After a brief hiatus from reviewing Los Angeles restaurants, Jonathan Gold is back, this time with a look at Beverly Hills’s Shiki. The restaurant is most notable for being the new home of Morihiro “Mori” Onodera, the former proprietor of Mori Sushi in West LA, which is still widely considered one of the best omakase places in the city. Onodera “may have the most passionate fans in the universe of Los Angeles sushi,” fans that have called out the Goldster “not for dismissing Onodera but for not praising him quite highly enough.”
J. Gold explains the hype via a rather flowery description of a piece of sea bream nigiri:
Mostly there is Onodera, and after the first piece he nestles onto your serving plate, a slash of Japanese sea bream on a narrow pillar of body-temperature rice, you understand: softness not quite collapsing into richness, a breath of acid, a lick of salt from the kelp in which it has been marinated, a fine, searing filament of heat that vanishes as quickly as it appears — this is what sushi devotees are looking for when they save up their nickels, a definitive experience that exists only for the brief lifetime of a sigh. Is there the barest hint of smoke? It is difficult to tell. [LAT]
It isn’t all sushi at Shiki, though, as executive chef Nao Sugiyama, is a master of kaiseki cuisine:
And if you were ever lucky enough to visit his serene Theater District restaurant, you may recognize many of the tiny courses to follow — a kumquat suspended in a cube of clear jelly; simmered baby abalone served with a bit of its liver and an atomic-strength yuzu kosho, citrus-chile condiment; braised enoki mushrooms buried under a blizzard of smoky shaved fish. [LAT]
The Times critic goes on to talk in depth about individual pieces of sushi, and concludes the review simply recommending the omakase.