SF: Hashiri, Kusakabe, Maruya, Akiko’s, Jiro at Saison, An Japanese, Pabu, and in the Peninsula - Sushi Yoshizumi, Sawa.
LA: Sushi Zo, Zo DTLA, Q, Mori, Shunji, Shiki, Matsuhisa, Nozawa Bar, n/naka (this is Kaiseki but there was sushi), Yamakase, Sushi Tsujita, Kiriko, Sushi Sushi, Sushi Park, Hiko, Sushi Gen, and outside of LA proper - Go’s Mart, Nobu Malibu, 4 on 6, Hanami, Kanda, Sushi Nozomi.
I should rephrase - Sushi Ginza Onodera doesn’t blow everything out of the water in every aspect, but it was the best meal all around with no flaws, in my opinion. I can, and have had many excellent meals at some of the above, and some of them I gladly frequent that have some truly excellent sushi, but on the whole, I do think Sushi Ginza Onodera was a notch higher, and that left an impression on me. It’s not like every piece at Ginza Onodera was that much better, but all the aspects on the whole made it a top meal, where I can comfortably say that I haven’t had anything in SF or LA quite at that level. For example, Hashiri with Mekaru-san had some great sushi but I was disappointed by the neta’s preparation in a few pieces, Mori has excellent rice and formation but their neta is not quite at that level at times, n/naka’s proportions and “pressing” were off to me, Zo’s proportions and knifework aren’t consistent, etc. as I’m nitpicking, and again I can have some really awesome pieces and a great sushi meal meal, but in terms of the whole thing, Sushi Ginza Onodera was elevated to just that next level for me. Vintage Cave’s Sushi Kazuma had products that were so good they were eye-opening (that seki-aji, oma tuna, shizuoka wasabi, myoga, even the daikon was wow, but they could give incredible produce because it costs at least twice of almost anywhere in California), but Ginza Onodera had better proportions and pressing than Kazuma, to me. That surprised me, because I had eaten so much sushi in LA that I wasn’t expecting that jump, so I got a bit excited…and maybe a little carried away! This isn’t scientific but just my opinion, and I should note that there are some places in SF and LA I’ve visited once, and some I’ve visited 20+ times, so I know that a single visit isn’t always indicative of a restaurant’s potential. Also, some places improve with time and not all sushi chefs at the restaurant are equal, and you kind of have to find your groove with your itamae. But Sushi Ginza Onodera had it in spades in all the details right away (very skilled formation, excellent consistent rice with the right “nebari” and proportions, always proper temperatures, neta prepared with the right knifework and texture, real top quality provenance neta of course, not a hint of sloppiness, a real nice pacing and flow, their dashi was damn good at the start with truly clean depth, etc.) and I could tell that, for me at least, it’s that next level.