Matsuhisa: when sushi becomes an art form

On Sunday I decided to treat myself and check out a place my foodie brother-in-law has been raving about: Matsuhisa in Beverley Hills voted 100 best restauants in America by Zagat.   The place is supposely frequented by Hollywood types and seen as catering to them.  But I do believe the rich and famous also could know good sushi.  They are just like us, no different.

If you know me recently I am wearing shorts and my running top, I walked into this fancy place and asked for a table.  I was a bit intimidated by how underdressed I was, but what they heck, no one knows me here.  I was extremely lucky since there was only one sushi bar spot open in the huge dinning area, the place was packed.

First thing I noticed was that the sushi bar was only about 12 foot long but had 6 sushi chefs behind it, it’s a very traditional Japanese way of setup.  You will get 1-on-1 personal attention at this bar.  I sat down and saw that they had omakase, which is checf’s choice of $80, $100, $120.  I imediately asked the chef whether they had mirugai and monkfish liver.  It’s my way of gauging whether a sushi place is a special place.  They had it!  Now I knew I arrived at the right place!  I ordered the $80 chef’s choice, order up a cold sake and the journey began!  If you can’t wait start with the Flickr slideshow!
A little background: I was told once that picking chef’s choice was your way of honoring a sushi chef by placing your faith on your chef’s to use his artistic talents to pick the best fish of the day and serve you the best meal possible.

If you decide to go, keep in mind that it will be expensive, open up your wallet and enjoy the interaction with the chef.  Go around 9:30 and buy the chef some sake to share after 10:00pm (that’s the policy, no drinking for the chef until after 10).  After I was done with my meal I felt my entire Santa Monica business trip was worthwhile, even though this meal will not be reimbursed.  This was the best sushi meal I’ve had outside of the Tokyo fish market 7:00am sushi breakfast.

First dish was my recently favorite: monkfish liver
It’s like foie gras but better, lighter, taste fresher.


Scallops thinly sliced over cucumber, string of squid, touch of hot sauce


Beautiful arrangement of fresh greens, tuna, spanish makerel over a grated daikon sauce


fried oyster in nest of fried taro over shiso leave and lettuce, fresh paper thin daikon


Chilean Sea Bass baked in sweet soy sauce with plumb on the side wraped in some kind of leaf

Torro one seared one raw
Simple yet delightfully crunchy mirugai nigiri, anago

Meal ended with a molten chocolate cake, 2 bottles of cold sake and a happy Tony and a promise to chef Ken that I will be back again one day.