I never would have imagined that some of the best sushi of my life could be found in Sherman Oaks. This new cozy relaxed mid-century-esque sushi and wine bar offers some of the freshest and most unique fish I’ve savored in LA. On a weekday evening, Chef Kiminobu Saito is carefully selecting and slicing delicate velvety sushi while nearby I watch the first female chef I’ve ever seen in a sushi restaurant applying the skills learned from this master.
The courses flow at Sushi Note as I witness what is written on a small chalkboard (Japanese Market Fish) near the bar appear one by one like a gift before me. Luscious salmon from Scotland, buttery bluefin fatty tuna from Peru and Spain, as well as Japanese selections like uni, red snapper, halibut, amberjack, alfonsino kinmedai with an umami flavor, grunt isaki with a yuzu pepper paste kick, and cured and salted shad from the mackerel family that looks like a sardine. I learn that you can tell a quality sushi restaurant based on how the shad is prepared.
Sautéed lotus root appears next, which I learn is a good source of fiber, then house-made sesame tofu with miso made from fish broth (rather than water) sprinkled with gold flakes arrives like artwork. Translucent amber-orange wild salmon roe marinated with sake paste brings huge smiles and laughs to 3 jovial Asian ladies nearby and I know I must try it. Real wasabi is ground in front of me and I realize that I had no idea it came from a root like ginger or turmeric. Other tidbits that fascinate me are the grilling of the seaweed on both sides of the hand rolls. Sushi Note’s traditional Japanese menu items dazzle me as the courses feel like part of a song’s musical notes.
I can’t help but admire the photo of the chef as a young boy, with his father in Japan that hangs behind him as he works with expert concentration. The pan-seared miso glazed Japanese eggplant is devoured easily since it tastes like healthy candy. The wagyu biscotti’s meat comes from southern Japan. Off-menu items are possible too like the popular Japanese favorite, Umi Shiso, a sweet and sour roll with pickled plum, cucumber, and bonito flakes. The sourness comes from the plum and the sweetness from the sugar and rice.
In the warm charming intimate space, I slide off my bar stool to find special framed romantic handwritten notes in the bathroom and musical notes along the walls. Apparently, the owner used to own Augustine across the street and while Sushi Note’s place sat vacant, the now owner slipped a note under the door inquiring about the space and thus, Sushi Note was eventually born through a note.
Come before 6 PM and get 25% off a sushi sampler.
Happiest Hour 5:30 – 6:30 pm.
Wine pairings are offered and waitstaff will help guide you through their carefully curated wine, beer, and sake selection.
13447 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA
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