Yasu (Beverly Hills) Take-Out: A Pictorial Essay

Chef Yasuhiro Ouchi, who first appeared on the North American omakase radar with his eponymous restaurant in Toronto, took over the Robertson Boulevard space formerly occupied by the Go by Kiyokawa. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to try Ouchi-san’s omakase in person before the quarantine order went into effect. But as luck would have it, in the midst of the quarantine, Yasu is now offering a Premium Sushi Box ($100 before tax and tip) for take-out.

Reservations and payment: Easy to order via Resy.

Pick-up: Timely, low-contact and with safety in mind. There is an abundance of easy street parking all along Robertson Boulevard these days. If you arrive ahead of time, spend a little time window-shopping at the Pagani dealership just a block north! #ThatHuayraShallBeMine

By the way, once inside, the Yasu space itself and the sushi counter both look very inviting - I cannot wait to try Yasu in person once omakase is permitted once again in the future.

Packaging: A clean, compact and minimalist box of nigiri! The Yasu Premium Sushi Box was one of the prettiest containers of food I’ve yet encountered in this era of take-out. The shoyu comes packed in a very cute little bottle, along with a menu of each enclosed item (with printed provenance of each piece, as well as their suggested course order). Something a bit strange, though, was the lack of any wasabi in my box… (No matter, luckily I had saved some of the freshly grated stuff still from my James Sugishita x Raku futomaki & chirashi box earlier that day!)

Pro-tip: With a few exceptions, the pieces are already organized in the suggested progression of omakase. (I chose to eat my tamago as the last nigiri item right before the cut rolls, but that’s just my M.O.)

… and now, ONTO THE FOOD!!! (I ask for ultimate forgiveness for not providing a photo of each separate piece - The hunger was overwhelming my clan by this point, not having had luxe sushi for over 3 hours by that time…)

Spanish Mackerel (sawara, from Japan) - First piece, and WOW! The rice is on point here. I mean, the mackerel itself was solid, but Yasu’s rice was well-packed, nicely shaped and pearly in bite. The shari showed a bit of lightness on vinegaring, and is also a tad denser (though nowhere near battera dense) when compared to some other places around town, but this is perhaps Ouchi-san’s style. It is interesting to note on the restaurant’s website that their rice packing is usually “loose” at the restaurant! Perhaps this pseudo-density is a pandemic-time modification which allows for better packaging of nigiri in take-out form? In any case, this proved to be a very satisfying initial bite.

Golden Eye Snapper (kinmedai, from New Zealand) - Nice subtle searing; I detect the use of binchotan, which imparts a nice aroma to this fish. A winner.

Grouper (hata, from Japan) - The cut was a tad too hard (chewy) on this piece of neta. But again, that wonderful rice makes this misstep almost imperceptible.

Horse Mackerel (aji, from Japan) - Beautiful. The finely grated scallions accompanied this so nicely. The height of aji season is usually later in the summer, but this piece amply shows that it’s pretty close to its peak already now.

Akami (lean tuna, from Japan) - Fine, but not mind-blowing. I found the complexity that I usually love about maguro wanting here. I saw that the next two pieces (chu-toro, o-toro) were to present a “crescendo” of tuna. Let’s move on…

Chu-toro (medium fatty tuna, from Japan) - Definitely an improvement from the akami, the chu-toro displayed “deepness” within its richness. The shari, again, made this nigiri all that more enjoyable.

O-toro (fatty tuna, from Japan) - Luscious, as o-toro should be. At this point in my mind, I’m not even sure if the chu-toro and o-toro were even from the same fish as the akami.

Amberjack (kanpachi, from Japan) - Fantastic! This summer fish is fabulous.

Mackerel (saba, from Japan) - Right on. Yasu’s hikarimono has been great thus far!

Yellowtail (buri, from Japan) - May is a bit late in the season for buri, although this piece was tasty nonetheless.

Scallop (hotategai, from Japan) - Excellent, excellent, excellent! One of the highlight bites of the entire omakase, the scallop showed depth and gorgeous texture.

Sweet shrimp (ama ebi, from Santa Barbara) - The shrimp was cooked and not raw (which I understand, given the take-out format), but the preparation was thoughtful, as Ouchi-san did not commit the sin of overcooking it.

Sea eel (anago, from Nagasaki) - Nice, subtle nitsume topped this piece; another summer hit!

Zuwaigani (snow crab, from Canada) - Lovely, and the rice paired nicely with it.

Octopus (tako, from Hokkaido) - Kudos! Yasu’s tako was wonderfully seasoned and cooked. Furthermore, its texture offered the palate an interesting juxtaposition of softness and ‘bite’ all at the same time. This is difficult to achieve.

Sea Urchin (uni, from Hokkaido) - (In my movie trailer announcer voice:) “In a world season full of unpredictable urchin roe," Ouchi-san has managed to procure one of the most pristine bites of uni I’ve had in the last year… Heck, the last two years! I wanted the afterglow of this bite to last forever.

Salmoe Roe (ikura, from Alaska) - Good briny eggs on a bed of yummy shari, presented in a well-made gunkanmaki.

Egg omelette (tamagoyaki, housemade) - Undoubtedly on the top five list of tamagoyaki in Southern California. The Yasu tamago is dense yet on the thin side, and thoroughly enjoyable!

Fatty Tuna and Pickled Gourd Cut Roll (toro-taku maki, housemade) - Hey, how did they know this was one of my favorite taste combos in the entire universe?! What a terrific conclusion to a superb omakase take-out meal!

It’s so heartening to see more and more itamae retrain their focus on the rice in L.A.’s sushi culture. Ouchi-san’s quality shari in this box showed me the power to impress sushi fans, and it can even overpower some of the common shortcomings of neta. This take-out Premium Sushi Box was my introduction to Yasu. Obviously, it was under sub-optimal conditions for maximum enjoyment of omakase. However, if this is any indication of Ouchi-san’s abilities, and what he will be offering in person at his sushi bar, then I will be among the first in line to try it after Yasu re-opens.

RECOMMENDED.

Yasu Beverly Hills
265 S. Robertson Bl.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
424.355.0257
yasu-sushibar.com/beverlyhills

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Thanks for the great report @J_L. :slight_smile: I’m glad Ouchi-san took the time to season each piece (and not have it just naked). Can’t wait to try it!

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Looks great and a lot better than what I had in person. Was Sergio in the house making the sushi? When I was there during opening he was in “the back” and didn’t even bother coming out to make any
of the sushi which I thought was very odd. So I got pieces that looked like this:

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Whoa - you may have gotten kohai’ed…

LOL this may be the first instance I’m aware of in which the takeout version sushi is actually better than the in-person omakase!

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Yeah I did not have a good experience. And Sergio hiding out in the back at his eponymous restaurant during their opening week is baffling to me. Did you notice who was behind the counter?

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Ditto

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Same thing happened to me at Q (Downtown) during their opening, but the Q shari was whack, whereas the shari at Yasu was quite quite good.

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Yah that happened to us as well (and 2 of my other dear friends), and it happened three times for us. Not going back.

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