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8 Essential Facts on Shibumi, LA's New Kappo-Style Japanese Restaurant

Let's all learn together.

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Details for Shibumi were first unveiled in September, when word broke that relative unknown David Schlosser would be heading up a kappo-style Japanese restaurant Downtown. The location, at 8th and Hill, had been quietly under construction for some time, and Schlosser was at the time nearly ready to open up and let the world see what he was up to.

Well, this being the City of Los Angeles, things have taken a touch longer than expected. With that in mind, here are eight key things we do know right now about Schlosser, his restaurant Shibumi, and just what to expect when sitting down for a meal later this year.

First, meet chef David Schlosser

Having worked all over the U.S. and Europe — including an internship at L’Arpege and a year at Urusawa in L.A. — Schlosser is no stranger to fine dining of the Michelin-star caliber.

Been there, done that

Schlosser also spent time in Japan, first as the chef for the US Ambassador and then under some of the more famous kaiseki chefs in Kyoto, like Kikunoi Honten and Arashiyama Kitcho, both of whom have earned three Michelin stars.

Don’t expect sushi

This is kappo-style Japanese dining, a far cry from the sushi rolls and simple raw fish preparations you might find elsewhere. That’s not to say you won’t find fish, or raw fish for that matter, on the menu; just be prepared for a more coursed-out, controlled, fully plated experience.

What is kappo cuisine?

The idea, generally speaking, is to create a full balance throughout the course of an entire meal. Different ingredients and different courses work together to provide an ultimately memorable experience that uses five different primary cooking techniques: grilling, steaming, frying, simmering, and raw preparations. The idea is to take the entire meal as a whole, almost choreographed moment.

There will be booze

Schlosser says that Shibumi will serve sake, beer, and pared-down cocktails consisting of only a couple of ingredients each. There will also be ciders, fermented sodas, and other wacky stuff coming along.

The bar is important

Consider the bar like a typical chef’s counter experience, with dishes being finished right in front of diners. That’s part of the vibe of the sensory-dependent kappo cuisine, and it means Schlosser will be working the counter for diners all night long, somewhere between a bartender and a fine dining chef.

It’s also really old

The bar itself is pretty magnificent, as it’s cut from centuries-old cypress and is 30 feet long. It’ll make up the bulk of the interior dining space at Shibumi.

Evening only hours

This is, by necessity, a dinner-only spot, so expect evening hours running from 6 p.m. to midnight. You can’t make reservations just yet, but Shibumi is very close to opening.

815 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA