Restaurant: Mori Sushi [1, 2]
Location: 11500 west pico blvd. los angeles, california, 90064. 310-479-3939
Date: June 25, 2013
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: One of LA’s best traditional sushi restaurants
There is always considerable date as to which of LA’s many great sushi bars are the best — and it’s a fairly subjective question — but there is no doubt that Mori Sushi is often on the short list.
The owner in the foreground, Chef Masanori “Maru” Nagano who bought the restaurant from his former boss, Morihiro Onodera back in 2011.
NV Agrapart & Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Terroirs. Parker 92. Agrapart’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Terroirs is another fabulous wine. Here it is the combination of tension and weightlessness that is especially appealing. Sweet floral notes and a suggestion of mint meld into white orchard fruit in this effortless, totally gracious wine. All the elements meld together on the seamless, crystalline finish. The Terroirs is a blend of fruit sourced from Avize, Oger, Cramant and Oiry, equal parts 2007 and 2008 vintages. This release was aged partly in 600-liter barrels. Dosage was 5 grams per liter.
Homemade Tofu with wasabi and special homemade soy sauce. This is my favorite kind of tofu, the silky soft kind. It has a very soft texture and seductive subtle flavor.
1990 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 93. A truly wonderful nose of simply knockout complexity features notes of yeast and baked bread along with now fully mature aromas of a variety of floral notes and spice hints that gives way to mineral-suffused round intense and detailed medium full flavors that also offer outstanding depth on the sappy and mouth coating finish. This is drinking perfectly now. A beautiful effort of real style and grace.
Our first round appetizer plate.
A sweet marinated fish. Really tasty. The bones are so soft you just crunch them up.
Skewers of abalone with yuzu. The green behind is a special farmer’s market spinach that is chewy.
On the left eggplant with bonito flakes. On the right, Conger eel roy in a gelatinous cube (be afraid!) made from conger eel bones!
Left to right: some kind of row balls from a fish. Farmer’s market tomato, okra, and kumquat.
Conch boiled in dashi and shell with shitake mushroom quail egg.
Here you can better see the meat itself. One drinks the tasty broth afterward.
Santa barbara spot prawn, santa barbara uni. Charred flavors contrast beautifully with sweetness.
2007 Henri Boillot Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 96. Seemingly like all of Boillot’s wines in this vintage, a strikingly pure nose of green apple, white flower and spice aromas complements perfectly the delicious, intense and stony flavors that are among the ripest in the range yet remain wonderfully vibrant and gorgeously detailed on the taut, transparent and bone dry finish that bathes the palate in dry extract. This is beautifully balanced and among the best wines of the vintage from Corton. In a word, brilliant.
The sashimi plate. In the back is the spiny lobster tail drizzled with lobster gut sauce. In the middle special Hokkaido scallop. In the front, tuna, and baby barracuda sashimi. The last had a bit of a sweet charred flavor.
1996 Joseph Drouhin Romanée St. Vivant. Burghound 90. Airy, pure, elegant and extremely expressive as the aromas just float from the glass with rose petal and assorted floral notes. The mineral-infused, racy and finely delineated flavors are nuanced and textured though the backend has a somewhat dry and edgy quality to it that is highlighted by the racy finishing acidity.
Traditional grilled river fish and in the front a shiso sandwich filled with fish meat. To the right is sauced daikon radish and pickles.
This I’ve never had. The fish is a deep deep sea fish, with the lantern and big eyes! To the left is shiso pepper and on the right abalone tempura.
Guess who comes back for round 2? Mr. Lobster head, this time boiled up in some lobster miso soup (which was fantastic).
1996 Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux. Burghound 91. Still quite deeply colored. A perfumed nose that is now in a transition phase from primary to secondary aromas is given added nuance by the presence of earth¡ subtle spice notes and a smoky quality that is also picked up by the fresh¡ bright and energetic medium-bodied flavors that possess excellent detail and obvious minerality on the ever-so-slightly dry finish where the dryness does not seem to compromise the length as this is seriously persistent. The structural elements of acidity and tannins are still quite firm though not aggressive and this should continue to successfully age over the next 25 to 30 years as the balance is almost perfect. Tasted several times over the last few years with consistent notes save for one disjointed bottle that seemed unduly dried out.
This may have been Tai (Red Snapper).
Cuttlefish. Creamy with a bit of chewiness. There was shiso underneath which I love.
I think this was Aji (Spanish Mackerel).
Japanese Mackerel (Saba). A little fishier than some of the other fish, but firm and delicious.
Geoduck clam (Mirugai). Not always my favorite, but in this case tender and delicious.
Ikura (salmon roe). Incredibly sweet.
2005 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale. Burghound 91. In contrast to the expressiveness of the first two ’05s, here there is a completely different aromatic profile and one that is brooding with more deeply pitched and quite ripe blue and violet aromas combining with pungent earth and game hints that continue onto the sweet, rich and sappy flavors wrapped around a firm tannic spine. This is impressive as it is clearly Nuits in character yet with refined and sophisticated structural elements. Also recommended.
Lightly grilled albacore? I can’t remember.
Santa Barbara Uni. Super sweet.
Hokkaido Uni. More of a brine note.
Sea eel (Anago). Really soft and fabulous. The sauce is reduced from eel bones.
Sweep shrimp sushi.
Chef/Owner Sal Marino of Il Grano (a fabulous nearby Italian – one of the best Italians in the city) joined us about halfway through the meal and partook in our libations.
A number of different roles. Some have shiso leaf, some various pickles, some tamago. Really yummy and refreshing.
1995 Philippe Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Combes aux Moines. Parker 90-94. A few wine writers have recently written that some producers in Burgundy are making Pinot Noir that resembles Syrah. My impression is that highly extracted, late-picked, and lavishly oaked Pinot Noir does in fact show traits of Syrah in its youth. Both varietals have a tendency to contain high acid levels (relative to Merlot and Cabernet) and often exhibit berry fruit characteristics. Philippe Leclerc’s dynamite Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines certainly could be confused with a northern Rhone wine during its early stage of development. Readers who love Cote Rotie and Hermitage will adore it. Dark-colored, almost black, and revealing an awesomely dense, ripe, deep, nose of cassis, mocha, spices and oak, this monster of a wine explodes in the mouth with rich, layered, roasted black fruits. Full-bodied and thick, with a hard tannic backbone, it indeed reminds me more of a young Syrah (but without the typical raspberry and red currant notes) than what I generally taste in Burgundy.
All four red burgs lined up for tasting.
Two kinds of homemade ice cream. On the left, soy sauce ice cream, on the right tofu ice cream. Both were fabulous.
Hojicha (roasted green tea) to finish.
Overall, this was some really stellar traditional Sushi. Both the fish itself and all the starters were fantastic. Mori sushi sticks fairly closely to traditional Japanese techniques and flavors. It doesn’t jazz things up with too many vinegars and crazy sauces, but uses first rate ingredients that emphasize the purity of the flavors: very Japanese.
The produce mostly comes from the farmer’s markets. He makes his own tofu and soy sauce and I believe, even the rice, which is specially sourced from some special rice farm. All in all, really fabulous.
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