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The last time I had dinner in Encino was in 2016 at Chef Phillip Frankland Lee's Scratch|Bar, a restaurant on the second floor of a strip mall that offers nightly tasting menus featuring seasonal ingredients. Two years ago, hidden behind Scratch|Bar, he opened up Sushi|Bar, an Omakase Speakeasy that serves a 17 course sushi meal for $125 per person. I love sushi and am always game to try a new place and added this to my list. And finally I made it for dinner. Sushi|Bar is not your typical sushi bar and much more like a speakeasy. We made our reservation for 6pm and were told to arrive 30 minutes early for a welcome cocktail. We arrived at the mall, took the escalator to the second floor and found an unmarked door with a doorbell. We rang the bell, gave our names, and were invited in to a small room with a bar and some tables. We had arrived promptly at 5:30pm and we were the first people there. We were welcomed with a drink of sake, lemon juice and ginger. And, as we enjoyed our drink, a few more guests arrived took seats and had their drinks. Promptly at 6pm, we were invited to follow the hostess into Sushi|Bar. There were a total of six of us. Sushi|Bar can accommodate a total of eight people at a time. There are actually two sushi bars, one with reservations at 6pm and 8pm and one with reservations at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm.

Petite Taqueria is a Tex-Mex restaurant located on La Cienega in the former Bagatelle space. The last time I was at the space, I was bombarded by white walls, white...

Located on the ground floor of a magnificently designed new building on Melrose Avenue, Umeda Restaurant opened its doors earlier this year. Across the street from Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza and Chi Spacca, Umeda is on the north side of Melrose, on the corner of Citrus, just west of Highland. Omeda quietly opened with little fanfare but luckily some friends told me about it. Umeda Restaurant is named after its chef, Takuya Umeda. Takuya Umeda began his career in Sapporo, Japan and worked with chef Nobu Matsuhisa at Nobu London between 1997 to 2003. Umeda then came to work at Nobu's Matsuhisa in Bevelry Hills until 2017, when he opened his own restaurant. In the front of the house is the friendly and charming Joseph Mansour who also worked at Matsuhisa for almost a decade.