It was Angela's 30th birthday. The great part about it was we didn't have to think hard on where to eat. The second great part about it was finding out about Okumura. Located in Encino on Ventura Blvd, you will find Okumura's restaurant wedged between Fat Stogies and a Salon. If you need further assistance locating this place, it's in the same plaza as Starbucks.
17302 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316
We knew what we wanted coming here. And as for any fine Japanese sushi restaurant, I would highly recommend to order their Omakase. Omakase is basically the Chef's choice. Just thinking about it now, I think this is the first Omakase experience that I had. The only coursed Japanese meal that I've had was a Kaiseki in Japan (which by the way, was F***ing amazing).
We were seated right in front of the head chef and owner himself, Ryota Okumura. He was very kind and friendly, but was also very detailed to his surroundings. There was a refined delicacy to how he moved around his station. It wasn't long till he started pumping out our course.
Served with edible gold flakes, mix greens, and a soy vinaigrette. The tuna was extremely fresh. The first thing that I probably noticed was how lightly the dish was composed. Yes, it looks beautiful, but the flavors were not heavily masked. The vinaigrette just adds a nice touch to the natural flavors of the fish.
Served with crispy onions, ponzu sauce and a sliced cherry tomato. Another simple dish, but perfectly executed. The onions were simple, and not over fried to the point it over powers the fish.
Amberjack, pico de gallo, micro mix, and nihazu. Very delicious and bright. This screams spring flavors and hello summer. The pico de gallo was such a classic touch. Why didn't I think of that?
Some of the best things in life is everything you see in that bowl. The chawanmushi is a simple well balanced flavors of dashi, eggs, edamame and shrimp. Served atop with uni and ikura. One of the best tasting chawanmushi I've had. The custard was not too salty, which worked perfectly with the uni and the ikura.
Chef Ryota's recommendation. Trust him, this was pretty amazing.
Gari - The chef plated each of us with pickled ginger. Now it's time to get started.
There's no need to describe every single one because to be honest, they were all mind blowing. There wasn't that one piece that we didn't agree with. The sauces were perfect. The seasonings were right on the mark. The amount of wasabi in each wasn't dominant, but you know it's there. Each fish is prepared with expertise. The toro, for example, was deveined so that it will literally just melt in your mouth. The fishes were all extremely fresh like it just jumped out of the water and slapped you in your face.
One thing to point out. The seaweed really stood out to me. It was later mentioned, which was no surprise to me, that the seaweed was from his mother's hometown. To have great sushi, every little detail that goes into each bite matters.
If I HAD to pick one that stood out to me, I would have to go with the Blue fin tuna. Maguro is the staple fish that everyone loves in Japan. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of tuna. But this one it particular, was so simple, but the fish tasted so different as I started to chew. Towards the end, it had the slightest faint of the briny fresh sea water. To say it in one word: extraordinary.
Before dessert was served, we were all served a small bowl of miso soup.
Who would've thought that Chef Ryota would serve panna cotta at the end of an epic meal? This really reminds me of dessert in Japan. Just by presentation, it really looks like he was painting his own Zen garden. Served aside with some strawberry & vanilla mochi, this was the perfect close to take away.
I'm not sure how much the Omakase here runs. We had 1 bottle of beer and 2 small bottles of sake. 4 of us. Total was about $450. So if drinks were not included, I would just estimate around $80-$100 for the Omakase. Mind you that we came in at 6:30pm and left at almost 9. It was well worth it for the experience. It's not something to do everyday. And if it was something you can do everyday, then tell me, why are we not friends?
I am confident to put my money to say that Chef Ryota is extremely talented. The food that he serves is not only fresh, but his preparations are mastered in comparison to the restaurants I've had in Japan if not better. People talk about the best foods are in Japan. I can somewhat agree on some things, but I don't to the fact that you have to go there to have great Japanese food or in this case, great sushi. Okumura will definitely deliver.
17302 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316