Location: 1999 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068. (323) 466-5125
Date: October 24, 2015
Cuisine: New Japanese
Rating: Great location, acceptable food
I play with our son and another family at the nearby Pantages provided the opportunity.
This crazy crazy hilltop Japanese castle was actually built in 1914! Look at it lurking above the Magic Castle in this old photo. It was built by Adolph and Eugene Bernheimer, brothers from a large, wealthy family of dry goods importers based in New York. Usually together, they travelled the world for Bear Mill Manufacturing Co. and other business concerns, which included importing “oriental goods” for the American market. Along the way, they became fascinated with Asian silks and antiques, and amassed a collection of artifacts said to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 1912, the middle-aged bachelors purchased 12-acres on the crest of a large Hollywood hill from developer H.J. Whitley. On it, they began constructing an Asian-style estate designed by NYC architect Franklin Smalls. It was said they had been planning its construction for twenty years. Why they chose unfamiliar Los Angeles as the place to build it remained a mystery.
There are epic (for LA) gardens as well and a fabulous view of the city.
2013 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Montagny 1er Cru Les Burnins. 90 points. A very Nice and complete wine. Quite ripe but with good aciditu. Medium bodied , quite a pleaser. Still a bit young, but i’ll drink these in the first two years anyway.
Farmers market salad. Field greens and market vegetables, avocado, goat cheese, roasted garlic croutons, shiso-champagne vinaigrette.
Wakame seaweed salad. cucumber, carrot, sesame rice wine vinaigrette.
Kurobuta pork carnitas. scallion-risotto cake, hoisin reduction, honey-mustard. Not bad, but could have had more flavor.
Spicy seafood hot pot. shrimp, scallop, new zealand mussel, shitake mushrooms, snow peas, glass noodles. Not a lot of flavor. I have the feeling these things have been “toned down” for the tourist crowd.
Seafood tempura. Shrimp, scallop, cod, sake-ponzu dipping sauce, yuzu chili cream sauce. Pretty straight up tempura.
Crisscut fries with dipping sauces. Sambai ketchup and yuzu-shiso ranch. Nice crunch to the fries.
Shoyu glazed black cod. sautéed mustard greens, maitake mushrooms, wasabi mashed potatoes, soy daikon sauce. A little bland.
Pistachio salmon. coriander-sesame crust, miso-ponzu vinaigrette, pistachio-citrus relish.
Truffle hamachi. White truffle-infused ponzu, teardrop tomato-garlic confit, micro arugula. Basically hamachi with ponzu — and fine at that — but not really any taste of truffle to be found.
Sushi plate. Albacore, tuna, hamachi, salmon roe, sweet shrimp, uni, scallop, eel. Mid rate sushi. Not bad, but the albacore was fishy.
Chocolate sorbet. Grainy and strong.
Graham cracker cookie-dough ice cream. Pretty good.
And more, including a nice mango-lime.
Molten chocolate cake. Ginger ice cream, plum anglaise.
S’mores fudge browner. Warm brownie, house-made marshmallow, graham cracker cookie dough ice cream, milk chocolate sauce. Pretty good. Just the week before I had a real campfire s’more (while camping with my cub scout son). This was a decent approximation of the classic.
Overall, Yamashiro was amazing ambiance. Service was great too. They were extremely accommodating of our kids and special orders, even with the place being incredibly busy. Food is just middling. It’s not embarrassing, or bad, just sort of “tourist sushi”, slightly worse than than the Ilk of Katana and Katsuya and the like.