Shibumi (Los Angeles, CA)
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.
Darin, I think I may have enjoyed Kinjiro more than Shibumi. I think my palette is just not refined enough to get everything out of it, but willing to try it again. What is your take?
I think there’s two very different styles. My preference is for Kinjiro, but it may be that the sty;e and menu just falls more within my wheelhouse. Maybe it’s just what we ordered, but Shibumi’s flavors were more delicate and refined while I’ve found Kinjiro’s to be more bold and, quite frankly, exciting.