Tsukiji quality in this price range - but it's very good compared to others in this tier). I really loved the portion size as well - definitely a filling lunch for average sized ladies!
Though the special was satisfying in itself, I can never pass up ankimo (monkfish liver) - especially now with the foie gras ban in effect, this is kind of like my sea creature substitute (they do say ankimo is like foie of the sea!). It was cool to see the chef's eyes light up when I ordered it too - perhaps the usual office lunch crowd doesn't always venture into this area of the menu. Hide Sushi does have a full a la carte menu of nigiri and hand rolls - unfortunately I was so excited I didn't take notes on pricing for the ankimo - but if memory serves correctly, these two massive rolls were under $5 total.
All in all, a fantastic lunch spot - that, even with all the newer options constantly popping up on Sawtelle - we'll be coming back to often!!! (We'll just have to remember to bring cash, as they don't take credit cards - though there is an ATM machine right inside the entrance.)
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 5.5 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 5 stars
Service - 5.5 stars
Overall experience - 5.5 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%
2040 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA 90025
Parking: free valet on Missisippi west of Sawtelle (behind Tsujita...for that complex ;))
Note: CASH ONLY