Classic Tables: Sushi Ike

After 20 years, this strip-mall haunt is still on a roll

Ask Angelenos "Where do you eat sushi?" and you'll learn plenty about them: Deep-wallets finagle a spot at Urasawa, trendsters converge at Katsuya, and the budget-conscious stick with half-price nights at Kabuki. But sushi purists seek out Sushi Ike (ee-kay), which has topped their lists for more than 20 years.

Hidden in a dingy Hollywood strip mall, there's no scene at Ike, just a small, unadorned sushi bar filled with regulars devoted to owner Hiroshi Ikeda's use of pristine fish and simple preparations. Ike-san isn't one for squirt bottles or over-stuffed rolls. You go here for no-frills nigiri, sashimi and specialties like the must-have grilled octopus ($8) with its lemony flesh and charred tentacles.

The unwavering quality really sets Ike apart from the rest: Plump scallops ($6) get nothing but a touch of wasabi and a sprinkle of sea salt; glistening, fatty toro ($10) melts as soon as it hits your tongue; and sweet, sticky shrimp ($8) is still kicking seconds before it goes under the knife. With generous cuts of fish and just enough rice, there's room for little else.

And know that when a chef puts seared salmon nigiri on your wooden board during omakase and says, "Eat now!" it's not a bark, just advice on how to enjoy it exactly how it's meant to be.

Sushi Ike, 6051 Hollywood Blvd. (at Gower), Hollywood; 323-856-9972