Tuesday, December 16, 2008
One of many Sushi Restaurant reviews from LA. I know I am behind and I apologize, but don't worry I will get to it! ^_- Again, I must warn all that the photos can be deceiving because I have edited all of them to make sure they look wonderful. Don't judge a book by its cover because you never know what's waiting for you inside! lol I looked up some places that are known for their Sushi Bar in LA since I was going to be there for the event. K-Zo popped up as a highly recommended place with innovative creations but at a heavy price. I thought to myself, "It's been a while since I have had some delectable mouth-watering sushi. So why not!"
We were waiting outside for them to open and we weren't the only ones. Of course we sat at the Sushi Bar for the best view and service. The decor is very simple and modern. You can see the kitchen with the window sliver on the wall. The Sushi Bar is of course lighted brightly as if they were a heavenly being! lol Customers on the other hand are seated in a dimmer area, so maybe that was a sign that the food will be overshadowed by darkness and be a part of reality when it reaches you.
As soon as I looked at the menu, one item immediately jumped out at me... the Toro Truffle. It's Seared Toro with Shaved Black Truffle. I have almost found the trifecta and then reality hit! Heaven and my money was quickly slipping away as I took a bite. The sashimi is priced at $36 and for that amount you would expect a flavor explosion in your mouth. Alas, I felt the harshness of reality. The aromatic flavor of the truffle did not translate at all, nor did the flavors compliment each other. You can smell this dish from afar and it was beautifully put together. I really enjoyed the beautiful Star Carrots and the plethora of shaved truffles atop my seared toro. Sadly, the toro was not well marbleized or tasty. Maybe it was overcooked or the cut was just not up to par, but nothing worked for me on this dish. I felt bad that my friend CL might have been let down and will never give truffles another chance! *sigh* Oh well, more for me! lol
Ever since Matsuhisa I have become a huge fan of Aoyagi, Orange Clam. I saw that they offered it here and I definitely had to try it. At first, I almost had it confused with Mirugai when I saw the picture but eventually I remembered what I ordered. O=) It was sweet, chewy, and tasty. Normally I am not a huge fan of the chewy texture but the flavor of Orange Clam compensates for the chewiness. If you ever see it on the menu, be sure to give it a try if you like a light sweet refreshing sensation.
One dish that really attracted me to come here was the Oyster and Caviar atop Ice! Sounds beautiful and looks spectacular! The preparation was brilliant and fascinating to watch. While I was watching, one huge thought came across my mind... how much is this? lol Everything was placed delicately. They even whipped out the Gold Flakes that were gently tapped into place. First the plate of Ice, then bits of decoration on the sides of the plate, then the Kumamoto Oysters, then Uni, then Caviar, then Seaweed, then the Lemon to separate the two, and beautiful Gold Flakes to finish.
Brace yourself for the shot up close! It's a beautiful sight. *Drool warning* This disappeared in one gulp. I think it's worth the price for the show. Taste, it was not bad but nothing special. There were too many elements working against one another to make any unified flavor. I can't remember anything about the oyster or any elements other than the Uni. Apparently it had the strongest flavor so it would be the only thing you'd taste. Still it's a fun dish and the presentation is fabulous.
I ordered Hotate because I love the sweetness and soft texture of Scallop. Apparently we were given Live Scallop, which was $16. I knew it had to be fresh when I saw him do the prep work for the sushi. The scallop was fresh and topped with freshly grated Yuzu. I liked the subtle flavor that enhances the sweetness. The best part was what they did with the scrap leftover. It's pretty typical that they chop the slivers from the side, slice mushrooms, season, and bake. I usually think of this as a filler dish, but WOW! The taste was spectacular and well coordinated. The sauce was tangy, tasty, and aromatic. Each remainder of the scallop was soft with a slight chewiness that was so similar to the mushroom that it made it hard to distinguish what was in my mouth. I thought this was the winner of the night.
Of course I had to order Hamachi, Yellow Tail. It was fresh and had a nice texture. There wasn't anything special or unique about this compared to all other sushi bars.
My goal is always to try new or special fish that sounds interesting. Ever since Mori Sushi I have been intrigued by Kamasu (Komasu), Japanese Barracuda. It's seared and topped with Ginger and Green Onions. Maybe it's no longer as intriguing as the first time I had it, but this was just alright to me. The flavor was not bad but I felt that it could have been seared more to add that extra kick.
Tonight I wanted to have some Ankimo. Since they spiff everything up, I was wondering how they would upscale the oh so delectable Monkfish Liver. He generous sliced to huge round cuts of the solidified liver and cut them in half. Then he delicately and artistically put them atop the prepared Rice and Seaweed. They topped it with the typical grated Daikon, Ponzu, and Green Onions. The taste was nice and simple, but again, nothing special. Still, the photo turned out great so it makes me happier! ^_^
I wanted to try their Black Cod sushi because I asked if it was uncooked. The chef told me that it would be seared so it would not be fully cooked. Most places I have had black cod tend to be cooked and I feel that it negates the meaning of sushi! I think they over seared this because the texture was that of cooked cod. The normal texture is great when done right but I felt that this dish was off. The sauce did not compliment the fish's taste.
CL was looking for Blue Crab Hand Roll all day and they had it here. We both had to have it. It was pure blue crab meat and the taste was good. They added a few slices of Cucumber to give the roll a crisp texture and to lighten the fishiness of the crab. I always enjoy the strong taste of blue crab.
To end the meal, the chef quickly and craftily peeled an orange. Then laced the peels as a cup to hold the fruit. Even the complimentary fruit was done artistically and decorated with a Strawberry, Raspberry, and a Blackberry. Leave it to them to make this upscale as well! It was nice and refreshing.
All in all I felt that it was overrated but the people were very nice. Our bill for everything was $116.92 without tip. We went to Oomasu in Little Tokyo earlier in the day and for about the same price I had tons more fish and they were done the way I like it. So I definitely didn't think this was worth the money and hype. Yes, some dishes were gorgeous but I am all about the taste and maximizing the value of my money! lol The server in the end took forever to get our bills back and for some odd reason said my card was declined. I used it at lunch and dinner afterwards without any problems... hmmm. That kind of annoyed me because it took them a while to settle the bill and there was a lot of unnecessary confusion. Still, I am glad I came and now I have a better appreciation of their craft and the other sushi bars that I love.
Culver City, CA 90232