Had no idea chef derek wilcox is leaving shoji at 69 leonard street in nyc and is coming to brentwood. @Sgee
(really glad it mentions Shibumi is going to keep operating)
Yeah he left Shoji in Mid-Dec and appears to have been getting acclimated with the local flora and fauna the past few months
It’s a badly kept secret, but Eater exposes all…
I have mixed feelings.
- anago and leek tempura
- chicken gyoza
- chef wilcox
- $8 for pickles and half a bowl of average rice
- $10 for a crappy scoop of ice cream
- no sakura mochi
- the obsequious owner fawning over the ig influencers
tomato with fresh yuba and sea salt
potato sa(r)ada with arabiki sausage and lettuce hearts
shima aji (nagasaki)
chicken gyoza with nira chives, miso and roasted sesame oil
anago and leek tempura
grilled striped bass with lotus root
steamed rice and tsukemono pickled vegetables
kagoshima Wagyu with fresh wasabi
milk ice cream with fresh mochi and sweet green pea
The rare full meal with pictures from me!
Cremant de Bourgogne rose
Misuno salad with juko (baby sardines) -they were out of the tofu due to dine la
Gyoza -good but a touch over
Anago and leek tempura with sansho salt -very good
Barracuda bozushi -well balanced
Red shizo sorbet -great pairing with the raspberries
Also had a nice Sake from Akita but can’t remember the name for the life of me. Just remember the label had red letters down the center
How was the food overall? Would you go back?
I would go back. The chef was friendly and explained the food well. Don’t know if it’s worth going too far out of your way for. Right now the food is good and has the potential to develop into something more interesting the talent is in the kitchen imo but what is the neighborhood going to want. It would be nice to see a couple more filling dishes to tie the menu together. I agree with @PorkyBelly that the rice is mediocre at best if the fixed that I would be back more often because i love plain rice with pickles -there is no reason why it shouldn’t be at Roku level. They also have Ikura they cure in house that i didn’t try that sounds interesting
Sounds like somewhat of a different place than Derek Wilcox’s last gig in NY where I ate at the beginning of the pandemic before restaurants shut down (and before anyone really realized that NYC was in the midst of a deadly pandemic). That was a really high-end prix fixe sushi bar. Frankly, I don’t remember the rice and the sushi was really good, albeit maybe not the best I’ve ever had, but the fish soup was definitely the best I ever had. Ethereal is the only way to describe that soup. Sounds like maybe Inari is not the same high-end concept. Surprised the rice isn’t better given that Wilcox comes from a kaiseki background.
I do want emphasize that I would go back and where I’m critical it’s because I know they can be better. I felt the food was fairly priced for the level of execution and quality.
I never visited 69 Leonard St, but I followed them rather closely on IG.
As you mention, the food there looked like it was on a totally different level than the photos I see from Imari.
Imari seems totally dumbed down for the Brentwood crowd.
Sigh. That was what I was fearing. Sometimes it seems like we can’t have really nice things on the Westside. Also, 69 Leonard Street was quite small and I’m not sure the financials work out to do a high-end concept in a bigger space. Maybe rents are why we can’t have nice things on the Westside.
Disclaimer: I have never been to either 69 Leonard St or Imari
Having gyoza be one of the main menu items at an upscale Japanese restaurant is just strange.
I think it’s playing to the Brentwood crowd. The restaurants that so best here imo tend to be family friendly and middle of the road. Even Nagao which imari replaced was like that and always popular. Mind you they had better stuff if you knew what to ask for but mostly they sold rolls and basic nigiri.
My main hope is that they find a way to balance gyoza crowd and stuff that interests the Chef & foodies.