I will go ahead and start by saying the only way to eat great sushi is Omakase. If you are unfamiliar with what Omakase is it’s mean’s literally “I’ll leave it up to you” which is the chef’s choice. I recently went to Sushi|Bar in Encino which is an omakase restaurant. It’s the best sushi I have had in a long time. If you watch my Instagram, you know I have traveled to Tokyo to do tastings of Michilin starred sushi restaurants. I typically only order omakase when I do eat sushi. Sushi|Bar is in my top 3 in LA. The fish is incredibly fresh and they also add unique flavor profiles that really balance out with each piece of fish.
It’s tucked away into nondescript shopping center in Encino, located at the top of the escaltor. I had to ask if I was in the right location. It’s really a hidden gem. They typically only have 8 seats availble when it’s indoor dining. When indoor dining is back I will have to come back to visit because it’s designed as old time Japanse speak easy which sounds amazing. Sushi|Bar is from the Scratch|Bar group by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee who has another restaurant in the same shopping center.
There are two seatings a night, 5pm & 9pm. You will have to make reservations because they have very limited seating outdoors. It has been one of the safest restaurants to eat at in my experience during the pandemic. I felt very comfortable while dining. If you have been wanting to eat out and miss dining at restaurants this is a great place to go. I thought it was so cute that when you arrive they greet you with a welcome cocktail which was amazing. It was light and fresh. It was such a fun way to start dinner.
Keep in mind that if it is your first time eating here, nothing is eaten with chopsticks, sauces or wasabi. You eat everything by hand. It is a 17 course omakase and they 3 alcohol pairings to choose from. I highly suggest to do the all sake pairing. They match each sake beautifully with each bite. You can also order wine, sake or a cocktail a la carte.
The menu changes often because they always have the freshest fish, you can taste it in each bite. Some of the fish just melts in your mouth it’s so fresh. Sushi|Bar showcases fish that is seasonal and it is flown in twice weekly from some of the best fish markets in the world including Japan, Australia and locally from Santa Barbara.
17 courses may sound like a lot but it’s not when it’s sushi since each piece is a bite. The tasting also includes waygu, bone marrow, uni, unagi, and dessert. Some of the highlights for me was the O Toro, scallop, Uni, and Bone Marrow sushi. Everything was amazing. There was not one piece I didn’t like. I also tried some sushi that I had never had before.
They also wrap up dinner with a matcha cocktail, you can think of it as a match hot toddy. It was the perfect way to end the meal. If you are still hungry the chef will announce hand rolls they are offering and you can go back and revisit your favorite bites. You will want to book because this sushi restaurant is one not to be missed. I will be going back again and again.
Sushi|Bar Encino is located at 16101 Ventura Blvd., Suite 242, Encino, For reservations call: (818) 789-3992
Photos taken by: Jakob Layman