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Sticker shock at Sushi Shibucho

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  • Monique L. Jul 29, 2001 10:31 PM

My fiance and I are sushi fanatics and thought we'd try Shibucho since I had heard they were great and that they serve foie gras there as well, which i have been craving. Well we had a great meal there and didn't think too much about the fact that there was no menu and no prices listed. We ate our usual amount of sushi (which at say Nishimura's would run about $70) and also ordered 1 foie gras (but they accidentally gave us 2 which we happily ate, i mean how expensive could they really be). We also had a couple large Asahi's. I knew it would be expensive but we were shocked when the bill came and it was $190 (add $30 for tip!). Had I known, I probably would have gotten my foie gras somewhere else. Great food but not really worth the price.

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  1. went to shibucho too. it is extremely priced. i was going to try the foie gras, but the sushi chef warned us that it was about $50 per serving so we abstained. this place can easily hit $100 per person (without including any alcohol even). also, the chef does not seem to be remotely hospitable. but i must admit the sushi and sashimi is really some of the best in LA without question. though it is atrociously overpriced.

    Monique, when you went to Nishimura is the $70 bill for one person or two? I was a little confused. if so maybe i'll try Nish. next time. also, do they serve desserts at Nish, like they do at shibucho?

    10 Replies
    1. re: kevin

      monique, i forgot to ask, is the foie gras served as a pate or served cooked? and was the taste of the foie gras as good as places sucha ss chinois, mako, and joe's?

      1. re: kevin

        Kevin,
        The foie gras was cooked and served with little slices of bread that you spread it on. But it was different from the foie gras at Joe's or Andre's in Las Vegas, which is seared and thinly sliced. I am no expert, probably cuz i have trouble finding the stuff :(, but it almost had the consistance of a pate style that was seared. As we drove home from Shibucho, I told my fiance, we should have gone to Joe's. By the way, any tips on where to get the best foie gras? Despite my limited experince I am hooked!

        1. re: Monique L.

          nouveau cafe blanc (a gem that not many people are aware of) is very good for foie gras, chinois on main, and bistro 21. also, do you know exactly how much the foie gras you ordered at Shibucho costed?

          1. re: kevin

            I have no idea how much the foie gras cost at Shibucho, or anything else for that matter. When we asked for a menu they said they didn't have one, however they did have a wine menu. But I imagine from our total bill that it was at least double the cost of anywhere I have been. Someone on an earlier posting said $50 a pop. Also we only order 1 order but it they instead brought us 2. Maybe that was our punishment for not buying a bottle of wine.

      2. re: kevin

        Yes, it can be expensive. But I've eaten meals there, and the bill for two was under $60, but that's without alcohol and just standard in-season fare. Sashimi really pushes up the bill there, and things like the butterfish (black cod) and chawan mushi add up.

        But I've never been tempted to try the olive-oil dressed Italian salad or the foie gras. When Mr. Shibuya ran the place, for a long time he wouldn't serve unagi as it wasn't a sea fish. With Shige's discovery of Western food, out went the great collection of cold sakes and in came the interesting wine list.
        But if I'm going for foie gras, why not go to a French or Hungarian place where there's a tradition of serving it well? If the Iron Chef is any indication, the Japanese use of truffles, foie gras, sturgeon caviar and lobster is really kind of a potlatch, use for the conspicuous consumption of expensive delicacies. I've seen something similar in cantonese/H.K. restaurants and the consumption of sharks fins and abalone.
        Still, I like Shibucho (note my earlier post if you care about how surly Shige can be) because I trust the freshness of the fish here, and his skill as a sushi chef. I could give a flying "f" about his wine collection or his use of western ingredients. It's not Matsuhisa and I don't care for Matsuhisa. And I'm not interested if a Sancerre or a Muscadet or a Suduiraut is the best wine accompaniment to An-kimo. I'm happy to have a sake or a beer with my sushi. Shige once made a comment about wine that he didn't like to pair wines with food, as he said (and I recall) food for food, drink for drink. Perhaps he's changed his mind, but I think that's not the attitude of a sommelier that I'd trust.
        Go for the fish at Shibusho (not Sushi Shibucho), be reasonable about your alcohol consumption and it will be on the high side of reasonable.

        In fact, you can simply sit at at table, say how much you'd like to spend for the dinner for two, whether you want sushi or sashimi, and let them bring you whatever they like within your budget. I did this the first time I went back in 1981 and I had a marvelous meal. You may not get delicacies but you will have some of the most wonderful fresh sushi in LA.

        1. re: jerome

          toro sashimi at $20 that's the most I've ever seen it. and a uni handroll over $10. i guess if you stick only to sushi (staying away from toro or sea urchin) maybe you can get out for about $40-$50 per person.

          1. re: kevin

            I'm curious. Since the bill is never itemized, how do you know what costs what? I've had the entire scallop served, some parts sashimi and other parts broiled, it seemed to cost about $12-15. I think the sashimi orders are about $6-8 double that if two people get their own ( I usually share the sashimi orders). The nigiri sushi was about $4-6, and the cut rolls or hand rolls $5-7.
            The sake was about $4-5, for small, $7-8 for a large. The tea and miso used to be free, now they charge for miso.
            Also, there never seemed to be rhyme or reason to the prices and the bills. A friend of mine used to think that if the chef was in a good mood, he'd charge less, in a foul mood, he'd charge more.
            I'm the guy who brought up my feelings about Shige, and still, when I have friends in from out-of-town, that's the sushi bar we'll go to at night. The fish is astounding, I think.

            1. re: jerome

              my friend was so shocked at the prices he demanded to see the itemized sushi list. and within in a couple minutes shigue supplied the list with all the prices. and dessets aren't even free, i think they were about six bucks a pop. things like the toro or sea urchin were written in since they depend on the market and can fluctuate per what shige told me. also, the sashimis that i saw on our lists were all at least $10 minimum each. though i think the nigiri zushi were anywhere from $4-5 (save for toro/uni/etc.) maybe we got ripped off, i'm not sure what the deal is, but usually at good sushi places such as tsukasa and saito's the toro sashimi runs about $12, which why i was pretty shocked myself. and the uni handroll was the pricest handroll i have ever had. I don't know. Now that i think about it maybe we really were ripped off. but i still have to admit the sushi/sashimi is very good, definitely much better than saito's and even better than tsukasa. also at tsukasa the bill never amounted to more than $50-60 (not incl. drinks but inc. some sashimi, butterfish, etc.) whereas at shibucho you can easily hit a $100.

          2. re: jerome

            just wanted to bump this part of an old thread on shibucho, and his wines.

          3. re: kevin

            kevin,
            I checked my checkbook and saw that our last bill at Nishimura's was $99 (with 20% tip) for the both of us.... and we really really ate well. We even had some pricer items like Abalone Sashimi, and also had a couple beers. The other time we went our bill was less... more like $85 (for 2 with 20% tip). I think you will also find Nishimura himself friendlier than Shige at Shibucho. Shige was actually quite nice to us (however we were extra friendly cuz i had heard about his reputation on this board) but I kinda got the feeling he was laughing at us and some other patrons. (maybe cuz we drank beer with our foie gras ~ we would have spent $300 if we ordered wine there, which they tried to get us to order with our foie gras!!) Of course I am not sure they were laughing at us since they were speaking Japanese, but it felt like it. As for desert at Nishimura's, can't help you we ate so much sushi we didn't even ask about any. I will say that Nishimura's is definately worth trying! Seems like a bargain now after Shibucho!