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

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So, it only took one day!

Two questions:

  1. How much for the above?

  2. Is the head sushi chef listed on their website (https://shikibeverlyhills.com/intro.html), Shigenori Fujimoto, now history?

On the kohada, which we had a day before you: he said to us—though he wasn’t the one who made it—that kohada is most sushi chefs’ favourite fish.

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If I’m a baller, anyone for ping pong? :wink:

Great write up as always!

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Thanks for the report! I too was going to ask the damage per person.

Do you have pictures of the sake menu? How much do they charge for the Daishichi Ginkan? I can’t imagine it anywhere below $1800 (plus so few bottles were made considering its production and significance).

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I live/eat thru you!!

Kohada is one of the most traditional pieces for sushi, a true taste of Edo

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Hi @MyAnnoyingOpinions, @beefnoguy,

It was $200 / person, plus t&t. But we were beyond stuffed. In hindsight, I should’ve stopped about 4 pieces earlier. :sweat_smile: Which would put closer to $175.

Even our biggest eater friend was stuffed, but we were so eager to try more of Mori-san’s Sushi since it had been so long.

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As it’s 12 pieces of nigiri + tekkamaki + handroll, i’m assuming the bulk of the cost was in the cooked items and sake.

By comparison, at our last sushi omakase at Mori in mid-2016 we got 24 pieces of nigiri + tamago + housemade tofu to start + dessert for $160/head before tax and tip. But I’d guess Mori’s prices have risen in the last year and a half as well so I’d assume it would be closer for just sushi, adjusting for sake. You have to pay more for that Canon Dr. rent, I guess.

Sorry for bringing money into this.

Abalone (when high-quality) and kegani are both very expensive. I remember when I used to eat at Sushi Yotsuya a couple of years ago, adding on a serving of abalone would be ~$20-25, if not more (don’t quote me on that). That’s at Tarzana strip mall rent :wink:

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Right. A similar story at our omakase dinner at Shunji in late 2014. Only five pieces of nigiri but it came to $140/head before tax/tip. Hairy crab was featured there too in the cooked section. And our lunch at Shiki this week became more expensive just by adding on the nodoguro ($20 for two pieces).

I wonder if it would be possible to do a sushi only omakase with Chef Mori at Shiki.

If you’re fond of sushi-only omakase (or, at least, the QPR it suggests), I highly recommend checking out Shibucho for dinner if you have an open slot (or perhaps next time you’re in LA). It’s a bit out of the way if you’re mostly in the Westside, but very close to Koreatown.

For your first time Shige will ask you what you want to eat rather than automatically serving you omakase; I would actually go ahead and pick out whatever strikes your fancy. (Specify nigiri rather than sashimi, just to be safe.) There’s not much he keeps in his case that isn’t good, as I suspect that the majority of his business is from regulars. It helps not having to have a set menu or play to the lunch crowd.

His Yellowtail & Family selection is very good - hamachi, kanpachi, and shima aji are staples. He’ll sometimes have wild buri when it’s in season. I don’t think he keeps too much white fish around but his hirame kobujime is great when he has it - or maybe I just need to ask for more white fish :wink: Obviously he has tuna, and almost always toro (often chu- and o-), but I’m pretty sure they’ll be bluefin (feel free to ask, though). His aji and saba are great. He also marinates his own salmon, which makes it one of the more unique bites of salmon you’ll ever have as sushi. His sweet shrimp is top-tier, as is much of his shellfish (aoyagi, aoyagi abductor [kobashira], mirugai [sometimes], hotate). His ikura is decent but admittedly I liked Shunji’s more. The uni is nearly always very good, since I suspect he just won’t buy it if it’s not up to his standards, and it’s probably one of the things he gets locally. Anago is great, goes without saying. What am I missing? Oh, the squid is great. Albacore is surprisingly good, but it works better in his Italian-inflected salad - with arugula, tomatoes, high-quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and ponzu. I don’t love octopus sushi in general so I can’t comment on how it is here. The tamago is excellent.

If it turns out that the toro isn’t bluefin, make sure to round off the meal with a toro-takuan-shiso handroll. Otherwise the salmon skin handroll may be a pleasant surprise - but don’t burn yourself.

If it’s pear season ask if he has any poached pear for dessert. Tiramisu is a close second.

Getting an exact price tag is impossible, given that it’s based entirely on what you eat, but a good rule of thumb is ~$10 per order of fish (2 pieces per order - a little less for the standard stuff, a little more for the higher-end). I think you should also have no problem negotiating a price ahead of time and letting him stop you when you near it, but I’ve never tried. If you come with another person you may try ordering different items to try a broader swath of items and mitigate the 2-pieces per order style, but I’m not sure how he’d take to such trickery.

Reservations highly recommended.

tl;dr: You should be able to eat 8 orders of fish (16 pieces) + a handroll + dessert for ~$100pp (pre-tax/tip) without too much trouble. To me this is the best value in this city, for this quality. The only place I have tried with a similar QPR was indeed Sushi Yotsuya, though I haven’t been in a while so I can’t swear on whether it’s as good. Call ahead - even same-day reservations are better than nothing. Order whatever you want. Leave happy.

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I’ve had abalone but I find abalone liver to be absolutely tasty! God I could eat that over some rice.

Thanks for the Shibucho info!

A lot of the bad reviews are from people who had no rez and never tasted the food

It’s currently my favorite spot. There were times where I was going twice a month, though I’ve dialed back a bit lately (on all eating out, admittedly).

When I’m eating alone I tend to lean more heavily on the sashimi than the sushi. This will bump up the price tag but you will actually be eating twice the fish, it’s not unreasonable.

The sashimi side of things is maybe even more interesting - halibut usuzukuri w/scallions, ponzo, and outstanding homemade momiji oroshi is great, and the hotate, thinly sliced and rolled with shiso, consistently surprises me with how amazing it is (and I already love scallop).

He also has some “cooked” dishes, though I couldn’t swear to the specifics. I know he does make chawanmushi, but I haven’t tried it yet. He told me to a few days in advance to reserve it - he makes the dashi from scratch and doesn’t often keep it on hand, due to limited demand.

If you’re feeling adventurous you might ask for his riceless saba/vegetable maki, with cucumber/ginger/shiso/etc. It’s a very unusual flavor and texture profile, owing largely to the gari, and might be a bit of an acquired taste… (@J_L, @CiaoBob, @BradFord - you wouldn’t happen to know the name of this roll? He told me it was traditional back in Japan, but I can’t find anything…)

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Hi @MyAnnoyingOpinions,

Yes you can do Nigiri Only if you want. He asked us in the beginning and we wanted to try a full variety of items from Mori-san, to see what he’s offering these days. :slight_smile:

Does he actually have a hand in (all) the cooked items as well? Shiki seems to have an extensive kitchen.

What trickery is this? I’ve never had to eat both pieces of sushi when with a friend. Many times, when dining alone at places I’m a regular, the chef will even kindly serves me one-piece sushi orders.

Great tip @MyAnnoyingOpinions and great report as usual @Chowseeker1999! Happy 2018 :tada:

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Hi @beefnoguy,

I had never heard of Daishichi Ginkan. Why is it so expensive? Was it really rare? :slight_smile:

They also had a Fukukomachi Junmai Daiginjo that the menu says is “400 years” selling for… $85 a glass! :open_mouth:

Here are some pics of the sake menu. We’ve tried some of the bottles on there before at other places, but some I don’t recognize. Thanks!

shiki_003b

shiki_004

shiki_006

shiki_007

shiki_008

shiki_009

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Great report as usual @Chowseeker1999. How’s the neta selection at shiki compared to mori, i.e. was there more fish to try in case one was still hungry? Asking for a friend. thanks.

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Thanks @PorkyBelly. :slight_smile:

The selection was not as interesting or extensive as Mori Sushi (when Mori-san was there, or even now with Maru-san). However, we were stuffed even with this current selection (and it was very good). :slight_smile:

I think I saw another ~3 - 4 types of fish being offered that evening (skimming their menu insert, and overhearing some conversation), but Mori-san said the fish he served us that evening were the ones he felt like he wanted to serve us / was most confident in.

Right now, I think Shunji’s has the most extensive array / unique fish of the top places, with Mori Sushi and then Shiki (w/ Mori) after that. Worst case, your “friend” can just order an extra order of that legendary Jiro-style Kohada, Sayori, Tai and Kinmedai. :wink:

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Thanks for the entire sake menu pics!

Ahh ONLY $1250 for Daishichi Kinkan. I keep forgetting this is not New York…

Before talking about Kinkan, it’s good to talk about two other similar (but different) products of Daishichi

From Left to Right: Myoka Rangokyu, Myoka Rangokyu Grand Cuvee, Ginkan

The baseline Myoka Rangokyu represents the pinnacle of their flagship Junmai Daiginjo (before the more limited lineups and special editions) sake by Dashichi brewery. This company is extremely famous in Japan for not just producing quality sake, but is also very well known for adhering to very traditional methods. Thus the more prized offerings are lower in production. On top of that, their packaging is some of the best in the business.

For the MR bottle alone: the glass used in the bottle is Murano (Italy), and the engraved plate is German. I believe this applies to the Grand Cuvee as well.

All three bottles I believe are brewed via the Kimoto method, are Shizuku (free run drip), and Genshu (undiluted). Internet websites can easily describe the technical details of these three terms. On top of that, the rice polish technology (referred to as flat rice polishing) by Daishichi is done in such a way that they lay claim to fame for it (although I was told by someone that they did not invent this technology). The rice polish ratio is always 50% for their Junmai Daiginjo, no matter the grade/quality/price.

For most higher end Daishichi bottles, you will notice that the back label says BY (bottling year) which predates the current year by about 3, which means there was a 3 year minimum aging prior to release.
This will especially be the case for MR, MR Grand Cuvee, and Ginkan.

The Grand Cuvee is a fascinating one…and is like a blended whiskey. The amount of bottles released per year is even more limited. What Daishichi does is blend upwards of 20 years worth of past releases of MR (the ratios unknown).

And kudos if you read it this far. This bit is from Daishichi regarding the Ginkan

“Daishichi junmai daiginjo sake Ginkan was used again last month at the important annual ceremony of Koyasan, the historic Shingon Buddhist temple mountain in western Japan. Crafted specially for the celebration of Koyasan’s 1200th anniversary in May last year, this complex, deep-flavored and superbly elegant sake has wowed sake connoisseurs in and outside Japan since its debut. Daishichi made this product by using a small portion of holy water from Koyasan in addition to Daishichi’s local water. We brewed each year since 2010 this sacred version of our very best, undiluted, natural-drip sake and picked the most ideal brew from the barrels produced during the four years. In Ginkan, we have combined the finest ingredients and all the most ideal tools, techniques and procedures developed by generations of Japan’s top artisans. We have carefully selected the finest grains of top-grade Yamada Nishiki sake rice produced in Hyogo Prefecture; prepared the rice thoroughly with our state-of-the-art super flat rice polishing technique; and brewed by leveraging the functions of microorganisms according to the three-century-old kimoto method. This one-of-a-kind sake was completed without dilution and by the collection of free-run drops which is a way to obtain the purest part of each brew. Ginkan was matured for years and poured into 1,200 bottles for limited sale.”

““Ginkan” means “Milky Way.” This name was chosen by the Head Priest of Sanboin, Hidaka Zenryu, based on a poem by Kobo Daishi. The calligraphy in which the Japanese name of the sake has been written, was copied from the own handwriting of Kobo Daishi, who was also a famous calligrapher.
The design of the label was inspired by esoteric Buddhist art and has been splendidly realized using the makie (raised lacquer) technique from Kaga. The pewter emblem on the bottle has the form of a lotus-shaped kei, an ancient percussion instrument used in temples.
This truly is a superb sake that brings several Japanese crafts together.”

My take that this is a variant of MR, but blended with holy water (blessed by temple priests), and blended batches from last 7 years (like Grand Cuvee).

Shiki’s sake menu seems a little too all over the place and random for me.

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