Just got back from SHibucho on beverly blvd (3114 between rampart and virgil, south side etc)
TO be fair i've eaten here since Shibutani owned the place - first time back in 1980. Shige runs it now and i've seen it in huge busy times, in slow upscale crazy times (marlon brando vying for space at the bar with the tokyo string quartet), and seen it when Shige-san's attitude was extreme.
Went tonight after seeing Jenufa at the Music Center.
Frankly, it's still the best in town. Maybe SHibutani's Shibucho in costa mesa comes closes.
It's open late-ish, 6pm midnight tues-sat. BUT the food was the very best in sushi. No crazy mayonnaises and spicy catsupy fried up rolls. Real traditional sushi and sashimi at a level that can make you cry - most of the fish is flown in from Tsukiji in Tokyo (as opposed to the other tsukiji).
We were three - began with splitting hirame/halibut sashimi, paper thin sliced. KILLER GOOD. then two orders of aji tataki sashimi - which went down amazingly well. Two of us shared an order of the ankimo (monkfish liver) while the third whose first time this was just had an order of the maguro She had informed me that this was usually all she ate at sushi bars. She also informed me that it was the best she'd ever had and was trusting me for the rest of the evening.
We ordered 3 chawan-mushi to be served a half-hour later - made to order duh. Next came three orders of albacore sushi. I will dispense with the descriptions. There's no need - these were all top grade - no trace of misplaced iodine, just perfect texture, perfect cuts, nori resting on a warm grill oven so it was always light and never soggy.
Then three hand rolls - negi-hama for the ladies, uni (urchin) for me. Then two orders of iwashi (sardine? who remembers, delish) and one order of tai (snapper here). The firsttimer had never had tai before and was in paroxysms of pleasure.
Then an order of saba sushi, an order of aoyagi (round clam? i had it, and i have been loiving it of late - and this aoyagi was smooth - toothsome but not rubbery or overly chewy) and scallop sushi. then the toro. My firsttimer friend told me she didn't care for the fatty toro, but this toro was magnificent, no gristle, no sinew, not oily, just like the lightest imaginable butter of a fish. So i ordered a second toro and she had one piece. She now will eat toro she says, but only at Shibucho.
The Chawan mushi came out - light sake perfume, shiitake, ginnan, fish and eggs AND great for the ending. I had a tiny piece of takuna to finish off.
Drinks were some sapporro and tea and three miso soups with clams. Forgot to ask for the matsudake-shiro(soup) now that it's fall. He makes a great one (as does izayoi) and i first had it here. Will get it next time.
Total before tip was $150 and worth every single cent.
I urge everyone to go - no spicy tuna crap no spider rolls or fusion anything - but if you want great sushi this is the place. It's tiny - (maybe ten places at the bar, maybe twenty at the tables) but it was empty at 11pm tonight AND i DO NOT want him to close. If you're downtown in the evening and want sushi or in HOllywood or wherever, open until midnight most nights - call them they're listed.
i'll look for the number,
don't believe me? it's been reviewered for the last quarter century from la weekly and reader to nytimes etc. i have no question but that it is the best. in this county.
(and shige has been friendly as of late)