Exquisite Kappo Cuisine Arrives in L.A. - Welcome to Shibumi [Thoughts + Pics]

Finally made it to Shibumi.

Based on the recommendation of @Chowseeker1999 , I knew a must order was the salmon trout smoked in cherry bark with fried salmon skin on top. Loved it! One of the best dishes I have had anywhere in the last few years. Still thinking about the dish the next day.

The rice was also excellent, as were some of the seaweed accompaniments. The rest of the meal was less memorable. We ordered the Chino Vegetables, rice miso dip (the menu stating that “Chino Farm may be the best farm in California”). It was fine and the dip tasty, but I really do not get this restaurant trend of serving plates of crudités as a course. Perhaps my palate is not sophisticated enough, but to me the real magic of vegetables is when they are cooked and the Chino Farm crudités didn’t taste that much better to me than the crudités you can pick up pre-sliced at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Sure I probably could have picked out the Chino Farm crudités in a blind taste test from Whole Foods crudités, but I can’t say I enjoyed them immeasurably more. As I said, perhaps my palate isn’t sophisticated enough or I’m just not into crudités. (I get very cranky when I go to parties and the host’s idea of entertaining is putting out a plate of crudités with dip and passing that off as hors d’oeuvres).

I wasn’t wowed by the octopus sashimi and I swear we ordered sardines, but the next day I have no memory of it – either they forgot to bring it or I simply forgot that I ate it. The teriyaki chicken was interesting, but I didn’t love it. It is apparently made with a traditional recipe where thin slices are almost candied, so it is a bit like teriyaki jerky.

The restaurant was fairly empty on a weeknight, but not completely empty, and we had no problem getting a last minute reservation.

If I lived downtown rather than on the Westside, I would definitely put Shibumi into a regular rotation just so I could sit at the bar, eat that smoked salmon and drink sake. Would also love to try the onigiri, which I’m sure is excellent.

The wine list is small and not particularly interesting. I would have preferred sake, but my dining companion didn’t want sake, so we ordered a bottle of Muscadet, which was fine and went well with the food.

I loved the decor of the place. Reminded me of those little restaurants you find everywhere in Japan. As I said, if I lived downtown, Shibumi would be in my regular rotation just for that smoked salmon.


Hi @Omotesando,

Thanks for the report back. We haven’t been able to revisit Shibumi in a while, so it’s good to hear about how things are nowadays.

Yes! Love the Smoked Salmon Trout with Cherry Bark. :slight_smile:

Were they still serving the Holstein Beef, Japanese Sea Bream Sashimi or Abalone with Yuba? Those were definitely worth ordering as well if you see them offered again.

They also had some very interesting Sake to try the next time you’re visiting.

Corkage is relatively reasonable at $25 last I checked, so once I brought a low/no dosage champagne that drank more like a white burgundy. Oh and then Asahi on tap for the heritage pork. :smiley:

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I do not recall seeing the sea bream sashimi on the menu. The Abalone might have been, but I really don’t recall. And I think the beef was on the menu, but I rarely eat red meat so never pay that much attention to that portion of a menu.

I have to say after my meal tonight at Simone, I would go back to Shibumi before I would return to Simone. Still dreaming of that salmon. And I rarely eat rice anymore since going mostly low carb a few years ago, but that rice was definitely worth the carbs . . .

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Funny, I adore no dosage champagne and thought of bringing a bottle, but I store all my wine off premises and I was too lazy go retrieve a bottle before dinner (the downside of having off premises storage).

Still I would be happy to drink sake next time. When in Rome . . .

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Update 4:

It had been awhile since we last stopped by Shibumi, but we were curious how Chef-Owner David Schlosser’s Japanese eatery was coming along these days. The interior space is still about the same as before, dark, moody, and with some soft lighting falling across the gorgeous wood bar, carved out of 400 year-old Cypress.

Chef Schlosser greets us warmly and we see that Shibumi’s menu now has a Beverage Omakase and three options for Food Omakase.

Born - Muroka Nama Genshu - Junmai Daiginjo Sake (Fukui, Japan):

We’ve always enjoyed the Born lineup of Sake, but this is the first time we saw a Special Limited version of Born in a Muroka Nama Genshu! (@beefnoguy @Sgee @BradFord @TheCookie) We were surprised. Taking a sip: It is lively, funky! But not as big of a party in your mouth as the Shichida Spring Muroka Nama Genshu the past 2 years. :slight_smile: Still, this was tasty and a great way to start the evening! :blush:

Chinmi (Rare Delicacies) - Round 1:

Karasumi (Dried Mullet Roe), Aged 1 Month:

A wonderful, super-concentrated oceanic wave hits you with this Chinmi of Karasumi (Dried Mullet Roe) that Chef David ages for 1 month. :blush:

Shrimp and Shrimp Eggs, Aged 2 Months:

And then the 2nd new Chinmi we tried this evening, Shrimp and Shrimp Eggs that have been aged and fermented for 2 months(!). :open_mouth: This was incredible for the funky, bold depth of flavor. This wasn’t like, say, Blue Cheese or anything in that direction, but there was a great, pleasing backnote of flavor that we haven’t had outside of Shibumi. And it was a great pairing with the Born Muroka Nama Genshu Sake! (@beefnoguy) :heart:

The fresh Daikon Radish slices were a great foil to each Chinmi as well, as a nice palate cleanser.

Grilled House-Dried Squid (Fermented Plum Paste, Mayo):

Great drinking food, a chewy, but still tender enough bite of their Grilled House-Dried Squid, but I liked it even more with the Fermented Plum Paste. The Mayo is a more mellow, fun option if you prefer that flavor mix.

Dewazakura - Oka - Ginjo Sake (Yamagata, Japan):

Dewazakura is pretty common around L.A., but it was still a nice Sake to have as the courses changed. The Oka is definitely more refined, cleaner finish with a nice floral component.

Tako Sashimi - Octopus (Hokkaido, Japan) + Umibudo (Sea Grapes):

Pleasingly tender Octopus Sashimi, with some chew, paired with some Umibudo (Sea Grapes). It was fine, a nice change from the courses so far.

Hagatsuo - Striped Bonito - Smoked in Hay (Nagasaki, Japan):

The smokiness was very subtle, but it was still a nice additional layer for the Hagatsuo itself. This held up well with the Dewazakura Oka Ginjo Sake.

Aizu - Chujou - Tokubetsu Honjozou Sake (Fukushima, Japan):

The Aizu Chujou Tokubetsu Honjozou had bigger flavors, not wild like a Muroka Nama Genshu, but it was bolder, with an almost sweetness and not as clean finishing as is my preference, but it was tasty. It also was a nice pairing with our next course, and held up well.

Spinach Marinated in Monk’s Broth, Black Sesame Tofu Sauce:

There was real Kurogoma (Black Sesame) flavors here, definitely something @paranoidgarliclover could appreciate. :slight_smile: The Spinach had a good dashi infusion, was tender and the dish worked as a nice way to enjoy your veggies and pair it with Sake, too. :wink:

Amabuki - Ichigo (Strawberry) - Nama Junmai Ginjo Sake (Saga, Japan):

We’ve had the Amabuki Ichigo (Strawberry) Sake before at Aburiya Raku, but at the time, it didn’t grab us as much as we though it might (I love Strawberries in general). For this 2nd taste, there is a hint of Strawberry, but nothing artificial or “fusion-y” to make it feel like this is some crazy wine cooler or something. :wink: It was fruity, but still held up tasting like a solid, enjoyable Nama Junmai Ginjo Sake.

Unagi Tempura:

This was fine. The Tempura frying skills in the back kitchen were OK, but didn’t approach Inaba’s Tempura while sitting at their Tempura Bar.

Tamagawa - Red Label - Yamahai Muroka Nama Genshu - Junmai Sake (Kyoto, Japan):

This was different from the other Muroka (Unfiltered) Nama Genshu Sake that we’ve had, also another big flavor bomb, but I didn’t think it was as fun or lively as Shichida or Born. But Chef David recommended this to us in preparation for our next course.

Chinmi (Rare Delicacies) - Round 2 - Maguro (Tuna), Aged 5 Months:

This was interesting and a bit fun in a “curious, science experiment” type of way: What happens to Maguro (Tuna) if you age it 5 months? What does it taste like? :slight_smile:

Chef David’s Chinmi selection of things he’s aging and fermenting never ceases to amaze us (this is absolutely one of the strongest points about Shibumi - no one in L.A. is doing stuff like this, to this level). The 5 Month Aged Maguro is very firm. Almost Fish Jerky-like, but with a better flavor profile. It was brushed with another Aged Sauce (I forgot), there was a sweetness, a salty, lightly briny taste. It was a nice pairing with the Sake, but on its own, this was one that didn’t seem as interesting taste-wise as the other Chinmi we’ve had.

Ginseng Miso Soup:

Delicious! This was delicate, a nice Ginseng note that didn’t overpower the Housemade Miso Soup. :slight_smile:

Matassa Cuvée Marguerite 2017 (France):

This was an interesting break, as Chef David felt this Matassa Cuvée Marguerite 2017 would go well with our next course. Apricot, fruity notes, an almost honey-like backnote as well.

Grilled Red Koji Duck (Simmered Daikon):

The Red Koji added a nice, savory, nuanced flavor to the Duck meat. And while this is clearly a Grilled Duck dish, the lack of crispiness on the Duck skin made it feel like it was something missing.

The Simmered Daikon was nice.

Shichi Hon Yari - Junmai Hiyaoroshi Sake (Shiga, Japan):

Chimaki (Beef Shin, Chestnuts, Sweet Potato, Wrapped in Bamboo Husk):

This was pretty good, with the Bamboo Husk being grilled over open flame to yield a light smokiness to the Rice. However the combination of Chestnut and Sweet Potato gave this dish maybe a bit too much of a sweet, nutty facet, that made it taste like a Dessert at times.

Chinmi - Round 3 - Yubeshi (Miso, Walnuts, Yuzu Fruit), Aged 1 Year:

Chef Schlosser makes his own Yubeshi, grinding up Walnuts, Yuzu Fruit and his own Miso, then aging it for over 1 Year(!). This is concentrated, potent earthy, nuttiness, with a savory and sweet angle. Quite tasty and a nice pairing with our final Sake. :slight_smile:

We were about done, but the bar manager started chatting it up with our friend (who’s a big Whisky fan), and shows off a few bottles, talking about each one.

Ichiro’s Malt - Chichibu - Port Pipe - Japanese Single Malt Whisky:

This was the only one I tried, and it was very smooth and seductive. :slight_smile: A really nice way to slowly sip away the evening.

At this point Shibumi feels like a place to enjoy some of Chef David Schlosser’s rare Chinmi creations, these little bites of aged or fermented delicacies, that are a great pairing with certain types of Sake. Shibumi also makes it a point to bring in a bunch of Seasonal Sake (a few years ago they were one of the few L.A. restaurants to get in the Shichida Spring Limited Edition Muroka Nama Genshu).

Shibumi is still one of the very few restaurants in the U.S. to serve true Kobe Beef (from Kobe, Japan), but we’ve found when trying it side-by-side with A5 Wagyu Beef (from Miyazaki, Japan) that he also carries, that the A5 Wagyu was close enough and only half the price. There are some other standouts that appear from time-to-time, but also some dishes that fall into the simply “OK / good, not great” category as well.

But the key is to get a seat in front of Chef Schlosser, start a conversation and ask the Chef questions and listen to some fascinating stories of how he prepares certain dishes, or him talk about his training and time in Japan.

815 S. Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel: (213) 265-7923


Thanks for the update, he certainly has some interesting aged goodies. Do you feel its more of a drinking and snacking bar?

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Hi @Sgee,

Yes, but depending on the new seasonal dishes (that rotate every season0, sometimes you’re able to put together a satisfying meal with Sake as well. But over our numerous visits, I’d agree with @J_L that you get some “snacks” (small plates) - that might be very good - and then some ho-hum, OK dishes that might’ve been better skipping and enjoying more Sake (or their Cordials / or unique Cocktails, or a pour from their Japanese Whisky selection), etc.

We’ve had some real, legit highlights, like the Abalone, Housemade Yuba, Santa Barbara Uni; the California Holstein Beef Strip, Grilled with Fresh Wasabi and Narazuke Pickles; Salmon Trout Smoked with Cherry Bark; Chilled Yuba and Corn Soup was phenomenal; the A5 Wagyu or True Kobe Beef preparations are quality offerings (sourcing is legit); but absolutely the Chinmi (Rare Delicacies) are the most unique things to try there with Sake.

And thinking about it, the other challenge is, the dishes I listed above rotate in and out. He’s kept the Salmon Trout Smoked with Cherry Bark on the menu consistently, as well as the Holstein Beef Strip, and while the A5 Wagyu and True Kobe Beef are newer additions, they haven’t rotated off the menu yet (so I think they’ll be mainstays).

The rest of it is random / rotating. If you see some of those dishes, get them.


Nice @Chowseeker1999! You’re really good at sake! Shimbumi is interesting to me. Overall do u recommend?

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Hi @TheCookie,

Thanks. :slight_smile: I would say it depends on what you’re in the mood for. Are you in the area and want to try some rare Chinmi and pair it with some interesting Sake? Some of the main items that don’t rotate are worth it (mentioned in an earlier post). You could put together a light meal with some tasty bites and some seasonal Sake, and chat it up with Chef Schlosser about his knowledge of Japan and the preparation that goes into his Chinmi (fascinating). :slight_smile:

For food only, skipping Chinmi and Sake? There are better choices out there.

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Got it. Thanks!

Very few people are doing this in the continental United States.


It is safe to say that very few people are doing this anywhere–even in Japan.

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Baroo Canteen is all about fermentation.

David Chang’s group has a fermentation lab.


So … Hawaii?

Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that there aren’t many other places doing interesting things with fermentation. David Chang has been making Changian versions of miso and soy sauce for a while. Jeremy Umansky is doing very interesting and boundary pushing things with koji in Cleveland. But not too many places in the US are doing traditional chinmi like Schlosser. Sushi Sho in Hawaii… Amane in NYC (although have to request and/or be a regular)… I’m sure I’m missing a few places and I’d love to know which!

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I’d never even heard of chinmi until it came up in Chang’s podcast.

Here is a Japanese language Google image search of “Japanese chinmi” for curious eyes: https://www.google.com/search?q=日本の珍味&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS727US727&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjUi9nI78HjAhXUsJ4KHcRBCFsQ_AUIESgB&biw=2133&bih=1041&dpr=0.9

I’m drooling, thanks!

A lot of places that serve this stuff buy it ready made. Big big big big props to places that make it in house (Shibumi for example).

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The one with Schlosser? That’s a great episode.