13 Sep Hitting all the Notes at Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks
Fresh fish imported from Japan, a Master Sushi Chef and a sophisticated yet approachable wine program mixed with modern decor and a friendly ambiance make the new Sherman Oaks sushi bar Sushi Note hit all the notes.
Sushi Note is a cozy 30-seat sushi restaurant located on Ventura Blvd, near Sunnyslope. It is across the street from Augustine Wine Bar and is owned by Augustine (and Mirabelle wine bar) co-owner Dave Gibbs, as well as Silvia Gallo.
There is a seven-seat bar sushi bar and at the helm is Chef Kiminobu Saito. A small and quiet but personable man, Saito built a following at his former 4 on 6 sushi bar in Encino.
In addition to the sushi bar, where an omakase menu is available, there are standalone tables and booths as well as a back bar with five seats, called the Wine Bar.
The relationship between Sushi Note continues beyond the name. Seven seats at the sushi bar and five seats at the wine bar make up keys on a piano (7 white keys and 5 black keys). Chef Saito’s original restaurant 4 on 6 was in honor of his love for jazz music. And Dave Gibbs is a singer-songwriter, in addition to being a wine bar owner. The name is also derived from a note that Silvia found on the door of the previous sushi bar in that location saying “we will be back.” After a couple of weeks, she inquired about the space and Sushi Note was born.
Chef Saito goes to the fish market every Tuesday and Friday and picks up fish flown in fresh from Japan. He grates the wasabi fresh. Soy sauce does not sit on the counter (you can request it) but rather he adds a brushstroke of a special soy sauce from a 300-year-old Japanese company when it is appropriate.
If you sit at the sushi bar, you can select the omakase option ($80++) and Chef Saito will select the menu of his choice. Once you have completed your the initial menu, you can order more, and once you are finished, you will be served a hot bowl of homemade miso soup. At the bar, or at tables, you can also order the sushi samplers. The Half Note ($55) has 8 pieces of sushi, plus a hand roll, edamame and miso soup or the Quarter Note ($35) has 4 pieces of sushi plus a hand roll, edamame and miso soup.
What really sets Sushi Note apart is the wine program. Typically underwhelming and undervalued at most sushi restaurants, wine is a focus at Sushi Note. Dave, Silvia and sommelier Andrew Pattison are bringing the vibe at Augustine across the street. The tone is set at Sushi Note, whether you order a la carte or omakase, with an amuse of sparkling wine. You can then select from a diverse, international list of wines by the glass or by the bottle. Each night, Sushi Note offers a Featured Wine Pairing of three wines for $25. Or you put yourself in sommelier Andrew Pattison’s hands and let him pair glasses of wine and sake with your meal. Some of the fun wines Andrew poured for me were Bodegas Zudagarai Antxiola Getariako Txakolina Spain 2017, Jean Collet Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2014, Chateau Les Valentines Cotes de Provence La Londe 2017 and Savage Follow the Line Red Blend (Grenache/Cinsault) South Africa 2016.
If you decide on the Omakase menu, you are in for a treat. The meal starts with the Goma Tofu, housemade tofu that is topped with sesame, hacchou miso from a 475-year-old Japanese company and gold flakes. This dish is rich and nutty and paired beautifully with the crisp Txakolina.
While the Omakase menu will vary based on what is fresh and what Chef chooses, here is a sample of an Omakase menu. The Gravlax Cured Salmon from Scotland was topped with sour cream and wasabi stem and tasted like bagel and lox and the Ikura Salmon Roe from Japan were from a fresh egg sack Chef Saito purchased the previous day. The saltiness of the roe paired beautifully with the minerality of the Jean Collet Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2014
I chose to order a few more pieces and Chef Saito served me Saba Mackerel from Japan, the most delicate Anago Sea Eel also from Japan and Binchou Peppered Albacore from Canada that was marinated in Brandy.
My meal was completed with miso musrhoom soup made fresh daily with a dashi broth that adds an umami flavor.
If you chose to order a la carte, Sushi Note offers a succinct a la carte menu and, in addition to sushi, you can select starters, sushi rolls, biscotti (crispy rice topped with fish) and sashimi specials.
The Goma Tofu is available on the starter menu, as is the homemade miso soup with a dashi broth. Here are some other standouts:
Shishito peppers, soy sauce, sake, bonito flakes
Renkon sauteéd lotus root, soy sauce, sake, mirin, red chili
Kinoko Itame assorted sautéed mushrooms, balsamic soy sauce
Sushi Rolls – Spicy Tuna Hand Roll and Yellowtail Hand Roll both with cucumber and sprouts
Biscotti – The crispy rice is served warm and topped with spicy tuna, spicy yellowtail or spicy albacore as well as jalapeño, roe and sesame.
Sashimi Specials include Hamachi, Halibut and Tai Yuzu Red Snapper in addition to:
Scallop Carpaccio* olive oil, lemon, truffle salt, pink peppercorn
Albacore Kari Kari peppered, fried leek & potato, garlic ponzu
With so many sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, Sushi Note stands a note above the rest.
13447 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA