Just back from a very good lunch omakase at Shiki. The meal was very good but that’s not the big news. The big news is who was there: Chef Mori (he who is the namesake of Mori Sushi). We chatted with him briefly: he said that after some years away, growing rice and making pottery, he felt the call of sushi again and has been at Shiki for a few months now. My guess is to do sushi with him you have to book at dinner and at the special sushi bar in the back. He urged us to come back on our next trip and we promised him we would. Our young sushi chef told us he’s a great teacher–he seems to be in charge of their rice (which is imported from Japan but blended and prepared to his specifications).
Odd. I thought there’d be a greater response to/interest in this from sushi mavens here. Is this old news?
I for one thought this is fantastic news and plan on hitting up Shiki when I get back to LA from vacation. I’d say all the thumbs up on your OP are the board’s expression of interest in and appreciation for the find.
Have you been to Mori Sushi? If so, was the preparation at Shiki at all reminiscent of it it?
Woah this is fantastic news. Gosh if only we could all take a few years away to grow rice and make pottery…
Yes, it was a nice surprise to see him there back in November. We always sit with Hiro-san, but I think Mori-san did prepare the kanpyo maki at the end. The rice is very good; I know they had experimented with blending a few different vinegars a little while ago. Shiki is a nice but comfortable spot with a diverse menu, the sushi is always very enjoyable.
Some pics from my November visit (reposted from the November weekend rundown thread). What I liked was the layering of some slices of fish for more surface area (on the otoro and saba nigiri):
Ankimodofu. I’ve had tamagodofu, kanidofu, and gomadofu, but never ankimodofu. It was quite nice - clean, with the ankimo essence.
Otsumami plate: shirako in dashi, zuwaigani wrapped in pickled daikon with sumiso sauce, nibitashi vegetables, kanpachi no nanbanzuke, edamame, and persimmon gelee. Lots of textures here - creamy, crunchy, silky, snappy, crispy. Favorites were the snow crab and the nanbanzuke which had just the right pitch.
Otsukuri plate: ohtoro, mirugai, madai no konbujime, aori-ika, saba. Great stuff.
Abalone with mushrooms and mitsuba in ankake sauce. Great slippery and chewy textures - my favorites were the enoki with the abalone and the refreshing mitsuba.
madai no konbujime (kelp-marinated bream)
kohada (gizzard shad)
kanburi (winter mature yellowtail)
akamizuke (marinated lean bluefin tuna)
aji (horse mackerel)
kinmedai no aburi (seared golden-eye snapper)
ebi with ebi oboro underneath (shrimp, from Mexican Gulf, with dried ground shrimp)
otoro (fatty bluefin tuna)
nodoguro no aburi (seared “blackthroat” sea perch)
ikura (fresh salmon roe)
uni (sea urchin gonads)
anago shirayaki (saltwater eel)
anago with nitsume and pickled kelp (saltwater eel)
kanpyo maki (pickled gourd roll)
torotaku maki (fatty tuna mixed with pickled daikon roll)
warabi mochi with vanilla ice cream and fruit
That mackerel looks great
Nice pics. Your meal was with Hiro-san, right? Thanks.
Yes, on our previous two trips (2015 and 2016). My appreciation of the finer points of sushi craft is nowhere near the levels of some on this board but I would say that our meal at Shiki was closer to the Mori/Shunji end of the spectrum than to the Sushi Sushi end of the spectrum (and there’s no comparing this lunch omakase to the one we had at Sushi Sushi). In fact, I’d put it alongside our lunch omakase at Sushi Tsujita a few years ago. The younger chef we had at Shiki (Chef Jun) was not on the level of Chef Yoshi at Mori but the cuts were precise (nothing quite as baroque as in some of what BradFord was served by the senior chef) and his knowledge impressive (and he also has a very winning personality). The quality of the meal made me surprised that there’s not more talk about Shiki here. Their $60 lunch omakase seems like the option for people on stricter budgets (far better value than the slightly cheaper lunch omakase at Kiriko).
I don’t think comparisons to Mori are warranted at this point, nor expectations that Mori’s presence there means that Shiki is now in his image. The sense we got in conversation with our chef and with Chef Mori was that he’s not in charge, more sort of instructing by example on some things. Could be wrong. I’m sure one of the sushi mavens here will soon be making a call to see if they can do an omakase with him at Shiki and they’ll then be able to tell us more.
In the meantime there is this somewhat odd situation: the top sushi bar in town is Mori, but Mori himself is at Shiki (where he’s not the top dog).
Thanks - yes, this meal was with Hiro-san (I’ve pretty much always sat with Hiro-san, as I think Shige-san does the separate sushi bar which is a different menu). Hiro knows our tastes: some otsumami, an otsukuri plate, some cooked abalone, nigiri, ending with anago and torotaku maki. I’ve always liked Shiki’s tuna, mackerel (both saba and aji), and saltwater eel in particular.
Maybe Morinoya will return as well!