Location: 265 S Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (424) 355-0257
Date: March 5, 2020
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi
Rating: Awesome ingredients and technique. One of the best sushi places we’ve found in a while
With Foodie Club co-founder Erick back from several months in Asia, we decided to hit up a new place.
After some debate we ended up at a new sushi bar we found on one of our news feeds. This time around, new Foodie Club member Jeffrey joined us as well. Yasu is located just a few stores down from the very mediocre Summer Fish.
The decor is clean and modern, and somehow, despite the fact that they “only” had a 8:15 reservation, we had the restaurant all to ourselves. No matter, the food and service turned out to be amazing.
Jeffrey brought: 2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2008 Dom Pérignon is once again stunning. More than anything else, I am surprised by how well the 2008 drinks given all the tension and energy it holds. Then again, that is precisely what makes 2008 such a unique vintage – namely that the best wines are so chiseled and yet not at all austere. Lemon peel, almond, mint, smoke and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted, but it is the wine’s textural feel, drive and persistence that elevate it into the realm of the sublime. The 2008 will be even better with time in the cellar, but it is absolutely phenomenal even today, in the early going. Three recent bottles have all been nothing short of magnificent.
Sashimi plate: Japanese Amberjack (kanpachi). New Zealand Scampi. Hokkaido Uni.
Japanese Amberjack (kanpachi) sashimi. Had a nice bite to it.
New Zealand Scampi. Element of brine “sea” taste and a great chewy texture.
Hokkaido Uni. Soft and delicate.
From my cellar: 2008 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon. BH 92. A highly expressive, even exuberant nose of white peach, pear and acacia blossom aromas nuanced with citrus hints that are also reflected by the rich, full and nicely concentrated medium-bodied flavors that possess ample mid-palate fat that buffers the moderately firm acid spine. This is really quite stylish and crafted in a more generous fashion than the upper level 1ers. (Drink starting 2015)
agavin: our bottle was almost premoxed, so golden and rich, but totally delciious.
Erick brought: 2008 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne. VM 93. Pale green-tinged color. Lemon icing and minerals on the reticent, pure nose. Densely packed but with a light touch, combining vibrant elements of flowers, minerals and crushed stone. This may be better than the Combettes owing to its stony minerality-or at least it will outlast it.
agavin: Really nice wine with a lot of legs.
Boston Scallop nigiri. Lovely bite of scallop with lots of scallop flavor.
Remaining muscles of the scallop returned cooked in a bit of soy sauce. Also quite delicious and chewy.
Japanese horse mackerel (aji) with wasabi.
Baby sea bream. Much smaller more tender version of the fish.
Boston monkfish liver (Ankimo). I’m not sure I’ve had it very often as nigiri, but this was a stunning example. He apparently braises it instead of steaming it like most chefs do.
Striped jack (Shima aji).
Baby squid with miso paste. Super tender.
Hokkaido freshwater “cherry salmon” (a kind of trout) being cured on fermented rice.
Hokkaido freshwater “cherry salmon” as nigiri. Very soft and lovely.
Fresh Fanny Bay Canadian oyster from Vancouver. I’m not sure I’ve had an oyster as nigiri, but it was delicious.
Octopus (tako). From miyagi Japan. The chef massages it for 1 hour. With a bit of BBQ sauce. This was super tender and one of the best cooked octopus bites I’ve had.
Mix of chu and otoro with caviar. No sauce. The lack of sauce brought out the briney caviar flavor. Quite lovely.
Fish broth soup with snapper. Rich and savory.
Trio of blue fin tuna all from the same fish. Right to left: tuna marinated with soy sauce, chu-toro, and o-toro. All to die for. The tuna had the strongest taste but the o-toro totally melted in your mouth.
Map of the tuna belly.
Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns dance about the table.
Chef takes charge. Chef Yasu Kusano was born in Fukushima in Japan, where his parents owned a small fish store. When he was a young boy, his father took him to an upscale authentic Japanese restaurant, and after that experience he decided to become a chef.
His first cooking job in 2000 was at the landmark Gonpachi Restaurant, a Japanese Izakaya, in Tokyo, Japan. In 2007, Kusano moved to the United States for a sous chef position at Gonpachi in Beverly Hills, Calif., and one year later became their executive chef.
In 2013, he moved to Seattle to join I Love Sushi in Bellevue, before heading to Shiro’s Sushi in 2014.
After moving back to Los Angeles he worked at Sushi Zo. Now he has his own place.
Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawn, lightly blanched. A stunning bit of ebi.
Santa Barbara Uni melts in your mouth.
And the chef put a piece of Hokkaido uni to the right of it. Also delicious, but I liked the Santa Barbara a touch better.
Buri shabu shabu with dashi and micro chive. Lovely too.
Erick brought: 2001 Joseph Drouhin Echezeaux. VM 87-90. Dark red. Smoky aromas of redcurrant and tobacco. Sweet, round and fruity, but with less density than a few of Drouhin’s better premier crus. Rather accessible today, but the finish shows a faint dryness.
agavin: drinking very nicely
Pickled saba with pickled daikon. Nice vinegar flavor.
Sea eel. Delicious and very soft.
Snow crab. Lots of nice crab flavor.
Silver fish steamed with cherry blossom leaf. This gave it an unusual bitter herbal tone.
Black cod with marinated and grated daikon.
Toro Takuan hand-roll — to die for. We made these at Ramen Roll too — and they were good — but this one was better.
The contents of the roll.
Kyoto unagi nigiri done two ways: with salt and lemon juice (pictured) and with sweet sauce (not pictured).
Seared toro. Insanely rich bite. He sears stuff on a little charcoal hibachi — none of that blow torch nonsense.
Dashi tamago. Not very sweet with a light bonito tone.
Yuzu sorbet. Very rough granita texture was quite pleasant and with an intense and very fresh yuzu flavor.
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 be back!