I want to like Yamashiro - I really, really do. The location is arguably the best in LA; such a stunning building with magnificent history and let's not forget that eye-popping view. Plus, it's haunted. Which I LOVE.
But the food is, um, bad. Not gag/spit/scream bad, but so sub-par in comparison to the cost.
This was my fourth time dining here, so I've given it my all. That will be that.
Place: Yamashiro, Sunday, 1/8 - 6:00 PM
Myself + 3 guests (Mom, Dad and Roomie)
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - A
The space and the view are breathtaking, and the ladies bathroom has a very active ghost, which gets bonus points from me.
Service - B-
We had Carrie. She was nice, but a bit awkward and new-ish. Still, she took relatively good care of us.
Food (Taste) - C-
Bland. In some cases, not fresh and not good.
Food (Presentation) - B
The dishes definitely looked better than they tasted.
Wine/Drinks - C+
OK selection, but not in value.
Value - D+
The prices here are way, way too high compared to quality, and if not for the lovely ambiance, this would be a big fat F.
Overall Experience - C-
They need to revamp the kitchen and change some food philosophies if they're ever going to attract the foodies. Sub-par aside from the space itself, across the board.
It was Ma and Pa's last night in the Big City, and because my Roomie's man works at Yamashiro, and the view is so tourist-worthy, we headed for the top of the hill.
We were seated immediately and had a window view - bonus points for meeting my reservation requests. We all really loved the restaurant's look and feel - dimly lit, clean Japanese aesthetics, a gorgeous central garden, and a nice/cozy bar area - all fabulous. Plus, that view thing. Good start!
No pre-order snacks (bread, etc.) is served here, which is a bummer, as we were quite hungry.
No alcohol for us this time, but I do have to say the bartenders make yummy concoctions, since I know them both (maybe I get special treatment? :) )
1) I had the Filet Mignon Carpaccio. The meat was ever-so-delicate and fresh, but this dish had NO FLAVOR. None. The filet slices were topped with pea tendrils and a mayo-based sauce, but it left me feeling very bored.
2) Roomie had Fried Calamari - decent tasting, with a light-ish breading, but again, the sauce elicited yawns. Cream-based again without any kick. There seemed to be cayenne or something similar in the breading, which helped a smidge, but this was just an Eh as well.
3) Mom had the Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura. Large pieces *looked* gorgeous, but there was way, way too much greasy breading. And guess what? The sauce was flavorless. Shocking!
4) Dad had the Crab Cakes - the only real winner. A little too much filling for my taste, but he seemed happy.
1) I chose Sushi. Why, I don't know - I had a craving and the optimist in me thought maybe they'd get it right this time. I chose the Sushi Selection -four pieces of assorted fish with a 3 piece California Roll (with real crab, so they claimed). This was BAD. The fish was not fresh and not premium - at least the roll didn't have mayo, but seriously, I could barely eat this.
2) Roomie had the same - she was a bit nicer and said it was "OK".
3) Mom had the Asian Chicken Salad. It looked pretty standard and she said it was flavorful and good, so we'll give this one minor props.
4) Dad had the best dish of the eve - Mixed Grilled Seafood. Lobster, shrimp, and scallops were served with what was billed as a "White Truffle Polenta". Oh, please. I had a taste and there *may* have been truffle OIL in there, but to call this white truffle anything is damn insulting. It was icky. But the seafood - not overcooked, and quite good, actually. Stop the presses.
We didn't have dessert, either, although I must say a few of the items sounded *really* tasty. Has anyone had the Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pepita Crust and Caramel Sauce? I would be open to seeing Yamashiro as a good dessert/drink/date destination, should I hear positive feedback. Like I said, I reallllly want to like it here, but alas . . .
The bill was roughly $225 - that's for sodas, 4 appetizers, 2 regular entres, and 2 sushi dishes. Food robbery.
1999 N. Sycamore Ave.