disclaimer upfront - Shoku uses Astrea Caviar. I’ve become good friends with the guys and we hang out often. BUT we paid full freight for this dinner for a good friend’s birthday, no discounts given other. Since the experience seems to be not well documented other than photos on their IG story, thought I’d share it with the FTC fam.
Shoku - one of the premier private dining experiences in LA right now. They come to the dinner with the three Chef Owners: Cody, Brian, David - Manager Russ - two other prep cooks and a server. They use top-notch ingredients. Seafood from Yuto, Rare Tea Cellar for spices/seasoning, multiple Wagyu Purveyors to get the good stuff. All carbs are made in house. I toured their kitchen (they have an actual restaurant and commercial kitchen space, but do not actually use the restaurant dining space) and it’s retrofitted with some of the best tools you can buy. Food is fun and whimsical with lots of throwback style dishes to growing up.
My first time doing a full on Shoku meal thanks to the graciousness of my good friend and wine consultant Cameron Hughes (no not that Cameron Hughes). We rented out an AirBnB since only one of us had a house large enough to host all 10 guests and it wasn’t possible with a kid running around.
Menu for the day
Chef David’s knife presentation for course 1
Presentation of the two Tottori Matsubagani Snow Crabs
Caviar & Banana - Cherrywood Smoked Manzano Banana, Medjool Date Dulce de Leche. Astrea Grand Oscietra Caviar
Not sure what I was expecting from the dish. When I saw Caviar and Banana on the menu I had insert nick young confused face. I know they’ve been doing R&D on the dish for awhile cause they really wanted to do a caviar & banana dish but it was the first time I got to actually try it. It was easily my second favorite dish of the night. It hit all the asian flavor receptors of “not too sweet” because of how the ocean savouriness of the caviar mingled perfectly with the ripeness of the banana. I ate all of mine, then ate the half my wife didn’t eat (she doesn’t like caviar… i know the shame)… and then scraped up the sauce with the knife. Which by the way, was the only dish we used the knife on ha.
Peanut Butter & Jelly - mine was a Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup butter with Oishii Berry compote and a Harry Berrie’s dust over a brioche toast. The meat eaters got one with a Foie Gras Mousse which I forgot to take a photo of.
Delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness on the berries. Somehow quite rich but not heavy.
A5 Kobe, Truffle, Caviar presentation One of the small number of restaurants/chefs that use actual Kobe that’s licensed from the Kobe.
Snow Crab Glizzy The previously pictured snow crab, house made Shokupan, Grand Oscietra
The crab legs are basically soaked in Beurre Bordier butter. Since I didn’t eat it - I asked my wife and she said “I need 3 more of these asap”.
Both snow crab ended up with enough meat for 10 sandwiches.
Maitake Glizzy Same as the above but with Maitake for me.
Can’t go wrong - butter/mushroom/bun/caviar.
Filet o Fish their signature dish is the Filet o Fish.
Freshly baked brioche bun with tempura fried Hokkaido Monkfish with a 100 grams of Grand Oscietra caviar mixed into the tartar sauce to increase the savoriness and lighten the pickled flavor profile.
My wife also asked for 3 more of these.
Patty o Potato For me - Weiser Family Farm Magic Myrna Potato flash fried.
The potato is quickly fried to give it shape and a crunchy batter crust but the potato itself is soft and creamy. The best potato croquette I’ve had. I was curious how it’d go with the tartar sauce but as Chef Cody always tells me when he’s talking about the dishes they are creating “trust me it’s fire”. Man wasn’t wrong.
Sweet Corn Agnolotti My wife’s one dish request. Even though corn isn’t quite in season, but certain farms are starting to pump out a little bit of sweet corn. Handmade Agnlotti, sage brown butter, 36 month vacca bianca parm, black truffle.
Crowd favorite - who doesn’t love Sweet Corn Agnolotti? Great chew on the pasta.
Magic Myrna Ghnocchi Weiser Family Magic Myrna Potato, Parmigiana Sabayon, black winter truffle.
These guys are obsessed with Pasta. Absolutely obsessed with making pasta and eating pasta. The time and money they’ve spent in research and development is impressive for doing usually just one pasta dish a night. Incredible soft pillows of potato goodness in an elegant sauce.
Sukiyaki Warashita Dashi, Tamari Cured Egg Yolk, assorted veggies for mine
I had one dish request, Sukiyaki. That egg yolk over the goeey rich sukiyaki and rice was perfect.
Sukiyaki A5 Kobe strip instead of additional veggies.
Cavir & Ikura Donabe Hokkaido Ikura, Grand Oscietra Caviar, 48 month barrel aged Kombu
They always end the night with a Donabe. This time they did Hokkaido Ikura Donabe. The Kombu is the extra special ingredient. I was hanging out in their kitchen when they had just taken delivery of this 48 month barrel aged Kombu from Rare Tea Cellars. Wild Kombu from Hokkaido which is aged for four years, roughly $100/lb. It has these beautiful white specs that line the Kombu. Cody boiled a pot of water and placed a piece of the Kombu inside. It was a seamless umami bomb as we sipped it out of tea cups.
I digress - the kombu makes an incredible stock for the rice. The interplay of the briny profile of the Ikura with the umami of the caviar is an Eggcelent adventure. Light yuzu zest is incorporated for brightness.
Mango Sticky Rice Sundae Kesar Mango Ripple, Sho-Chiku-Bai rice. Caramelized Coconut Flakes.
I love ice cream that has chew to it (like Carmela ice cream) but with richness. Sometimes places have it too chewy and there’s too much added into it that it tastes artificial. This had a wonderful sweet ripe mango and the mouthfeel with ground rice. The coconut flake nuggets - bag em up i’d eat it all.
my dish of the night. Cody placed this down in front of us, told us it was an experiment, and wanted us to try without telling us what it was. It’s a Red Wakayama Sansho ice cream. If there’s two things these guys are obsessed with its 1) Pasta 2) Sichuan food.
The initial flavor was just a sweet vanilla-like ice cream but then around 10 seconds you start to build a sweet floral heat that adds small steps of spicy lemongrass. Then it just lingers. It’s not a heavy obtrusive spice, but one that just lays itself calmly down on your palate and doesn’t go away for a couple of minutes. Probably one of the coolest (no pun intended) things I’ve eaten in awhile.
Sour Patch Push Pop Sour Patch Kids separated, churned & layered
Pretty much exactly as you’d think - if you love Sour Patch Kids you’ll love this.
Milk and Cookies
Their signature dessert - it’s spherical banana milk and a thin chocolate chip walnut cookie. Eat it in one bite, the lining of the milk bursts and you have a mouthful of milk and cookies.