Shibumi - First Impressions

Sensual and salacious. The casual, inviting, yet polished feel of Shibumi is entirely enchanting. It’s difficult to spot the entrance to the place unless you know the shape of the window you are looking for on Hill just south of 8th street, but an incredible amount of people have found their way inside without much press. The reason for that is most likely because the amount of talent in the place is ridiculous. It seems like the best bar and service staff have been carefully selected to support Chef Schlosser’s vision of the restaurant as striking an almost impossible balance between formalism and relaxation.

Cocktails are simple and spectacular, no need for flash or a million ingredients to make drinks that you will crave weeks after having them. Wine is rarified, and fascinating, while pairing perfectly with the dishes. The sake selection is dazzling.

The food is almost ludicrous in its own way. You might find yourself eating sashimi cut as perfectly as at one of the premiere sushi joints nearby; Chef Schlosser is the guy that started Urasawa, worked in some of the best sushi places in Japan for a decade, and started Shuko in NYC after all; watching him cut fish, and paying $18 for a plate of it feels almost…wrong…like you’re taking advantage of a close friend somehow.

Heritage pork is exceedingly simple. Rich, incredibly high-quality pork in the deckle cut providing a lovely contrast of textures. High-quality ingredients, meats perfect cooking technique. Easy to eat, and utterly superb.

Chef Schlosser makes the best tofu I have ever had. So good I opted to have his dessert tofu with apricot seeds even though I have a mild allergy to apricots haha Impossibly luscious, accented by the piquant apricot in a subtle, beautiful way.

I wouldn’t say this is a full review. Full disclosure, I do know Chef Schlosser, and I was given the dessert, and some sake for free. However, I still completely believe that this is one of the most interesting restaurants to open in LA in a long time. Nearly everything about it is awesome. It is quiet, and nicely lit, being neither dark, nor bright inside. The food is simple, cooked perfectly, and made with incredible ingredients. Service is impeccable. For the quality, price feels almost low. Cocktail + 2 glasses of wine + 2 dishes ended up at $105 for me (I suppose it would have been closer to $130 with the dessert and sake I was comped)

I highly recommend you go try the place out. As far as the other patrons I’ve met there, it seems like the best and brightest from the rest of the restaurant industry are the ones filling the seats. Chef Schlosser is almost a chef’s chef if you will, and what that means is that he is flying under the radar somewhat, despite his almost obscene levels of talent.

I can’t wait to return for fuller meal. Hell, I enjoy just popping in for drinks as I can’t think of a nicer place to drink in the entire city at the moment.


Nice report. Good to have you back.

Hope Mexico City was a success.

Looks great, need to go back now.

I went back and ate Shjbumis entire menu last weekend but couldn’t get photos sadly.

This is truly a place everyone should bookmark as an immediate go to in LA right now.

Shibumi only seems to be getting better to me. It encapsulates the ethos expressed by its name in its dishes rather remarkably.

I usually start off a meal with a cocktail:

Armagnac, Citrus Oleo Saccharum

A simple, boozy cocktail over a huge ice block. Somehow this hrs the spot every time for me. Even the cocktails express that concept of unkbstruive beauty; the Armagnac is modified just a touch and otherwise presented on its own merits in a drink that is refreshing yet heady at the same time.

Walnuts in Red Chile Miso Paste

One of the most delicious things I have eaten in a long time. Every element is detectable on its own, the heat of chile, the bite of miso, the earthy butteriness of the walnuts. It sounds so simple and unremarkable, but somehow tastes absolutely glorious.

Dry Riesling, Kerpen, Mosel

The walnuts went impossibly well with dry Riesling. The nuts and paste made the wine really pop on the palate. I can’t recall a better pairing currently, simply exceptional.

Onion: Grilled, Fried, Raw, Braised, Broth

Onion presented in a variety of cooking methods was an inspired dish. It was fascinating to taste how each individual onion component was on its own and taken together. a whole onion was grilled and halved then braised in both of itself and topped with raw and fried onions. A slew of differing textures ranging from crunchy to plush. The peppery spice from the raw shredded onion or the slight funk of the fried bits, the softness of the braised and grilled parts and the earthy buttery broth… mind bending and yet deeply comforting. The broth was immensely flavorful and would have been a masterpiece on its own. As a study of the essence of onion this was a dish you would expect as part of a multi Michelin starred dinner. The dry Riesling also went remarkably well with the onion, bringing out its sweetness on the palate.

Grilled Chicken Leg, Matsutake Mushrooms, Egg Yolk Sauce

This was an intense and almost indescribable dish. The egg yolk sauce was an umami bomb composed of house made miso, sake and yolks beaten with a wooden spoon, but I find myself craving it constantly ever since I had it. The chicken took on a fascinating texture through slow grilling after a 3-day marinade that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Fascinating by itself in terms of its delicate, yet firm and juicy texture lightly smokey and charred but almost perfumed. Utterly succulent. The mushrooms were lovingly grilled as well but were slightly chewy and tasted of soil after fresh rain in the best way possible if that makes any sense. The mushrooms provided a counterintuitive minerality and toothsome textural contrast to the chicken and when taken with the creamy umami-laden yolk sauce a wholly unique sensation highlighting the simple flavors of both the mushrooms and chicken resulted. I was floored by this dish; culinary magic.

Steamed Rice Ball with Pumpkin Seed, Pumpkin, and Barley

I did a half order of this, which is good as it allowed me to save room for dessert. It was exceptional in showcasing the flavor of the rice itself while also displaying savory crunchy pumpkin seeds and barley as well as slices of delicate, sweet pumpkin pressed into it. Again, each element was on display on its own yet formed a wonderful whole as well. Some braised bitter greens with it also really dig somehow. An enchanting dish.

Pinot Noir, Gleichenstein, Baden and Yamahai Junmai, Tedorigawa, Ishikawa

A German rose greatly tempered the umami of the chicken dish and provided an acid component that made a great deal of sense. Immensely pleasant as a pairing. However, I felt a dry, lightly sweet sake went better with the pumpkin rice ball. An impaired dual pairing, though.

Black Ice Cream

Coruscating on the plate with its aphotic, glossy depths of splendor, dessert was an exceptional finisher. Simple black sesame ice cream with tapioca pearls; but so thick and creamy and flavorful. Made me want to renounce every other ice cream I’ve ever eaten. Not overly sweet but just amazingly texture on the tongue with a light sweetness and a bit of savor from the sesame. It really highlighted the essence of black sesame in a deep way set in a magical textural experience. Stunning.

Dupont Normandy Old World Cider

A final pairing of old world cider for the black ice cream was lovely. The tart sweetness went wonderfully with the sa princess of the ice cream.

In the recent debate about concepts of Shibumi in kaiseki contexts, etc… I can’t help but think that Shibumi captures far more of that than anything I had at N/Naka. For those unable to get seats or willing to spend $240 on dinner, this dinner cost about $70 after tax and included tip (another $63 on alcohol) and could provide an interesting alternative to exploring the concepts discussed by people regarding the heights of Japanese cuisine.

For me, it’s perfect to be able to walk into a place, sit sown and get food made with this kind of precision and thought for these prices.

I have had intense cravings for almost every dish I ate in this meal. Shibumi is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to eat.


The meusroom dish sounds amazing. Can you describe the egg yolk sauce?

Awesome timing - I’m going this weekend. I was just scanning through the FTC reports last night and it seems to be a bit split on this place. Great pictures and report.

great post, thanks
been once, when relatively new, and liked a lot, but the hits/misses was about .500
sounds like that ratio is trending well

Good post, I agree with your assessment. I have been about 5 times so far. It’s a favorite place of mine to eat AND drink, and the two seem to meld so well together here. There is also something very serene about the environment to me as well, even though some might find the music loud. I can’t seem to walk out for less than $100pp with alcohol.

A few of the dishes do not suit my palette and therefore I cannot really fault the chef other than perhaps for not pandering to my more mainstream tastes. For example, the broiled mackerel was not my favorite, but it was clearly well executed.

What I would order if I was going tonight:


  • Xarel-Lo, Macabeu, Parellada, Castell D’age, Cava sparkling white wine OR French Cider En Flute, Calvados Back
  • cherry blossom cocktail (unique take on an old fashioned, amazing aromatics)
  • Asahi on tap


  • persimmon with ginko nuts
  • sea bream
  • shrimp dumplings in broth (that broth is just the right balance of flavor and not overly rich)
  • heritage pork
  • rice cream

Better if you are there with a friend. On my own, about 3 dishes fills me up.

The egg yolk sauce was unusual. Like no other sauce I’ve had. I believe it was just egg yolk, miso, and sake. Quite viscous but not necessarily showing itself as beaten; more of a Creme Angleaise type texture than a Creme Fraiche of that makes sense (other egg yolk sauce in Japanese cuisine is often more like mayo, this was something different).

The sauce on its own would be horrible I think as it would be so intense it would be like eating straight miso or salt. It was applied in a very thin layer at the bottom of the bowl. It was so sharp that when I tried a bit of the sauce on its own (I typically try every component of a dish on its own if I can at Shibumi) I thought it must’ve been done wrong. However, when applying just a bit of that luscious sauce to a bit of chicken it seemed to make the flavors of the meat clearer, the char and fat stood out more and it produced an ineffable kind of harmony; with the mushroom, it tempered the soil flavors by providing a shocking piquancy to the soft earthiness they yielded, while again, making their flavors more noticeable but especially their particular texture. At least part of the dishes joy was in the way the sauce amplified the textures of the chicken and mushrooms while making their flavors stand in new contexts; taking all three components together was an unusual symphony of textures and flavors held together by perhaps the most intense sauce I’ve ever had.

In reflection, I am not sure I have ever had a sauce like it before.

Well, perhaps it is just hitting my palate; I am not sure I’ve ever had anything bad there to me, but at the same time there seems to be a clear trend of the kitchen understanding itself further and executing with more precision. But there is a chance that the food is just hitting my particular palate; redux Hatchet Hall hah

I’ve actually enjoyed going by myself more than with friends so far. The trend seems to be on pushing more towards dishes that require some thought. For example, I can almost see eating certain things like the onion dish or the chicken and mushrooms and finding them horrible. Maybe just me, but I find it difficult to eat food with great subtlety with other people because you inevitably are holding other conversations that detract from reflection that may be essential to enjoying the dish. In a different context, say running through good conversation with friends, or plunged into the soul of some date, perhaps you would only taste oversalted chicken and dirt mushrooms or boring onions if you took quick, unfocused bites.

I could be wrong, but the way certain dishes are composed makes me feel that they are sort of small journeys for individual minds and palates. My least favorite meal at Shibumi was when I went with other people and ate the entire menu.

I may be unusual in this regard, though.

The drinks on the other hand can probably be appreciated by anyone; I stop in somewhat often just to drink though Inused to more when they were open later.

I’m glad someone else really likes the place though haha

Those persimmons with whipped tofu are incredible. In terms of food ordering you’re right though, it’s hard to order a lot by yourself. I tried to order about 8 things originally and chef cut me down haha given how full I was, he was correct to do so I think.

I’ve mostly been alone but never noticed the music being particularly loud. It seems like one of the quietest restaurants in LA. I wonder if they were just cranking it one night? Or have I become too accustomed to super loud restaurants?

As for price point, I always plan to drop at least $120 with alcohol. But I can’t think of anywhere of this caliber that isn’t true. 3 cocktails/glasses of wine instantly hits $50 almost anywhere and $50 for food seems to be as low as it goes in restaurants of a certain class these days, at least in certain areas. If you find that’s not true, I’d love some tips on places that you can drink well and eat well at that fall significantly under $100/person. Such places would actually be very useful as I don’t know enough people happy to spend the Benjamin’s at most places I like.

It sounds fabulous, and those components are some of my favorites. I can’t imagine how good that must be.

Last question: Was this a cooked sauce, or a combination of raw ingredients?

I believe just raw ingredients. I think Chef Schlosser said basically just the yolk sake and miso beaten with a wood spoon. Taking a super old traditional recipe very literally. The fact that he makes his own miso in house seems to make a difference as well because I typically don’t find myself loving miso the way I do at Shibumi.

Unfortunately I think it is leaving the menu at the end of this week :frowning:

1 Like

Ate at Shibumi last weekend and had a mixed time. Might be my own dang fault though, building it up in my head and all.

The place was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday at prime time. We had asked for seat in front of the chef when we made the reservation, but they said they sat people as they came; however, it did seem like they’d saved us seats directly in front of the work station, which was appreciated, so it’s definitely worth mentioning when you make a reservation. It would be a completely different experience to sit elsewhere, I think. We didn’t speak much with chef Schlosser, but it was worth it to watch him work. Wonderful gestures and rhythm.

Here’s what we had:


  • Miso Walnuts
  • Persimmon, Ginko Nuts, Whipped Tofu
  • Egg Tofu, Uni, Nori & Wasabi
  • Heritage Pork
  • Chicken Leg, Mushroom, Egg Yolk Sauce
  • Steamed Rice Balls
  • Black Sesame Ice Cream


  • Old Fashioned
  • Japanese Cocktail (soju / orgeat?)
  • Troy Cider

Highlights were the walnuts, pork and chicken. Oh, and prolly the rice balls. My favorite was the chicken. As @Aesthete described, the egg yolk sauce was pretty tremendous, and made the chicken sing hallelujah.

Lowlight was the persimmon dish. Oof. I’ve been loving that dang fruit lately, so I was excited as all get out for this, but the whipped tofu made a strange paste and completely dried out your mouth with each bite. It was a sensation that I’m not sure was intentional.

All of the drinks were flipping fantastic. So, so good. I would come back for just a snack and drinks. That cider was especially solid. Seemingly so random for them to have such a great selection of ciders, but I’m glad they do. Forgot to try the Asahi on draft though. Rats.

I will say, the service wasn’t super. Very casual, which is fine, but it bordered on feeling like they didn’t give a shit. Not much input on the food, etc. It may have just been especially tough to swallow such lackadaisy since the place wasn’t that busy. Just felt weak in contrast to a place like Bestia that is constantly heaving yet still manages to have service that cares (or at least seems to).

Is it the number two restaurant in the city? I wouldn’t say so. But maybe I’m not smart enough to know why it would be. That said, I would definitely stop back in for a couple drinks and a bite and be relatively excited to do so.


I’ve never been able to get a seat in front of the chef even when requesting it in my reservation and arriving when they opened. They were always “reserved.” So i guess they’re first come, first served but only if you’re friends with the chef.

Such a bummer. It’s kind of an odd space for what they do, it seems.

Does sitting in front of the chef make the food taste better? Having sat in various parts of the restaurant, I couldn’t tell that it did.

I guess the place is more polarizing than I thought, but…seems like the majority of the criticism is seating arrangement, though, which…I am lost on…kind of feels like I would evaluate all restaurants far differently if my prime criteria for dining at restaurants was sitting as close to the head chef working as possible.

Well, sorry if I suckered you into a shitty experience.

Yeah, this is prolly mostly an issue for people on food boards. But I can certainly understand how seating can play into enjoying an experience at a restaurant.

Regardless of seating, I felt like the food was fine. For me, it ran the gamut from great to notsomuch.

Not at all! I appreciate the reports. Without 'em, I wouldn’t have gotten the chicken, which was the my meal’s highlight food-wise.

It maybe just wasn’t as good as I thought it might be (especially with it being ranked by jgold as #2). Admittedly, I’m a known dummy, so take my words for whatever they’re worth.

Number 2 sets an unrealistic expectation, even though Shibumi has become my neighborhood spot. I went for my sixth time last night, but I live downtown. Can’t see myself driving from afar regularly. Sat in front of Chef (because it was 6pm), it’s nice once, but it’s really not that important.

Agree it’s really about the drinking and eating together that makes it great. And finding the menu items that you really love. For me it’s a den of relaxation.

Given that my first visit was only so-so, I think this is a totally valid opinion of the place!