Last night - four of us. Sushi Ryo at Highland and Santa monica. Ordered omakase, so the sushi pieces were single as per usual.
1. Opening otoshi- a cold mass of wonderfully soft thin seaweed, not hijiki not kombu, something I knew at the time, we drank a bit, sliperry and good, covered with ground-before-us yama-imo in a housemade ponzu that was so good and refreshing I actually drank it up.
2. Skate-wing (Stingray side) on "bone". This was cooked similarly to the butterfish black cod with a sake and miso and probably butter sauce. One leaf of mitsuba/trefoil and a tiny red pepper. Were told that the bones were edible. I thougth the tail end would be tough but it was meltingly soft and a bit gelatinous - great. THe other bones were crunchy soft, it's cartilaginous like a shark. The bigger bone was more of a challenge but went down well.
3. Wild Japanese aji/spanish mackarel tataki (cut fine) with a kombu and daikon sprout back. Delicious- chef Junichi sauced it nicely.
4. Selection of tempura (I know, turned it more kaiseki as did the skatewing). Two wonderfully soft pieces of tentacle rich octopusflesh, a japanese shishito pepper and FRESH sea eel that was so moist and soft I thought it could be snapper or cod. Amazingly good. Served with both a dish of salt and a bowl of tempura sauce, your choice (just choose one).
5. Toro tataki (seared fatty tuna), meltingly good, o-toro not chu-toro. One piece. Like the best hamburger one gets in the highest paradise.
6. Anago - sea eel, FRESH, formed into a cone with nori around the middle, one side in a teriyaki eel sauce, one side nude. Fantastikus.
7. Kohada. Wonderfully fresh. I like the iwashi/kohada/saba type fish so I was floating like Snuffles on the old QuickDraw McGraw.
8. An amazing octopus presentation. IT was the tip of the tentacle meat, sliced fine against the grain so it looked like fish meat, served ON TOP of a strip of shiso/perilla that conformed to the sushi rice so it was rice, then shiso then the octopus meat garnished with salt and a bit of fresh yuzu (japanese citron) peel shredded right there. And a few bits of shishito on top.
9. Strips of Yamagobo (mountain burdock) pickled as an entremede somewhere earlier.
10. Am forgetting one dish
11. Wonderfully rich uni piled high as a piece of nigiri sushi.
12. Hand rolls for each of us of nakaochi-toro chopped with takuan (daikon pickle) pieces. The toro is the soft type from between the bones and the skin and is taken off with a spoon that makes kind of a pate-like paste. This is chopped with the takuan seasoned, and then served as a hand roll.
Sushi alone for four was about $55 a person. We also had at least 6 glasses of otokoyama cold sake (goes on sale tomorrow at Mitsuwa for under $30 a bottle), three servings of hot sake (I think they use ozeki), three bottles of big Sapporo and tea. Drinks were about $25-30 a head.
Junichi is a master. THis was our omokase yours will be different. The service is great. I only hope they don't think we knew how to act because of the LA Times article yesterday. Asked about hoya and shirako so that they might expect we'd be a bit more adventurous.
Frankly, it was a great evening because we were a convivial group and the food and drink were part of a great experience rather than being the worshipped objects at a religious service. That's why I can't remember one of the dishes.
6779 SANTA MONICA BLVD
They move in a month - will be closed for two.