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Mar 8, 2013 02:08 PM

Yamakase "Reservation"

Has anyone been able to get in using their reservation request form?

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  1. I have a friend who did. Reserved some time last December for a Jan 3 dinner.

    4 Replies
      1. re: foodiemahoodie

        Doesn't it say on the website like click here for reservations so that you don't in fact need to know someone to get in ?

        1. re: kevin

          Yes, but it's to submit a request only; it's not an actual reservation.

      1. Thanks, everyone. I'm happy to say that I now have first-hand knowledge of it. I got in and will be going tomorrow. They were very gracious in their email messages. Now to figure out what wine(s) to bring...

        15 Replies
        1. re: condementia

          Did they mention a price per person in the email correspondence ?

            1. re: condementia

              So it would be the midpoint between a Shunji meal and an Urasawa meall.

              (btw, i wonder if urasawa will have a negative drop off in customers due to the recent labor practices imbroglio).

              1. re: kevin

                Should also mention that it's BYOB and there's no corkage fee (they don't offer any alcoholic beverages).

          1. re: condementia

            How was it? What wine(s) did you bring?

            1. re: Thor123

              Yes, please report back.

              Inquiring minds want to know.

              1. re: kevin

                Will do...I have been trying to find the piece of paper where I wrote down the courses.

                @Thor123, I brought a bottle of NV Agrapart et Fils champagne and a half bottle of 2007 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Lytton Springs, which actually turned out to be the perfect complement for the wagyu.

                1. re: condementia

                  Thanks. Was it great?

                  I am bringing two bottles of Sake:
                  Kuro Kabuto Jumai Daiginjo and
                  Jinyu 100 Poems Junmai Diginjo. My friend is bringing champagne (not sure which).

                  1. re: Thor123

                    It was quite a treat and I hope to return.

                    I loved almost all of the dishes (the only one I didn't like was only due to me not liking the texture of the fish, needlefish). The nori was truly a revelation; the best I've ever tasted.

                    I'm not a sake drinker but I imagine that it would pair very well with the dishes.

                  2. re: condementia

                    Here goes...

                    Here are some notes on my dinner last month. I arrived right on time and was the first one there (street parking is a challenge). While waiting for the others, I got to see Yama-san prep the hairy crab that was still moving about. There were five diners that night and the pace was slightly on the faster side (I think it was done within 2 hours). I missed some things because I was the only one writing things down and did not want to hold everybody up or throw off Yama-san’s timing (he set timers for certain items). Combined with my not-so-stellar memory, I’m afraid this report may be lacking and imprecise. In any case, it is what it is so I’ll just give you what I have.

                    Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and want to return when it’s fiscally responsible for me to do so. Service was wonderful. The two things that really stood out for me were the toro and the nori, both of which were the best I’ve had.

                    1. Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, Cinco Jotas (J5) + caviar
                    I feel bad as I write this but, honestly, I was a little disappointed. A dollop of caviar was placed atop pieces of the ham. I didn’t understand the name of the caviar or the label (he said it was an Italian purveyor). The flavor of each component was great but I would have preferred to have eaten them separately, which I ended up doing. IM(very)HO, I also thought that the pieces were a little too thick. I think thinner slices would have emphasized the unctuousness of this coveted ham.

                    2. Fresh baby eel with green peach and sesame sauce
                    The baby eel were small, thin and semi-translucent and almost looked like fresh noodles. It had a clean and delicate flavor with a somewhat rich mouth-feel. The green peach was totally new to me. It was about the size of a gingko nut or small kumquat. I thought it would be tart but it was sweet and had a definite peach flavor.

                    3. Baby squid + cucumber, yuzu sauce
                    These were the tiniest squid I’ve ever seen, maybe about 1-1/2 inches long, end to end.

                    4. Steamed ice fish with plum jam
                    This was the one dish that I did not enjoy because I did not like the texture of the fish. It was steamed and the flesh was soft but when you chewed it, it felt like there were tiny, delicate needles (which, of course wasn’t the case). It was a weird sensation; it was not like biting into fish bones that are fine.

                    5. Tofu 2 ways, uni from Hokkaido and custardy crab innards (maybe kani miso)
                    Both were delicious. The uni from Hokkaido was darker in color than the one from Sta. Barbara. It was my first time trying it and I think I prefer the SB ones. It may have been just a color thing but I felt that the SB ones have a more prominent fruitiness/mango flavor.

                    6. Torched belt fish with 600-year old Himalayan pink salt rock
                    I loved the smokiness of the fish and the salt, which he grated from a large-sized rock (it looked like it was larger than an American football), was quite impressive. Yama-san said that it was about a 1/3 of the size of what it was when he first started using it.

                    7. Kusshi oysters from Washington with soft poached quail eggs 2 ways, uni from Santa Barbara wih yuzu sauce and blue crab with sesame sauce
                    The oysters were small, sweet and creamy and the eggs were divine, with the creaminess matching the oysters.

                    8. Steamed live hairy crab from Hokkaido
                    Served straight up. Very sweet and succulent. I thought that the hairy part was going to be more prickly but it was more brush-like.

                    9. Chawanmushi, gingko nut, beltfish, shrimp, clams, +++
                    There were several other items and I remember being amazed that he was able to fit them all in the little vessel. It was amazing. The only thing that I thought was that there could have been more of the custard.

                    10. Toro with freshly grated wasabi, eggplant, crab, poached quail egg and soy sauce-maui onion sauce
                    It was the softest, most supple toro I have ever tasted. I hadn't seen this before but Yama-san peeled off a layer/ring of the flesh and then sliced it in such a way that there was no connective tissue in the piece.

                    11. Pan seared A5 wagyu tenderloin from kagoshima prefecture, with buna shimeji mushrooms and WhistlePig Rye whiskey sauce.
                    All the flavors and textures went really well together. The loin was just as you'd expect an A5 wagyu to taste like, a luscious and divine bovine experience. I was almost full at this point so I asked if I could bring the rest home and they obliged.

                    12. Sashimi: bluefin tuna, toro, line-caught spanish mackerel from Japan,kanpachi
                    All were excellent but if I had to pick the best of the best, it would be the toro and the spanish mackeral from Japan

                    13. Hand roll with toro and ?
                    I can't remember what the other protein was but the nori was exceptional. tt was very dark and firm but it almost melted in your mouth. The warmth of the rice made it seem as if it had just been toasted.

                    14. Acai sorbet
                    The perfect end. It had an herbaceous quality to it, not too sweet and not too tart. I thought that he had mixed in some matcha or some kind of tea but Yama-san said that it was only the berry.

                    The bill came out to about $215 (pre-grat)

                    1. re: condementia

                      #3 was probably hotaru ika, currently in season, and is fully grown at that size rather than babies of the more common squid varieties.

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        They certainly look the same as the firefly squid that is served at Shunji, don't they?

                        Full Yamakase Instagram photos here

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I had the firefly squid at Shunji's though it arrived with a mustard sauce of sorts.

                          Great stuff as part of my sushi omakase rather than cooked dish omakase.

                          In fact, these days I like his sushi more than his small plates. Call me crazy, but don't ever call me late for dinner.

                        2. re: PeterCC

                          I'm not that familiar with it to say but I looked at pictures online and the instagram pictures that Servorg posted and the ones served the night I was there were a little different. They were thinner (didn't have a bulge); possibly shorter (using the cucumber and bowl as reference points) it looks like they were the size of the body alone; the ratio of body:legs were different, with the legs being much smaller; and, they were creamy white in color (I couldn't say if they were skinned).
                          Next time, I should bring a camera and take better notes!

              2. I am going in two weeks. Will report back. They were very nice and responsive to my reservation request. Starts at $200 per and is byob.

                1. Fantastic, 4 hour dinner. A mix of cooked, sushi and sashimi that was second to none. Yama-san was delightful and shared sake with us throughout the evening. Lots of sake, champagne and beer. Hence cant recall the specifics of each dish only that it was great.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Thor123


                    What where the total damages ???

                    Any memorable dishes you can remember ?

                    1. re: Thor123

                      Better than Urasawa in your opinion ?

                      1. re: kevin

                        Have not been to Urasawa so cant say. Can say it was the best I have had and the service was outstanding and appeared to be very well treated by Yama-san. He is a really nice guy and even walked as to the car after dinner. Place is very inconspicuous. Small old ice-ream dive, with a "CLOSED" sign on the door and frosted windows. You would never guess, what goes on inside. The sushi bar is small. Maybe 10 spots and a small kitchen is right in the bar so everything is right in front. To start there was a large leg of jamon serrano (I think) and Yama-san sliced everyone nice delicate portions. Really good.

                        1. re: Thor123

                          How much per ? without the drinks of course.

                          1. re: Thor123

                            Glad you enjoyed it. I was there Sunday night for one of my periodic visits, and I think the jamon is actually iberico.

                            "Sushi bar" may not do justice to the setting. It's more like a counter seat at Yama-san's in own kitchen / dining room. There's no little glass display case separating the diner and the chef. You sit at the counter and can see everything he's doing to prepare your food.

                            And as someone who has been to Urasawa, I would rather go to Yamakase any day and every day. In my opinion, it's better, more enjoyable, and certainly has a lower price point. The guidance in this thread and others about price is accurate. Plan for $200 and up.

                            1. re: njfreqflyer

                              I think you are right about iberico and the kitchen experience. $200 and up is right on but remember you can bring your own booze with no corkage.

                              1. re: Thor123

                                Damn !!! I might be relegated to Taco Bell for the next few months to save up, if at all possible.

                                1. re: Thor123

                                  Btw, have you guys Thor and the poster above, been to Shunjis.

                                  Shunjis also feels almost like being in the chefs kitchen at home. And there is no refrigerator case barrier between the chef and the patrons there. Great great great stuff. And considerably cheaper than Yamakase at the moment.

                                  I wonder when JG is going to review it in the Times ?