Sushi Shibucho on Beverly
This is the surviving Shibucho of the two sushi bar chainlet. It is on Beverly, a little bit before Rampart. Can anyone vouch for the sushi and sashimi here? Is it good enough to go head to head with Nozawa, Tsukasa, Katsu, or sasabune? also, what are the specialities here? is there any pretty exotic sushi? and I heard they have a great wine list, is this correct? do they serve wine by the glass and also how is the selection of sake? any info would be greatly apprecriated.
I can wholeheartedly vouch for the fish here. Based on limited experience at Nozawa several years ago, I'd say Shibucho is quite a bit better.
With Shige, it is easier to be a regular than a first-timer. While we never order, his response to a newcomer's request for recommendations is usually "whatever you like." If you work at getting to know him, you'll find Shige a delightful guy and the whole Shibucho experience will be at a higher level. I guess what I'm trying to say is Shibucho is a good place which, with a little effort, can be a great place.
Shige loves wine, and has one of the best wine lists in L.A. Lots of old vintages. (One time a group of us were drinking an old late harvest Zinfandel that Shige had picked and someone started talking about a better but very, very limited release late harvest Zin he'd drunk several years before. After listening to this guy go on for a few minutes, Shige went to the back room and returned with a bottle of that wine -- he said he had two more. My wine-snob friend took him very seriously after that. And Shige's choice was the better of the two wines.) There are also wines by the glass, though a relatively modest selection. And lots of sake choices.
Shibucho also has foie gras and French cheese. And when the mood strikes him, Shige makes an incredible seafood "stew" in white wine.
Not cheap, but quite wonderful.
For some reason, shige has never liked me. I've been going since Shibuya owned the place, and had my first meal there in 1980. I've brought him business and he is always very cold to me.
That being said, the only places I go regularly are Shibucho and Tsukasa. Nozawa is over-priced and while the fish is as good as at the other places, the rice is mealy and I don't like the consistency. I also hate the scallops in mayonnaise that Nozawa gives out.
On occasion both tsuka.and shib. have naka-ochi toro, the toro from between the fish bones/ribs. It's marvelous, delicate and comes in a pricy handroll.
Also, sometimes (rarely) they both have fresh-ish shako (mantis shrimp) and will make a sashimi out of sea cucumber.
Shige started with the wine a few years back. Before they had a nice selection of cold sakes. As well, Shige tends to talk a great deal about first rate french wines (and knows a great deal) that he buys at auction. However, he doesn't like or get the idea of wines with food. He was quite blunt, eat is eat, drink is drink. But there are very high quality French wines by the bottle, most over $80 as I remember. The quality stuff is not by the glass. You take home the bottle, as I've seen. I don't go there for the wine.
Also, he has some French and Italian style desserts. He became friendly with the owner (?) of Madeo's a few years back and developed a taste for their food. As a result he makes an interesting olive-oil dressed salad. I stick to the traditional stuff here.
One more note, there was a time when both of Shibuya's restaurant wouldn't even serve unagi/freshwater eel as these were sushi restaurants and it wasn't traditional to serve it. Now, once I saw someone come in and ask for spicy tuna. The attitude was that if the tuna has gone off, you cover the taste with spices, so shige wouldn't make spicy tuna. When the guy insisted and insisted even offering to "walk him through" making it, Shige told the customer that there are plenty of places which make the dish and perhaps the customer would prefer to go there.
I admire his sushi, the level is very high and the people he trains are marvelous.
The only little complaint is that they used to be open from 5:45-3am, now they close at midnight.
re: shibucho and shige
Has anyone tried the French and Italian desserts? the foie gras? and the French cheeses? are they any good?
also, what are the prices for these dishes? also, overall are the price for a complete dinner here around the cost of matsuhisa or much less (if you exclude wine and any other alcohol)?
Dessert is free. You may also get fresh fruit. All are nice.
Foie gras is excellent, as is the cheese. I think both come from Picholine, just up the street.
No way to tell what any dish costs. Without alcohol, the tab for dinner is usually in the range of $55 to $75 per person.
re: shibucho and shige
Shige is a complex guy. I suspect you've come on too strong, asking for things like naka-ochi toro, which he may have in short supply and wants to share with more customers. I've seen the negative reaction you describe when someone (maybe it was you) keeps ordering the rarities. So the "strike zone" at Shibucho, at least until you win Shige over, is somewhere above "know little" and below "know it all."
Not saying this is the best way to run a restaurant. But it's the way Shige runs his.
Who said you'll be treated like dirt? You'll get fine fish, and if you make a modest effort, you'll be rewarded by a great experience. Shige is wonderful to get to know, he's just not easy to get to know.
If that doesn't work for you, there are lots of other places. Your loss.