Monday, May 7, 2018

Omakase at the Hidden Sushi | Bar (Encino, CA)

I heard about a sushi bar in Encino with a name pretty impossible to google: Sushi | Bar. This is Phillip Frankland Lee's hidden omakase-only sushi bar behind Woodley Proper in Encino. Sushi | Bar has two seatings per night and only seats eight people at a time. Reservations for the night opens at 10 am that morning on their website (EDIT: Sushi|Bar now takes reservations up to 2 weeks in advance!)

Sushi | Bar is hidden inside Woodley Proper. You check in at Woodley Proper and wait at the bar with a welcome cocktail before the party is escorted to the secret room. Sushi | Bar is not a traditional Japanese sushi restaurant. Phillip Frankland Lee and his team serves up a creative 17-course omakase of sushi with unusual garnishes and preparations.

We chatted with the sushi chefs and other diners and the 17 courses and their drink pairings come and go in rapid succession. I wasn't able to take detailed notes of every single preparations and photos of all the dishes, unfortunately, but here are what you might expect out of this wonderful and unique omakase experience.

We started with a West Coast oyster with whipped nigorizake and caviar, among other ingredients. I opted for the drink pairing which mixed in sake, beer, and cocktails - starting with sake to pair with the oysters.

There's the Purple Peruvian scallop with noc chuom and leche de tigre
Sushi Bar

Oo-toro, pineapple, brown sugar, wasabi, soy
Sushi Bar

White prawn from the Gulf of Mexico marinated for 3 days in chermoula. The prawn was oasted, then topped with dehydrated matcha, kelp, wasabi, and soy
The prawn was paired with a cocktail made with Japanese whisky, port, lemon, matcha, kelp, soy - the three ingredients matched the garnish on the prawn sushi itself.
Spanish octopus braised for 12 hours in pineapple and garlic

We had a snoked albacore with garlic puree and nori, which was paired with my favorite drink of the night with shochu, tea, ginger foam
Sushi Bar

New Zealand salmon belly, lightly scorched and seared with the skin on. Topped with pickled lemon hearts, fresh wasabi. Instead of sushi rice, the salmon belly is served atop prawn tartar!

One of my favorites was this Russian king crab leg dynamite. It's topped off with mustard made with beets as its base. The crab dynamite was bruleed, topped with lemon juice, Himalayan rock salt, puffed red quinoa.
Sushi Bar

The crab leg dynamite was paired with a cocktail of raspberry and lychee in Umeshu, shochu, sparkling sauvignon blanc garnished with sage and lychee
Sushi Bar

Japanese wild cut escolar with jackfruit, ikura, wasabi, soy, and scallion
Sushi Bar

Bone marrow with wasabi, salt, soy, topped with ponzu and crispy garlic.
Sushi Bar
Yes, bone marrow sushi, and it was great. It was rich and decadent, of course, but the sushi rice and light touch of wasabi, soy, and garlic balanced it quite nicely.

30-day aged sirloin, soy, wasabi
Sushi Bar

What I'm calling the trifecta: Foie gras cured in sambuca and absinthe, topped with bruleed uni, pickled onion, and scallion. For this you can add-on black truffles for an extra charge, and obviously, I did.
Sushi Bar

The "desserts" were mostly composed of nigiri sushi as well. The first dessert was an avocado soaked in soy sauce and rolled in amarinth. In lieu of the sushi rice, the avocado was topped with Santa Barbara uni, roasted marshmallow made with yuzu. It's an uni avocado S'mores!
I was so excited I forgot to take a photo.

Next dessert was more of an awesome breakfast. It is composed of roasted fresh water eel with maple soy reduction. It was topped with dehydrated candied bacon, soft boiled egg marinated in soy and mirin, sprinkled with matcha salt. Wish I could have had this the next morning.
Sushi Bar

We finished with a matcha white chocolate and a hot drink made with matcha, umeshu plum wine, yuzu, and hot water.
Sushi Bar

These were just some of the seventeen courses of sushi I had that evening. Each sushi here was the result of a long creative process and intricate preparations, so the menu does not change too often, but there are variations as seasons change. Sushi | Bar is a great place to go and try a different kind of sushi experience. It is one of the most exciting new sushi places in the city, and worth trekking to Encino for.

Sushi | Bar
16101 Ventura Blvd #242
Encino, CA 91436
Sushi | Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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