Shibumi

Shibumi

Los Angeles, USA

Jan 2018

‘Did you manage to land a seat at Shibumi? Fine.’ This expected Downtown new opening is genius, since you have to find it as if it were a real izakaya in Tokyo, at the foot of some anonymous building on a signless road, as if they were all perfectly hidden. We are in Downtown, next to a car-repair garage on dark Hill St. A mouth-window shows nothing and you draw aside a dark Japanese curtain to cross the threshold. The long bar-counter and some small tables stand in sharply cool semi-darkness, while the music plays. It is all very-LA-and-not-so-Japanese style, but the kitchen has an obsession, a perfection, an elegance and an explosion in the small portions that remind us of the best restaurants in Tokyo. We order (and would order again): (1) Fava Bean, Green Pea, Shiso Leaf Rice; (2) House-Made Silken Tofu, Crab, Salmon Caviar, Fresh Wasabi; (3) Salmon Trout Smoked with Wild Cherry Bark; (4) Baby Tapioca in Bitter Almond Milk, Chino Melons in Melon Seed Sauce. A predictable Downtown star that goes straight into our list of the best small restaurants in Los Angeles.