August, 2012 – Dinner at Yojisan
How can you compare a Rolls Royce to a Mercedes, one is impeccable and the other, everyone owns. Yojisan sushi in Beverly Hills may find itself in the same predicament. There are plenty of Sushi places around town but once you taste this delectable fresh cuisine your pallet will be altered forever.
Yoji is the most inventive sushi chef that I have come across. He mixes his stunning presentations with an array of fresh ocean fish, incorporating art and culture, Yoji puts no limits to his combinations. This is by far no ordinary, run of the mill sushi place. No, this is an experience.
Born from collaboration between partners Giacomino Drago (Il Pastaio, Via Alloro) and sushi chef Yoji Tajima (SHU Sushi House Unico) Yoji likes to infuse some of his gutsy creations with an Italian flare. Can you imagine Burratta cheese with yellow tail? The Italians are very opposed to any cheese on their fish pastas, so this is definitely a departure.
I was lucky that Chef Yoji invited me to a tasting at his Beverly Hills location. He was one of the sponsors of an event at my favorite gallery in Beverly Hills, Galerie Michael. This is where I got my first glimpse of his sushi expertise. Sushi and art, how could you go wrong? I have been a patron of Galerie Michael for many years and I even own a few prized pieces from their collection. I knew that if the owner Michael invited his guests to sample this cuisine, it must be something worth experiencing.
The night of the tasting I arrived with an overwhelming craving for inventive creations. As I stepped into the modern sleek entrance a host greeted me and directed me to the best spot in the restaurant, which was at the sushi bar. Moments after sitting, Chef Yoji welcomed me with a warm smile and instructions to relax, have fun and enjoy the tasting.
While waiting for my first course I had the opportunity to mingle with some fascinating regulars. Each had their favorites ranging from, yellow tail sashimi to a scallop and shrimp infusion. All of the incredible fish in the sushi case made my taste buds go crazy.
Yojisan Lychee Martini, Grey Goose Vodka, Lychee Puree & Fresh Lime Juice.
Jalapeño Martini, Grey Goose Vodka, Fresh Jalapeño, Cucumber, Lime Juice & Simple Syrup.
Mixologist Jose effortlessly blended both cocktails, with the utmost attention to details, nice way to start my gastronomic experience. I also tried numerous sakes through out the course of the meal.Sakes: Miyasaka (Junmai)Yawaraka Okuden Kanzurkuri (Junmai) Masumi Suijin (Junmai) Asabiraki Tamade Izumi (Daiginjo) Oga Onigoroshi (Daiginjo) Wakatake
I enjoyed each individual sake, all having completely different characteristics. They were a great accompaniment to all of my chef’s choice of parings.
Mid Dinner Cocktails:
Ginger Fix, Beefeater Gin, Muddled Lime, Orange Juice, Ginger Puree, Simple Syrup, on the rocks.
Cucumber Thyme, Beefeater Vodka, Muddled Fresh Thyme & Cucumber, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, on the rocks.
Chef Yoji’s Choice Tastings:
Oysters, Washington State, nice small size packed with fresh ocean goodness.
Sashimi Hamachi and Burrata Shisho, Tomato, Pickled Ginger, Black Sea Salt, Jalapeño, Yuzu, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Really different, but what a great marriage.
Carpaccio Young Wild Red Snapper Carpacciio with black truffle, artichoke and Asian pears. This is a very nice combo, can’t complain about truffles on anything!
Ceviche (Lobster) Marinated in lemon juice, garlic & chili, served with organic tomato, onion & cilantro. The lobster is so sweet, really, really good!
Sushi & Sashimi:
Artic Char with fava beans, the beautiful orange color is so enchanting, and the freshness of the fish is spectacular.
Live Sweet Shrimp and scallop Sashimi with black truffle, Chef Yoji is so generous with his truffle shavings, it really brings out the best in this dish.
Steamed Whole Branzino Stuffed w/ Mixed Mushrooms, Spicy Black Bean Sauce and Micro Cilantro. The fish is served with its head, and whole. The flavors are like a fine symphony, all defining notes that melt in your mouth.
Miragai Sushi, giant clam, so perfect so fresh, some people can’t get around the slimy texture, but for me by far my most favorite sushi anytime!
From the Kitchen:
Beef Teraki with seaweed salad. The beef is so flavorful and tender, this is a must have teriyaki.
Japanese Peach with cherries and cantaloupe, very sweet and refreshing, the perfect end to a fantastic meal.
Chocolate lava cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, the chocolate oozes out of this mountain of goodness, yum, yum, yum!
With a modern decor, you feel like you just walked into an Asian inspired museum, but all done very elegantly. This minimalist modern space is designed by architect Dan Brunn. Inside one will find “a wall of light panels simulating a bamboo forest and vibrant red boxes, a floating garden of lush plants hangs over the entry. There are 2 red light boxes, one over the main part of the dining room and one over the sushi bar. Both add to this very eclectic mix of food and personalities. This sleek new Japanese restaurant is classy, trendy, and upscale.
Chef Yoji began the meal with an array of small starters ranging from fresh chucked oysters to lobster ceviche. Followed by a selection of fresh sushi and sashimi. That night, my taste buds traveled through the mystic ocean and I was taken on an adventure and beyond. Just throw your old sushi menus and experiences out the window, and run to Yojisan. Its worth every dime, and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to find the best sushi in town!
260 N. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210