Yamakase – Over the Top Sushi Experience by Ex-Hump Chef, Los Angeles, CA

March 03, 2015
Over-the-Top Omakase dinner at Yamakase, the very exclusive sushi restaurant that required me to write a letter just to get a reservation. One seating, 9 people. The dinner was about 4 hours, a food marathon of over 24 courses. Yamakase is considered a Urasawa knockoff, and I can see why. Every ingredient was top of the line, and often rare. Chef Yamamoto-San (The Hump) told a story about each dish, and it often included comments like “only in season two weeks” and “I am only chef in LA/USA who can get this item.” It was an extremely tasty meal, but it is not exactly authentic. It is not Kaiseki. I would describe it as an extremely opulent fish feast. I appreciate that almost every item had rich accompaniments. If you look at the picture you will note Truffle, Uni, Crab, Caviar, Toro, Foie Gras, soft-cooked quail eggs, often all of them, were on every dish. I love all these items but it was very rich and palate- exhausting. And I missed the simplicity that comes from just showing the fish off with a simple soy-dashi enhancement. Three funny moments. 1) When he handed out the certificate proving the meat we consumed in one of the dishes was Kobe it included the cow’s nose print. TMI. 2) At one point when I was asking the very friendly chef about a bit of technical detail on one of the sauces he told me I “think too much” and I “should just eat.” And finally, at the end of the night he announced to the room that sorry he was out of business cards (akin to Totoroko it is how you get around the arduous reservation process.) However, on our way out when no one else was looking they pulled out a stack of cards and handed us one with very warm words about welcoming us back again in the future. Yay we made the cut! All-in-all I am really glad we went and I would go again, but I still think Shunji -Japanese Cuisine- Yuko Sakurai reigns supreme.

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