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Faulkner99 Jul 23, 2012 05:09 PM

I saw this place mentioned in an Urasawa review on Yelp. Invitation only, in the Palms area. Any Chow reviews? Worth trying for a reservation?

  1. MonsieurKnowItAll Sep 6, 2012 09:37 AM

    I call BS on the Yelpers saying this is exclusive invitation-only. Exclusive is SOHO House – they’ll reject you harder than your hopeful prom date back in HS. There are now many “private dining” or “supper clubs” that sound exclusive, but all you have to do is send in an online request and you’re in. Langham Supper Club is an example.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
      kevin Sep 10, 2012 09:31 PM

      anyone have a link to the online request for reservation for yamakase ?


      Also, is it in culver city ?

      1. re: kevin
        ns1 Sep 11, 2012 09:28 AM


        googled it, looked at the top right corner of the page, laughed at "invitation only dining"

        1. re: ns1
          quentinlo Jan 11, 2013 02:10 PM

          Now, now... let's be fair. This is a new establishment and they are trying to make a name for themselves. I think for a small joint and a new business, they've been doing pretty well based on word of mouth marketing/ rave reviews. I'm certain that once they build up their clientele they will enforce the invites only policy.
          it's actually pretty crazy because I was there from its inception and it was easy to book a seat, now i get pushed back a few weeks or they would try to accomodate me by adding a couple of more seats.
          The place seat no more than 10 and you spend 3-4 hrs with people next to you, definately a great place to make new friends.

    2. njfreqflyer Sep 6, 2012 05:10 AM

      Back at Yamakase for dinner last week. Chef Yama presented a late summer tasting, opening with a corn soup with crab and sea urchin; a vegetable terrine with corn, tomatoes, and eggplant; pieces of sweet eggplant lightly touched with a delicate sesame oil; and a pair of oyster shooters, one with a poached quail egg, the other with a light mignonette.

      After that, we moved into an extended feast of a freshly steamed snow crab and servings of sea urchin (two of our favorites!) in various combinations and preparations. Shaved truffle kept appearing too, providing a deep and earthy counterpoint to the light flavors from the sea.

      Yama-san then took us through several sashimi courses including toro, o-toro, isaki, and clam adductor muscle – a first time for me and a real treat.

      At some point in the meal, I recall we also had a chawanmushi steamed egg custard with matsutake mushrooms and a ginko nut.

      I think there was more, particularly during the sashimi courses, but unfortunately I can’t remember!

      Dessert was a home-made green tea ice cream accompanied with some yokan that had just arrived from Japan.

      Always great.

      1. Tripeler Jul 27, 2012 08:47 PM

        Unusual name, slightly. On the YouTube video I saw that the characters used in the name (山風) would normally be pronounced "Yamakaze" but instead they pronounce it "Yamakase" to give you the idea it is some kind of "o-makase" style of dining. Confused me a bit.

        1. njfreqflyer Jul 27, 2012 06:52 PM

          I’ve been to Yamakase a few times since it opened in December 2011. Chef Yama and co-owner Stan Liu have created a very special oasis of fine, informal-intimate dining.

          All 11 seats are at the counter, behind which all the action takes place. There is no menu and the food rises above and beyond Japanese cuisine. Each evening’s offerings are based on the seasonal - or daily - availability of ingredients. In omakase / kaiseki style, Yama-san prepares and serves an impressive progression of small plates including raw and cooked fish, meats, vegetables, soup, and creative variations on indulgent specialties from around the world. In the past, items like Iberico ham, truffles, and keiji salmon have been featured. (Just let him know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions.)

          Each dish is a work of art; tastes, textures, and appearances are designed delightfully by Yama-san. OK, so now I’m fawning …. but I’m a big fan of this place - and of Yama - and wish only that I was spending more time on the west coast these days.

          Allow yourself at least 3 hours for the full experience.

          Highly recommended.

          17 Replies
          1. re: njfreqflyer
            ns1 Jul 27, 2012 08:06 PM

            $$$, $$$$, or $$$$$?

            1. re: ns1
              njfreqflyer Jul 28, 2012 12:11 PM

              Price may vary depending on special plates and requests, but generally I'd say $$$$ - less than Urasawa; more than Mori.

              1. re: njfreqflyer
                foodiemahoodie Dec 19, 2012 12:47 AM

                That would be $$$$$ then. In fact that would make it one of the most expensive restaurants in the United States. Mori is no bargain-priced sushi joint, but probably in the top 5 most expensive restaurants in L.A. #3 as far as I know. Oh wait, #4 now that it has been surpassed by Yamakase which would be #3.

                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                  MonsieurKnowItAll Dec 20, 2012 08:45 AM

                  $$$ or $$$$ is subjective. BASE price this month is $200, but can vary since the omakase concept also applies to the final tab. I’m sure prices will keep creeping up over time.

                  1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                    foodiemahoodie Dec 20, 2012 09:52 AM

                    Based on the information about - how is it possibly subjective?

                    1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                      kevin Dec 20, 2012 04:41 PM


                      I haven't tried it yet.

                      Do we really have know someone beforehand to to go here ?


                      1. re: kevin
                        foodiemahoodie Dec 21, 2012 01:01 AM

                        I think they're playing with you a bit. It's a small place and the aura of exclusivity is always a desirable thing for a restaurant.

                        Just make a reservation request.

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                          J.L. Dec 24, 2012 09:47 AM

                          Um... They're not kidding when they say you need to have dined there before (as someone else's guest) in order to make a future reservation.

                          @kevin: Do you have the jack, 'cuz I can probably get you in the next time I go. Your treat, right? ;-)

                          1. re: J.L.
                            foodiemahoodie Dec 24, 2012 11:27 AM

                            Despite the "speakeasy" reputation - I simply went online and made a reservation. No problem. Crazy-fun experience.

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie
                              J.L. Dec 24, 2012 02:39 PM

                              Wow. Their policy must have changed. Now even more people can enjoy it!

                              I wonder when the policy change took effect...

                              1. re: J.L.
                                Porthos Dec 24, 2012 04:08 PM

                                Probably when business suffered. Same is true of Totoraku. Call. You might be pleasantly surprised.

                                1. re: Porthos
                                  kevin Dec 24, 2012 05:39 PM

                                  Wow. Totaraku too. Someone was just asking me on how to get in there.

                                  So as long as you call them for a reservation at Totoraku you are good as gold ???

                              2. re: foodiemahoodie
                                kevin Dec 24, 2012 05:44 PM

                                How much was your tab ???

                                Better than Shunjis in your opinion ?

                                1. re: kevin
                                  foodiemahoodie Dec 24, 2012 11:37 PM

                                  It "starts" at $200 a person. But to be honest, the whole evening turned out to be quite a value. I don't know if my evening there was commonplace, but a number of patrons brought liquor and shared it. My date and I got delightfully bombed on champagne, single malt scotch, pinot noir and sake. With corkage and tax it came to around $480.

                                  My date flipped for this place - the whole undercover, under-the-radar concept, clean, but decidedly and pointedly underwhelming decor - combined with 3 star service and excelled and varied food. Formal food and service, but informal/casual/comfortable atmosphere.

                                  It felt more like a chef having friends over and cooking.

                                  Better than Shunji? I'd say yes, a bit. (I enjoyed the fish dishes better than the meat). And restaurant concept is much different than Shunji. (like I said above - more like a dinner party, than a restaurant).

                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                    Thor123 Mar 20, 2013 01:59 PM

                                    I was told there is no corkage?

                                    1. re: Thor123
                                      njfreqflyer Mar 23, 2013 08:35 AM

                                      There has never been a corkage fee in the many times I have been there. Perhaps foddiemahoodie meant "tip and tax."

                              3. re: J.L.
                                kevin Dec 24, 2012 05:43 PM

                                You know me.

                                I can barely afford McD's these days.

                                I was hoping that someone could treat me, esp after my recent omakase with lobster three ways (make that four ways including the lobster miso soup)

                                And also how much is Yamakase running these days without alcohol ? My recent meal, with the lobster, was a buck fifty before tip.

                2. PeterCC Jul 24, 2012 08:58 AM

                  Interesting, this is the chef who got caught serving whale at the Hump?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: PeterCC
                    liu Jul 24, 2012 09:32 AM

                    Aaaaah, the Hump! Nice memories...

                    1. re: liu
                      Ciao Bob Jul 24, 2012 09:54 AM

                      Hump was truly great.

                      When I think back on my Sushi-volution it starts with a few pieces of maguro/hamachi with my Mom, as a novelty in the early 80's; mutates to a whole new level with Nozawa a few years later; then crosses an ocean to what felt authentically Japanese with the Hump. Very, very good in its heyday.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                        liu Jul 24, 2012 09:59 AM

                        ...and watching the touch-and-go landing/take-off practice right out the window!
                        The Hump was the whole package!

                  2. Ciao Bob Jul 24, 2012 08:37 AM


                    1. J.L. Jul 23, 2012 05:59 PM

                      About to go soon. Will report back.

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: J.L.
                        Faulkner99 Jul 25, 2012 04:59 PM

                        Looking forward to your review!

                        1. re: J.L.
                          njfreqflyer Jul 28, 2012 12:13 PM

                          As I haven't been to n/naka, I'd be interested in your thoughts comparing the two ...

                          1. re: J.L.
                            Servorg Sep 6, 2012 06:51 AM

                            J.L., did I miss your review on a separate thread somehow? I always enjoy your posts and was (still am) looking forward to this one (if it's coming).

                            1. re: Servorg
                              J.L. Sep 8, 2012 07:36 PM

                              So Sorry fellow hounds! Yes, I DID go to Yamakase a week ago, but I'm currently on vacation, and I will be writing this one up as soon as I return to L.A.!

                              Spoiler alert: LOVED it.

                              1. re: J.L.
                                kevin Sep 10, 2012 09:31 PM


                                no wonder why i haven't seen your posts in ages.

                                1. re: J.L.
                                  Servorg Oct 4, 2012 12:38 PM

                                  Sorry to be such a "nudge" (my overwhelming selfish enjoyment of your photo reviews has caused me to put aside all shame) but, any further thoughts about putting up your review of this place? Inquiring minds want to know (and see)...

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    J.L. Oct 4, 2012 04:40 PM

                                    Sorry for the tardiness. I suck. It'll be up within 72 hrs.

                                    1. re: J.L.
                                      Servorg Oct 4, 2012 04:41 PM

                                      Better to slurp than to suck...Looking forward to it. ;-D>

                                      1. re: J.L.
                                        J.L. Oct 7, 2012 05:20 AM

                                        OK, my review is (finally) up. Thanks for putting up with my tardiness in reporting back.


                                        1. re: J.L.
                                          Servorg Oct 7, 2012 07:30 AM

                                          "Thanks for putting up with my tardiness in reporting back."

                                          The pleasure of vicarious joy is worth the agony of being an annoying pest! ;-D>

                                          1. re: Servorg
                                            kevin Oct 7, 2012 03:05 PM

                                            Yeah, we are just observing from the cheap seats. A vicarious thrill, sure beats no thrill.

                                            Btw, JL, have you been to Kiriko for the dinner omakase recently ? What are some of your hit dishes for the Oct month ? I do love Shunji's which is even great and exceptional just for the sushi alone, not to mention his omakase/tasting menus, but I'll have to add something new to the once in a blue moon rotation.

                                            Suffice to say, I do love the tamago at Kiriko, and I tried the kinmedai or golden eye snapper there whish was seared though I had those items to-go though immediately ate it within a minute along with the pumpkin or rather kabocha squash jelly. Anyhow, I wasn't too imporessed with the kinmedai, unless I was supposed to specify that they don't sear it with the blowtorch.

                                            anyhow, also for servorg, if you have not gotten to Shunji's yet, get there already. even if only order a few pieces of sushi and their chocolate mousse dessert and the tomato jelly dish, it is beyond good and not too pricey if you go the order it your own way route. though most would say that you should order the omakase, shunji's menu on your first-run through.

                                          2. re: J.L.
                                            Faulkner99 Oct 10, 2012 03:10 PM

                                            Thank you for the report JL!

                                            1. re: Faulkner99
                                              kevin Oct 10, 2012 05:05 PM

                                              Yes, it's much appreciated.

                                              You are the man. !!!

                                              Btw, Faulkner, have you written any more award-winning novels recently ?

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                J.L. Oct 10, 2012 05:56 PM


                                                1. re: kevin
                                                  Faulkner99 Oct 11, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                  Ha! No Kevin, it's difficult to write without any light down here.

                                                  1. re: Faulkner99
                                                    Servorg Oct 11, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                    Don't the flames give off some light? ;-D>

                                                2. re: Faulkner99
                                                  J.L. Oct 10, 2012 05:57 PM

                                                  Thanks !

                                    2. n
                                      ns1 Jul 23, 2012 05:18 PM

                                      Did find a full blog:


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ns1
                                        njfreqflyer Jul 27, 2012 06:53 PM

                                        There's also a video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcSN3d...

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