815 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 7/14/16
Shibumi opened in June on a quiet block of downtown LA. It’s pretty unassuming from the outside; I walked right past it at first, but it’s a gorgeous spot once you walk in through the door. The restaurant is long and narrow with a very long bar on the left side (apparently 400 year old wood). Much of the action is here, while tables make up the other side of the restaurant for a more intimate setting.
David Schlosser is the chef, a man who has spent time at a number of notable restaurants including Urasawa in LA and Kikunoi Honten, a three-star kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto. Here, Schlosser brings his experience to Kappo-style dining. There is no sushi on the short menu (although there’s definitely raw fish), focused on raw/cold plates and a section featuring hot fried and grilled foods. Everything is served in small plates meant to be shared. We ordered a bunch of things off the menu, trying quite a bit of what was on there.
chilled corn soup, yuba, puffed rice
This soup had plenty of delicious natural sweetness and a bit of smokiness from the bonito topping. Puffed rice provided some crunch in each bite.
silky egg tofu, uni, fresh nori & wasabi
This tofu was silky smooth with nice sea flavor from the sea urchin and seaweed; mild wasabi provided some contrasting heat.
japanese sea-bream sashimi, ginger bud, pickled plum-irizake
The sea bream was tender with clean flavor. Strong ginger and subtle plum flavors accented the sashimi.
crispy monkfish “kara-age”, citrus, kelp salt
I thought this take on chicken karaage was a fun one, well-executed. It came out hot and crispy with a moist, meaty monkfish interior.
grilled heritage pork in koji rice, pickled daikon, leek
Grilled medium rare, these pork ribs were slightly sweet and very savory. There was a bit of funky flavor from the koji rice (a fermented rice), while pickled daikon provided some bright acidic contrast.
california holstein beef strip, grilled, fresh wasabi, nara-zuke pickle
Two pieces of steak were on this plate – one was a little thinner, a bit chewy and not that flavorful. The other one, topped with wasabi, was quite good – much juicier and had more of a beefy flavor. I also preferred the wasabi topping to the pickles.
grilled rice omusubi with mushroom, burdock & gourd
These omusubi were piping hot with a crispy outside and tender rice interior filled with earthy flavors. Very filling.
koji (r)ice cream, strawberry & elderflower
classic warabi mochi
We shared two desserts. The ‘rice cream’ was a rich and creamy take on ice cream topped with strawberry. The brown sugar mochi had an addicting soft texture, sweet but not overly so.
The meal at Shibumi was a good one; highlights were the silky egg tofu, monkfish kara-age, and “rice cream.” The food here is a little unique for downtown and brings another nice option to the neighborhood restaurant scene.