There was a moment when I worried that it would be the standard, snooze-inducing roster of yellowtail, salmon, tuna, etc. etc. But at $60, and with my love and trust of Asanebo and Sushi Gen, I decided it was worth a try. And it turned out to be one of the best omakase I've had in the city, especially for this price.
Here's what I got for the rest of my omakase rolls:
Sushi #2: Squid with ginger and ponzu.- loved the fresh crunch and well balanced savory/sweet with a kick from the ginger and wasabi
Sushi #3: Tuna
Sushi #4: Seared toro (one of my favorite bites of the meal, decadently fatty with just the right amount of smokiness and the whole thing just melts in your mouth and makes your eyes roll back as a gentle moan inadvertently escapes from your lips)
Sushi #5: Barracuda, gorgeously seared and sliced / shaped in such a way that it was somehow evocative to me of an origami armadillo
Sushi #6: Baby toro with ponzu jelly, scallion and ginger
Sushi #7: Sea perch torched for smokiness in perfect balance with the natural sweetness of the fish (chef described it as 'like white fish toro')
Sushi #8: Ikura (salmon roe) marinated in sardine dashi and steamed. This was another creative departure from the traditional roll - the process of marinating and steaming both pulled back the bright brininess typical of salmon roe, and intensified the umami by introducing another fish element. Delicious.
Sushi #9: Octopus brushed with a sauce made from tea, lentils and gyoza sauce - this one really exhibited the creativity of the team - they do traditional sushi really well, but also will do some creative things I've never seen at any other sushi spot. Chef Hiro explained that with this one, they do cut the octopus a little bit thicker, intentionally so that as you bite into the piece and the 'meat' breaks apart, it releases the aromas upwards into your palate. A fantastic piece to experience!
Sushi #10: Uni (sea urchin) from Santa Barbara, of course one of my favorite bites as an uni addict!!!
Extra sushi #1: Amberjack
And as a reward for my seemingly endless stomach, Chef Hiro also gave me a block of tamago (sweet egg omelette)
Not having known that the first appetizer of omakase was going to be tofu, I also ordered the Goma tofu: unfortunately turns out this was a bit too dense and 'sticky' for me. I definitely preferred the agedashi tofu.
Serving it with toasted seaweed to add crisp crunch to counterbalance the richness of the uni paste was perfect.
Loved this dish!!!!
There were so many more washoku dishes I wanted to try, including a few A5 wagyu ones, but I'd tested the limits of my stomach capacity, and by this time I'd also pushed past their official closing time. But I vowed to be back again soon!
(And for sake / Japanese whiskey fans: SHIKI also serves tasting flights of sake for $18, as well as award winning whiskeys like Yamazaki, and interesting ones like Akashi White Oak.)
All in all, omakase at SHIKI is a fantastic deal that I would definitely return for, even without a dentist visit as my excuse to be in the area - I would drive out for this, one that I now consider among my favorite sushi (and washoku) spots in the city.
On a 7 point scale:Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 6.5 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 7 stars
Overall experience - 6.5 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite mark)
Probability of return visit - 100%
410 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210