Location: 265 S Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (424) 355-0257
Date: May 27, 2021
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: Awesome ingredients and technique. One of the best sushi places we’ve found in a while
Back right before lockdown Foodie Club co-founder Erick and I — along with last minute addition Jeffrey — hit up Yasu, a then new sushi bar.
We had a great time and meal and so eagerly decided to return once it was viable again. And with dinner we begin a new dinner series, one I’ve nicknamed Sushi Series, that explores some of the best sushi and kaiseki places in LA.
This photo shows our 2020 visit, but in early summer 2021 no one was allowed to sit at the sushi bar and so we were seated at a table instead (to the left, against the wall).
The restaurant “raison d’etre.”
Paul brought: 1996 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. JG 98. I had not drunk a bottle of the 1996 Krug in several years, as I had deemed the wine still in climbing mode and I am not generally in the business of drinking Krug before its time. But, a friend recently opened a bottle and I was very impressed with how the wine is evolving in the bottle since its release. The bouquet is now starting to show some lovely secondary layering of complexity in its blend of apple, peach, a touch of sweet walnut, patissière, a refined base of minerality, caraway seed and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine flavors on the attack echo the nose nicely, with the wine’s full-bodied format sporting excellent depth at the core, still plenty of the vintage’s snappy acidity, great focus and grip and a very, very long and utterly refined finish. Though this remains quite racy structurally, I really like the point it has reached in terms of aromatic and flavor complexity and it is really not a crime to be opening bottles up at this point in its evolution, though it still has room to grow with further bottle age. A great, great vintage of Krug. (Drink between 2019-2060)
2001 Domaine Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet. BH 95. Incredibly beautiful and elegant aromas of white flower and citrus softly introduce steely, gorgeously pure and delineated medium full flavors that seem as though they’re chiseled directly from solid rock. This is much more mineral driven than the typical Bâtard, and blind I would have mistaken it for a classically styled Chevalier. There is plenty of punch and racy supporting acidity plus simply knockout length. Of all these impressive attributes though, it’s the stunning purity and overall harmony of expression that make this one of the wines of the vintage. Interestingly, this is not a dramatic wine in terms of sheer size and weight but the focus and sneaky length make this a wine that is impossible not to be struck by its intensity. In short, this is one of the best examples of young Bâtard that I have ever had and one that will age for at least a decade. Don’t miss it! (Drink starting 2009)
From my cellar: 2016 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Bouchères. VM 92. (Roulot picked these hillside vines on the first day of his harvest; aged in one-third new, one-third once-used and one-third twice-used barrels): Bright, light yellow. Inviting musky aromas of yellow peach and hazelnut. Intensely flavored and sweet, with harmonious acidity energizing the flavors of lemon, orange oil and spices. Finishes suave, savory and aromatic, with surprising energy. The Charmes possesses more grip but this wine is more charming today. A very good choice of harvest date here! The first vintage for this wine was 2011, and since 2015 the estate has begun to reap the benefits of the work it has done in these vines, which were planted in the 1950s, the 1980s and around 2000, according to Eric Baudin. (Drink between 2021-2029)
2010 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. VM 96. Lafon’s 2010 Meursault Perrières 1er Cru is simply breathtaking, the sort of wine we all dream of when we put a few bottles away in the cellar. I bought the 2010s on release in Burgundy and have tasted them together only once since then, when a friend opened the Goutte d’Or, Charmes, Perrières and Genevrières about five years ago. The wines were spectacular on that night. The 2010 Charmes was fabulous last fall, so I had high hopes. Upon first opening, the 2010 is very tight. The color is perfect, though. Two thousand ten is a vintage with lower-than-average yields, but relatively high levels of both ripeness and acidity. There is obviously a lot of wine here. I have never been a huge fan of decanting reds, except to remove sediment, but as I have gotten older, my preference is to nearly always decant whites. Time in the decanter releases a whole range of Perrières signatures – lemon confit, orchard fruit, mint, white pepper, flowers and a hint of reduction – all gently softened by the slow passage of time. More than anything else, though, I love the wine’s energy and tension. This is classic Perrières. There were a lot of wines on the table, so we did not finish the 2010. I poured the rest of the wine back in the bottle and tasted it the next day. There was no degradation at all of color, while the wine itself was even better. More aromatic, more vibrant, more finely cut and more Perrières. This is why we buy and cellar wines…for moments like these. Readers who own well-stored bottles of the 2010 are in for a spectacular drinking experience. I can’t wait to taste the 2010 again in another few years’ time. Bravo! (Drink between 2020-2030)
2010 Domaine Jacques Prieur Montrachet. BH 94-96. This is ever-so-slightly riper than the Chevalier and a bit more aromatically complex as well if not more elegant. There is outstanding richness, volume, muscle and unconcealed power to the large-scaled heavy-weight flavors that somehow manage to avoid any sense of undue ponderousness before culminating in a massively long finish that is almost chewy and tannic. This will require plenty of bottle age but it should be great in time. (Drink starting 2022)
From my cellar: 2009 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur. BH 94. A much more reserved nose of fresh, cool and restrained green fruit, sea breeze and wet stone aromas precedes detailed, minerally and impeccably well-balanced and gorgeously persistent flavors that are Zen-like in their sense of harmony. There is a real sense of energy and flat out terrific length. (Drink starting 2016)
Sashimi. “Spanish” Mackerel (from Japan), Hokkaido Scallop and Uni, Snow Crab.
Because we were at the table, we received our sushi in pairs (two types) each, which isn’t bad for sushi at the table — although at the bar is always preferable for that minimum time form hand clap to mouth.
Goldeneye snapper. A touch of char.
Firefly squid with a touch of miso paste.
Baby sea bream.
Lean part of the tuna from near the backbone.
Anago Japanese Sea Eel and Tamago with fish dashi.
Seared otoro with uni.
Aji (horse mackerel).
Yuzu sorbetto. Very refreshing, with that slightly icy Japanese sorbetto texture.
Overall, this was some absolutely first rate sushi. I’d call it modern traditional in style. It’s not “newfangled” at all with ponzu or very many toppings. Instead it showcases first rate seafood from all around the world, each treated delicately but with great respect in a way that really brings out the flavors. This is my favorite type of sushi as it’s very Japanese and extremely “pure” in its expression of the seafood. Besides the awesome eats, the service was really really nice and friendly. The chef was very chatty and our young (to me) server was fabulous as well. Of course our Champ and Burgundy went great too. We will try to go back, although there is a rumor that he doesn’t want outside wine anymore — which will of course knock this out of our rotation.