Restaurants & Bars 5

Urasawa

jschyun | Sep 30, 2004 12:49 AM

I have a ton of pics that I am putting up somewhere (if I can find a spot). Email me if you want to look at them.

Frankly, I would go here over French Laundry which is the only other restaurant in CA that I can think of that is around $400 or so. I mean, at French Laundry, you get cute takes on dishes like "coffee and donuts" but somehow, I just don't feel like going there. Also, I never went to Ginza Sushiko because, somehow the food didn't appeal to me then, but now I'm regretting it, if only so I could have seen Urasawa while he was still an apprentice.

My favorites:

The chawan mushi: egg custard with Russian beluga caviar, gold leaf, uni, and a thin gelee (of something) was of course, unbelievable.

Shabu shabu with foie gras, scallops and finely minced hamo fish (to reduce the impact of the bones which I didn't even realize were there). Sweet Jesus

The sort of toro I've only seen in magazines and books, but not face to face. So marbled with fat it looks kind of pale and frosty. Dear [insert deity here]! At Urusawa, I had my fill. After you taste all the dishes in his omakase dinner he asks you if you would like seconds of anything. Bad move, Urasawa. I was eating so much toro, uni, ikura, that at one point, Urasawa looked at me and said, "Wow, you eat a lot!" I guess it's because I'm a small Asian girl, but I have a very flexible stomach esp when I like something. Actually, I could have eaten more, but after 4 hours, I needed to get home so I could be useful at work the next day.

The gobo in one of the vegetable dishes was perfect, absolutely perfect. Beautiful.

This one sushi that he made with rice kneaded with finely chopped shiso leaves. If you or I tried to knead rice like that, it would turn into a gummy mess, like mochi even. The light green rice roll was topped with Japanese pike makerel(?) and then the fish was branded with thin hot metal rods so that it seared the flesh and started the fat oozing out of the fish. I could have eaten this all night.

Everything is made from organic ingredients, and many times are made by his own two little hands. He made the salt. He made the salt! I think he made or at least blended the soy sauce. The soy sauce tastes like a mixture of soy and bonito but i could be wrong. But definitely a fish note. I think he said he bought the rice, but I fully expect that he knows how to grow it, or at least how he wants it to be grown.

Others have written at length about many of the other dishes. I have to finish some work or I'd write some more. I had like at least 25 dishes so it would be a nightmare to describe them all. And they were all excellent to fantastic.

I like how he does his salmon eggs, and how they're fresh not frozen, and he marinates them in several kinds of sake, soy and some sugar I think he said. I can't stand ikura normally, because it's so gushy and salty. Abe in Newport Beach also marinates their ikura and they have a similar taste and popping quality to Urasawa.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to try junsai this time. Maybe next year.

$250 for omakase, but with tax tip and drinks, it's more like $350 - $400. There is valet parking underneath the restaurant but the entrance is kind of hard to find. It's in that little cobblestoned area on Rodeo with all the shops crowded together, off Wilshire.

I agree with everyone else, that he might be underpricing. With all his costs, I have a hard time seeing how he's supporting himself, but I'll happily eat here for $350-$400 while it lasts.

Can't wait for blowfish season to start!

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