Location: 21418 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364. (818) 456-4509
Date: August 13, 2021
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi Kaiseki
Rating: Really wonderful modern style Kaiseki
This dinner is the third in (the others being here) in a vast series of epic Japanese sushi and/or Kaiseki dinners post lockdowns that all included myself, Erick, Joe and Bonnie — and often Larry, as is the case tonight. Herein we “endeavor” to visit or revisit most of the top sushi spots in LA.
Larry has been coming to Brothers for years, but in 2018 recently Chef Mark Okuda took over and totally transformed the place into one of the Valley’s — and LA in general’s — top omakase destinations. Larry took us on this particular foray for a “regular” jumbo omakase, but we immediately set up a giant even longer one for more people a few weeks later.
On the right is Chef Mark.
2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart. 96 points. The 2002 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is outrageously beautiful. The ripeness of the Chardonnay is front and center in a Champagne that delivers the goods, big-time. An infusion of apricot, orange peel, crème brûlée, chamomile, hazelnut and honey give the 2002 its racy, exotic personality. I enjoy it most with bottle age, but the 2002 is undeniably beautiful right now. The 2002 is a stunning NFB. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, done partially in oak (20%). Dosage is 4 grams per liter. (Drink between 2020-2030)
2011 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre. VM 90+. Good bright yellow. Deeply pitched aromas of ripe peach, pineapple, hazelnut, smoke and vanilla, plus a hint of orange blossom (Lafon used no new oak for this wine). Then firmer and less round on the palate than the basic village wine, with an edge of acidity giving the finish a leaner, slightly boney impression. This needs at least a couple years of cellaring.
2015 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons. VM 90. Pale, bright yellow. Very ripe but slightly muted aromas of citrus fruits, white pepper, honey and oatmeal. Quite concentrated but comes across as a bit youthfully aggressive and dry following the set of 2016s here, offering flavors of grapefruit, lemon drop and minerals. Offers noteworthy inner-mouth tension and dusty minerality but this citrussy premier cru will need time to harmonize in bottle. Didier Séguier bottled the 2015 crus in December of 2016 and January of this year. (A second bottle of similar quality was a bit sweeter and more pliant in the middle palate.) (Drink between 2019-2025)
From my cellar: 1996 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Charmes. 93 points. Dark yellow, straw. Honey, toasted grain, flowers, straw nose. Lemony acidity, some caramel, baked apples, rich texture. A singular and beautiful bottle.
Seaweed, cucumber, jellyfish. Bright vinegar flavors.
Sweet Corn Chawanmushi.
Smoked Amberjack (dry aged 10 day).
Hudson Valley Foie Gras (Jeff Bovon), ikura, takuan, rice crisp “sandwich”
The outside is a crispy rice disk and the inside was fantastic.
3 weeks dry aged salmon. Summer truffle, pickled tomato, arugula. Very balanced.
Tuna. River crab. Caviar. Tuna is almost sweet.
Abalone from Japan. Tender. Wasabi. Truffle.
Monkfish liver marinated with mirin and brown sugar. Seared. Super tender and sweet.
Soft shell crab miso sauce.
Kohada gizzard shad.
East coast 1 week dry aged snapper.
Washington jumbo clam.
Shrimp heads return fried.
Japanese sea perch.
Toro, uni (stored in sea water and steamed), shiso, takuan hand roll.
White shrimp shiro ebo Japan.
A5 Miyazaki nigri, seared.
Japanese green onion. Never had this nigri before!
Miyagi uni (not from either Hokaido or Santa Barbara).
Golden eye snapper.
Green tea cheesecake.
The fish locker.
I was really impressed by Brothers. Not only was the fish superlative and the dishes every inventive, but Mark has a really refined sense of balance to his flavors. Nothing was overly sweet, or overly salty, or overly tangy — but instead hovered in that lovely space where all of the flavors hang in proper harmony.
We immediately setup another even bigger omakase for just a couple weeks later!