Omakase, a phrase meaning “I’ll leave it to you”, is the Japanese equivalent of a chef’s tasting menu, with your dining experience crafted from start to finish by the man in the kitchen. Although the concept could be found in high-end sushi restaurants for some time, you could say omakase dining really took off in America after everyone watched Jiro and his symphony of sushi.
Beverly Hill’s latest entry into the high end omakase experience comes at the hands of Chef Shigenori Fujimoto, a veteran of the Los Angeles sushi scene. Before joining the team at Shiki, Chef Fujimoto helmed both Matsuhisa and Michelin-star winning Asanebo.
Like Asanebo, Chef Fujimoto’s menu is not dominated by sushi, although the presentation of each bite is expertly crafted to sushi-like standards. To start, Chef Fujimoto touched upon both the traditional (a delectable block of fresh tofu), and the unpredictable (tender tomatoes served in a broth-filled martini glass). We were also served one of his trademark dishes, the paper-thin sliced hamachi topped with truffle shavings.
All these dishes were the lead-in for what is arguably the showcase of the restaurant: the Wagyu beef. The beef they serve here is the real deal – well sourced straight from Japan and perfectly prepared and presented on a spoon, it’s a single bite of tender goodness that coats your tongue with flavor and never lets go. It’s really mind-bendingly good.
Our omasake continued with a variety of sushi, including tender uni and marbled tuna belly – all of course perfectly crafted and presented on a long platter. We finished the evening with a variety of charming, delicate Japanese desserts (although deep-down, I was still craving another round of Wagyu. Beef for dessert, anyone?)
While Little Tokyo is filling up with sushi and ramen shops, it takes a restaurant like Shiki to remind us what can be achieved in when you pair the finest-quality ingredients with the hands of an expert chef.