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Jun 3, 2012 04:42 AM

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Verdict: As good as ever. My itamae this night was Shinji-san.

Highlights this time of year include: Chilled house-made tofu, Uni ice cream with salsa gazpacho, Hotaru ika (firefly squid) with cucumber & shiro miso sauce, House-smoked wild sockeye salmon nigiri with sweet kelp, "Ayu" (Japanese sweet fish) grilled simple with sea salt, served with dried apricot & matcha vinegar, Ishikarei (stone flounder) nigiri with yuzu rind, Seared masa (ocean trout) belly nigiri, and House-made brown sugar + ginger ice cream.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. Amazing pics as always.

    I remember you had said in another thread where either your photos didn't turn out so well or you decided not to take photos at all (I think it was the latter) that it was because you didn't have your light source with you. May I ask what you use for lighting when you take photos? I'm worried that the photos that I'll be taking on my solo food tour a few weeks from now might be too dark (see my photos from Waterloo & City for examples of my concern:, and I would like to avoid using a flash as to not disturb the other diners.

    I've heard for several weeks now, from Shunji @ Shunji and from Maru @ Mori, that hotaru ika season is ending very soon. I found the ones I had at Shunji to be better than the ones I had at Mori, which was about a month and a half later. If you've had hotaru ika earlier in the season, how did it compare to what you had at Kiriko this week?

    If you don't mind me asking, what was the cost of your omakase?

    5 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC


      Kiriko's sushi bar has excellent light, so no need to bring an external light source.

      I think hotaru ika is, like most other seafood, batch-dependent. The firefly squid I had at Kiriko are just as good as any other I've had so far this season at various other places. I don't think shokunin of Maru-san or Shinji-san's caliber would serve it to us customers if it was anything less than stellar.

      The absolute best preparation of hotaru ika I've had so far this year, though, is at Nishimura.

      Price-wise, please note that I went into extra rounds with my omakase after the anago (i.e. seared o-toro, blue crab hand roll, tamago, 3 extra desserts), so my meal came out to be $191 per person.

      1. re: J.L.

        Would you mind sharing what you use for light source anyway, when you're at darker venues? If it's a trade secret, I understand. :-)

        Oh, I wouldn't expect any of the chefs that we're discussing to serve subpar hotaru ika (or anything else, for that matter). I was more wondering if you noticed any changes in flavor or texture from earlier in the season up to now, when the season should be already over, but you're probably right that it's more batch-dependent.

        Thanks. I had been curious at what point had Shinji-san indicated that the omakase would be wrapping up. It looks like the courses after the anago were probably $40 to $50 in cost (guesstimating the seared o-toro at $10, blue crab hand roll at $8, tamago at $5, extra desserts at $5-$8 each), so the "original" cost of your omakase that night would have been around $140 to $150?

        1. re: PeterCC

          Just shoot at a higher ISO if it's dark - The food isn't gonna move. Have a steady hand. Or bring a Gorilla Pod.

          1. re: J.L.

            All my photos thus far have been taken on my iPhone 4S. It actually does a decent job in low light, but the bar at W&C was a little too dark. I may bring a dedicated camera on my food tour, but it's a mid-end point-and-shoot not a DSLR, so I'll have to fiddle with the settings. It does have a newer CMOS sensor (rather than CCD), which also does great in low-light. Hopefully between the two, I can get some decent pics.

    2. Great pictures!! I've been to Kiriko a couple of times recently for omakase lunch but it's several years since I've been there for dinner. I love Kiriko, and Shinji even remembered me when I came back after a couple of year absence, even as just an occasional lunch customer. Ken is such a nice guy too. Always feel at home there. I posted this at first to ask what your bill was, not having seen that you posted the total upthread. Do you know what your bill would have been without the extras you ordered? Thanks.

      1. I was there Friday and greatly enjoyed the uni ice cream as well. The hotate sashimi was also outstanding that night, as was the Copper River Salmon sushi.

        1. OK, this officially too much goodness.

          Would any Chow Hound be willing to pick me up at the Union Pacific station to share a lunch?

          1 Reply
          1. Wow that meal does look great. Three desserts too?


            And what were the three desserts and did that include the uni ice cream among the three desserts?

            By the way, last time I was at Kiriko, a few months back, they had something that started with a k ... (???) that was supposed to be like a harmless fish very similar in taste and texture to fugu,???

            anyone know what i'm talking about ?


            4 Replies
            1. re: kevin

              Kawahagi. Very nice when served with it's own liver.

              1. re: Porthos

                Should I get it next time I'm there? I remember it being a pretty pricey sashimi either 22 bucks or maybe even 40 bucks.

                Should I ask when I order it to ask for the liver too or does it already come with the liver?

                Actually Portos if I were going there just for maybe say about 5 dishes, what would you recommend I get? I may hold off on omakase for a while.


                1. re: kevin

                  I'd ask JL regarding what top 5 dishes to get. I like the ayu there, especially if it's filled with eggs. Matsutske dobinmushi if you go in the fall.

                  As for kawagagi, it's a bit similar to halibut maybe even less flavorful. I probably wouldn't get it without the liver but that's just me.

              2. re: kevin

                It looks like J.L. had five dishes that could be considered dessert, with the uni ice cream as part of a starter sashimi plate, and _four_ desserts at the end (note he said "three extra desserts", which I took to mean in additional to the regular dessert--also, the last photo had three scoops of ice cream in three bowls and then one scoop of what is likely their mango sorbet in the martini glass).