L.A. Regains a Sushi Master - Mori at Shiki Beverly Hills [Thoughts + Pics]




Sushi nomenclature can be confusing in part because it’s not always applied consistently. Also, there are different names for species in the same family, for different ages, and even slight regional variation in naming.

They’re all loosely referred to as yellowtail in some way or another.

With that said, kampachi refers to Hawaiian (I think it’s pretty much all in Kona, farmed) almaco jack, which is technically not the same as amberjack but it passes for it on some menus.

Kanpachi is “greater amberjack,” a different fish than almaco jack. It tends to have a slightly snappier texture compared to kampachi, in my experience.

Japanese amberjack is also a different species. This is the one which goes from hamachi to buri. I believe you can find this even in Hawaii, complicating this but “kampachi” is different.

Bottom line - just follow your trusted sushi chef for what’s in season.


Certain sake could possibly work with some wild game, but in addition to being yamahai or kimoto, some aging to bring out some more robust flavors (in addition to acidity) so that it will hold up. At that point it becomes very much an acquired taste, like the blue cheese of sake. Kikuhime Yamahai Junmai is the prototypical style/genre that many other breweries aspire to achieve its profile and structure (I think aged one to two years in bottle at most), it’s one that I really like and I think it’s mostly available for ordering for the East Coast market (1.8L only) but you can find the 720 mL pretty easily in many 7-Eleven’s in Tokyo for cheap, and quite a few department stores across. The perfect izakaya sake and excellent warmed, especially with oden.
Another good one would be Shiokawa brewery’s Cowboy Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Genshu, that’s a lot more accessible (designed to go with beef, steak, greasy delicious grilled beef innards/horumon, and I’m sure can hold up against a buffalo or Venison without the gamey or funk feel from the sake itself)

A well structured Yamahai Muroka Nama Genshu (unfiltered, unpasteurized, undiluted) that is not just strong, but funky in a good way, high acidity, higher alcohol content, robust and well structured/balanced would also work well with gamey meats…and a good portion of these sake are seasonal winter releases. Junmai sake of that type are generally the best bets.

I need to try a good grill sake with American BBQ, BBQ sauce and smoked brisket sometime!

Sake Talk Anyone?

Hi @BradFord -

I’m glad we cleared that up. :grimacing: But seriously - as much as I like Samplers and Omakase - I might order à la carte for a bit, to familiarize myself with each piece.



When making a reservation, do you guys have to specifically request Mori-san, or if you just ask to be seated at the sushi bar, that is already assumed?


We specifically requested Mori-san.


Hi @yangster777,

Yah, definitely ask for Mori-san. Or else you might be seated in front of the other itamae. Hope you have a good meal!


Hi @TheCookie,

No no! Don’t feel like because you didn’t get all the ingredients / dishes written down that you can’t report on them. :wink: Everyone’s reports are always welcome here on FTC. Your reports just add to the richness on our little board. :grin:

I’m looking forward to your next report on Raku now! :wink:


Yes. There are two sushi bars - the regular one up front in the main dining room and the tiny curtained off space in the back where Mori-San is holding court. Based on what we saw going out to the front, the experience will be vastly different :wink:


Gosh @Chowseeker1999 -

I just came across this reply. It’s happening again where I’m not getting some notifications. Don’t think I’m dissing you folks if I don’t reply.

Awww thanks! I’m trying to lighten up a bit about that. Between trying to distinguish some similar seeming Neta (fish), the language barrier and not wanting to be a pest, it can get taxing. Sometimes you just want to put in your mouth and enjoy it. But for Sushi School I’m going to start ordering à la carte for a bit.

Not to tease you. I’ve probably been 3 times since my last report. We can’t stay away from this place. TBC…


You know what’s interesting about this new set up? I never sat at the private area before Mori-san arrived - so I may be wrong - but it looked roomier, less cramped before. I guess they shortened it to make his area more exclusive with less customers?


Thanks to @helen_s and @Chowseeker1999 for the reservation information. FWIW, we were seated in front of Mori-san at the far end of the main bar (the section that is 8 seats long) right next to the where the dishes get passed to the servers. Throughout the night, Mori-san would work on nigiri for a family of three seated at the second bar section, and he would walk around the corner to serve them.

The chefs and servers were joking all night with each other and with customers, so the atmosphere felt very relaxed and comfortable for our first time dining with Mori-san (and definitely not the last).

Since there are already a bunch of pictures on this thread, I’ll just add ones that haven’t been added before, or are slightly different from what has been posted already:

Ankimo Tofu w/ Santa Barbara Uni, Ossetra Caviar, Baby Onion Sprouts (from Japan), and Ponzu

(cw from top left) Fried Homemade Tofu in Dashi, Steamed/Grilled Broccoli w/ Egg and Miso, Grilled Miso Squid, Firefly Squid w/ Honey Mustard and Pickled Cucumber, Bamboo Shoot Nigri, Hijiki Seaweed Simmered in Soy w/ Yuba-Shiitake-Carrot, Spinach and Shimeji Simmered in Dashi, Kumquat Gelee

Grilled Female Shrimp w/ Charred Kumquat and Water Cress

We were so excited by and in love with this dish that we forgot to ask for clarification on what kind of shrimp this was (it was just described as “sweet shrimp”). The meat was sweet (like hairy crab sweet) and perfectly cooked, but I was surprised at how sweet the roe was, rather than salty. This might have been the dish of the evening for us.

Tempura: Abalone, Bitter Greens (?), Bamboo Shoot

Didn’t catch what type of greens this was, but they were slightly bitter and reminded me a bit of chrysanthemum.

Hot Stone Grill: Wagyu, Portobello, Shimeji, Eringi, Asparagus w/ Wasabi and Soy

We were instructed to cook the wagyu first so the rendered fat would help with the veggies. I think we were too slow, because we ran out of fuel before we got to the portobellos, but I hate mushrooms, so no big loss there (and we wanted to make sure we had enough room for nigiri).

Mirugai (Geoduck)

Baby Onion Sprouts (from Japan) w/ Katsuobushi

I was jokingly thinking that Mori-san was trolling me by just putting random things on the rice just to see if I would eat it or call his bluff, but this was actually really good. The sweet, lightly sharp onion flavor pairing well with the savory notes of the katsuobushi. I would have never thought that something so simple as this would be so enjoyable.

Kanpyo Maki

I had forgotten what kampyo was as I had never been offered it before, so I asked Mori-san if it was dried daikon. But Mori-san corrected my mistake (it’s a dried gourd) and proudly explained that kampyo is one of his favorites (Japanese comfort sushi).
… … … … …
Just a question for you sushi experts, since my sushi knowledge is rather limited and few-and-far-between, the neta was colder than I am used to; I’m assuming that’s intentional, but what’s the rationale behind that choice? It made for an interesting contrast between the warm shari and the cold neta. Also, the wasabi amount was a tiny bit on the heavier side of what we’re used to.

Another interesting tidbit, we asked Mori-san about the soy sauce they use…complex and rich without being overly salty and somehow still being pretty light (as contradictory as that sounds). He takes normal soy sauce and customizes it (not sure how) to compliment his shari recipe. Something, he mentioned, that most sushi chefs do not consider. I don’t usually use soy sauce when eating sushi, but this is one time I might consider making an exception.


Spot prawns, also frequently served raw (meat and roe) & sometimes… twitching


Thanks, @Sgee. That’s what we thought, but I didn’t want to say without being sure.


The bitter greens tempura is likely Shungiku (Glebionis coronaria), also known as garland chrysanthemum.
In Taiwanese/Chinese hot pot restaurants it’s an iconic vegetable to use, which they call “Tong Ho”.

Baby green onion sprouts is called menegi in Japanese. The ones you got seem a bit thicker than what I’ve seen in Japan and Hong Kong.


neta shouldn’t be cold, it should be cut and it should rest so that it’s served at room temp.


Odori (“dancing”)…


Hi @yangster777,

Nice report! :slight_smile: Glad you had a good meal with Mori-san. Some of those new dishes look and sound wonderful. It seems he’s beginning to settle into his new digs more and more.

That’s interesting regarding your cold/warm contrast. When we went, Mori-san’s sushi wasn’t in contrast like that, nor back in the day at Mori Sushi. Hm.


Generally, this is true - closer to room temp than cold. However, it’s not uncommon for a thick cut of toro belly to be served a bit colder than akami, and there are a couple of other exceptions. Some temperature contrast, within reason, can be a nice effect with specific pieces.

Lots of times serious sushiyas also prefer the wooden neta case (sitting on ice blocks) to a metal refrigerator, because keeping the fish too cold in a refrigerator robs some of the ingredients’ natural “sweetness.”

Kind of like with with some white wines (though I’m not saying that neta and white wine should be served at the same temperature) in the sense that if it’s served too cold, some of the aromas are masked.

Even if the soy sauce is good, you’re probably not encouraged to use extra soy with sushi if it’s already sauced. Using soy with sashimi, however, is usually appropriate.

those would be shiitake, not portobello