I've complained on more than one occasion about the noise level going on in restaurants right now. It's really disappointing to go out for a nice meal and not be able to tell the person across from you that you're enjoying the food or their company. So I have to admit that when I walked into Shiki on hopping N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, I was initially baffled at the near empty restaurant on a Thursday night. Yes, I was disappointed that there wasn't a lot of energy in the room, but when my 5 friends arrived, I quickly forgot about who else was there. We all had a lot to catch up on and everyone could hear each other end to end, and it's been a while when I've eaten out and all 6 people can hold a conversation with each other.
I was hoping it wasn't the food that was responsible for the near empty room. Given the background, I wouldn't think so. The executive chef, Shigenori Fujimoto, has a strong pedigree having worked as an Omakase chef at Japanese juggernaut Matsuhisa as well as Asanebo, helping them earn a Michelin start two years in a row.
The chefs knows his stuff, so we dug in. We started with a melt in your mouth yellowtail sashimi with yuzu and a small seaweed salad, and kanpachi with sesame miso. Both were beautifully fanned and topped with jalapeño. There was a nice touch of flavor, but it didn't overpower the fish. It was well done.
The halibut sashimi with truffle was outstanding, hitting all the right notes with very fresh fish.
The raw fish was all exceptional and then we moved to cooked preparations. Grilled black cod with saikyo miso had a perfect caramelization on the outside, inside was warm with the right level of firmness. Green beans in a light peanut vinaigrette rounded out the dish nicely.
Miso marinated seabass was served up as individual bites on spoons cradling peach compote making for a precious multi-bite taste of warm fruit, crisp bread and tender fish.
Minced wagyu beef in miso sauce sat in butter lettuce, and was definitely not something you want to share. We ordered 2 additional servings of this one since it was that good and everyone needed their own after hearing the cries of joy from others.
You could also order wagyu beef by the ounce and have it served hot on a bed of enoki mushrooms, which we did and loved.
Even the grilled chicken was delicious, infusing the right level of sweetness while retaining a well cooked center.
The only thing I'd say you should pass on was my one attempt to eat a vegetable. The Japanese eggplant is grilled and the skin removed, making it a bit flavorless with an odd, slimy texture.
We finished with some nice green tea ice cream and mochi bites with the right amount of chew.
The quality of food, the plating, the tastes were all spot on, so I'm not sure why Angelenos haven't filled this dining room. I won't complain since I was able to not only enjoy the flavor of my meal, but also enjoy talking to each and every person at my table.
Shiki Beverly Hills
410 N Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA