Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sushi Omakase and More at Hamasaku

Full disclaimer: I came here on a hosted media lunch, but I had also come back twice after that on my own dime (granted one of them was using the 30% off from the awesome Blackboard Eats). Hamasaku in West LA has actually been open for many years and is a Zagat favorite, but for some reason I hadn't really heard much about it and had not been until I was invited in. I've missed out! This place was great.

The omakase listed on the menu ($75) actually includes a lot of cooked items, so here's a tip: Go on any other day but Monday and sit at the sushi bar, preferably in front of the sushi chef, Yoya, who used to work at Sashi in Manhattan Beach.

My sushi lunch omakase started with some Uni with fried Yuba (tofu skin)

Uni Yuba
Big uni pieces and so fresh, but the best part is the contrast with the crunchy yuba. What a wonderful start to my lunch!

Next, a sashimi plate of: Blue fin tuna, aji snapper, young king mackerel, octopus. Served with kabosu (a sort of citrus) paste

Agedashi tofu. I always love the delicately fried agedashi tofu and the broth

 Big eye tuna from Hawaii
This tuna is very rich and fatty, almost like a chu-toro. Loved it. For the sushi they use haiga-mai (half-milled) rice. It's half way between brown and white rice so it has more nutrients than white rice but tastes just like white rice.

Brown barracuda (kamasu)
I've had barracuda before but didn't really remember what it was like until now. One of the leaner pieces but still had a great mouthfeel.

Mackerel is usually hit or miss for me, but apparently now is the perfect season. It was not fishy at all and it was even fattier than usual!

Local red king salmon from Northern California (I didn't know Nor Cal had king salmon!)
As you can see, this salmon looks so read, almost like tuna. It also had such a different flavor than regular salmon. It was meaty and very flavorful!

Salmon roe marinated in sweet soy sauce and yuzu skin

 Pike mackerel with grated radish
Leaner and a bit fishier than the earlier mackerel, but the grated radish was a really nice accompaniment.

Toro ... nothing else need to be said.

Shiokara: Squid liver marinated in salt and yuzu skin
This is pretty fishy and funky though the yuzu skin did a nice job cutting it. Yoya likes serving some pretty rare and weird stuff when you do omakase. On my last visit I had a really crunchy and salty herring roe.

Anago with yuzu
Because eel with the usual sweet sauce is overdone.

Hamasaku doesn't just have sushi, but also cooked items both traditional Japanese and Western style dishes. I tried the Salmon with togarashi hash, chive creme fraiche

After the salmon we moved back to sushi, though, with ankimo, which they had just finished cooking. Garnished with kinome leaves (Japanese Szechuan pepper)
This was also an ankimo very different than what you typically get. It's not the creamy version I got at Nozawa Bar, but its smoothness and flavor is definitely above the standard sushi bar quality. Both of them have their own unique attributes.

They always give you a plate of fruits at the end of your meal, but if you want something more, they do have a great dessert! Try the Mango pudding with pineapple sorbet, coconut cream, and sesame tuile. Tropical heaven.

11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
Hamasaku on Urbanspoon


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