There are a few esteemed chefs in Los Angeles that have been awarded a prestigious Michelin star. One is 37-year restaurant veteran Shige Fujimoto, now at Shiki Beverly Hills. “Shiki” in Japanese means four seasons. This talented chef prepares fresh seasonal fare for his signature omakase and grand menu. The Japanese restaurant offers different types of omakase (multi-course) lunch and dinner dishes presented with impeccable attention to detail.
Last month I was invited to an elegant 8-course omakase that was paired with a variety of sake beverages by assistant manager Mio Okura. The white linen table in the front of the restaurant looked out a picture window on to Canon Drive. There were black linen napkins, wooden chopsticks and a festive black and gold moist hand towel. An outdoor patio seats 12 guests, the sushi bar has seven seats and the bar comfortably seats six.
We first started with a cold welcome drink in a champagne flute made with two sakes – a Dewazakura “Ouka” Gingo yuzu and sparkling Yamagata sake. This was paired with our first washoku (Japanese cuisine) of three Kumamoto oysters from Washington State. One was doused with a fresh ponzu salsa. Another was an oyster half shell topped with the finest Russian sturgeon Osetra royal caviar pearls. Each pearl was velvety smooth and compact in texture with a dark bronze hue. Last was an oyster in its shell topped with Santa Barbara sea urchin and fresh wasabi offering complex flavors evoking the aroma of the sea.
The next course was seared skin-on seabream with white scallions in a bowl of dashi soup. Dashi is broth made from the sea vegetable kombu, collected from the icy coastal waters of Japan. The broth was simmered with Japanese eggplant, spinach, Shimeji and Nameko mushrooms, sesame and grapeseed oil. The Nameko mushrooms had a slightly nutty essence and authentic umami flavor.
Throughout the evening we drank sake made in Kyoto by Ippongi Sake Brewing (founded in 1902) presented in an elegant black box. We also sipped a spicy and sweet plum sake, Hannya Umeshu. The label on the bottle has a devilish character to warn consumers that it’s spiked with a fiery hot pepper.
The restaurant, known for its Wagyu beef is owned by the Japanese company, Zon-Noh. They have 11 factories that export A5+ Wagyu beef to the U.S. This is the top Wagyu beef raised in Japan, better than Kobe beef.
We enjoyed two Wagyu beef courses – the first was thinly sliced in a bowl of sukiyaki sauce made with heirloom tomatoes, orange juice, soy sauce and sliced onions.
The second course was Wagyu beef wrapped around sea urchin and seared slightly before drizzled with truffle oil.
Wild amberjack sashimi was served on a plate with sliced serrano chili peppers, shredded radish, yuzu juice and a sprinkling of pink Hawaiian salt. Toward the end of the meal, we each received a rectangular white plate with a simple green leaf and five nigiri sushi pieces. There was a two bite piece of tai (red seabream) with a pinch of salt and yuzu pepper; bright red tuna; grilled toro (fatty tuna) glazed with a soy sauce; bright orange salmon and shima-aji strip Jack fish.
Chef Shige came to our table and told us he started his culinary career while still in high school in Japan. He arrived in Beverly Hills in 1994 to work at the famous Matsuhisa Restaurant where he was known as the omakase chef creating culinary art by using the freshest ingredients available each day. Chef Shige earned a Michelin star while in the kitchen of Asanebo, before opening Shiki Beverly Hills in 2014.
For those who don’t want the full omakase experience, an a la carte menu offers a variety of authentic Japanese appetizers, salads, soups, sashimi, fried items, sizzling Wagyu beef and other Michelin winning delicacies.
Shiki is open for lunch from 12 to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. On Sunday the restaurant is open for dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. $$-$$$ 410 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills. (310)888-0036.
This review was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea Newspapers on Oct. 13, 2017.