I am a sushi connoisseur and have tried the best places in New York and LA, and this is hands down the best. Well worth a trip from Santa Monica or anywhere, you are going there for the fish, not the ambience or the service. Chef Nozawa is a sushi purist, so you won't find any California Rolls. Just put yourself in his hands ("Trust me" menu), and you will have the most perfect melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter fish, the most perfectly steamed vinegared rice, the crispiest nori. Don't worry, he won't give you anything crazy, so even if you are a relative novice, you will get the mainstream fish--tuna sashimi, yellowtail, whitefish, albacore, shrimp sushi, crab roll, toro roll. FYI, this is a sushi-only restaurant; no tempura, teriyaki or anything else. As I said the chef is a purist--go for a pure and perfect experience.