Bon Vivant's written and pictorial diary of her culinary adventures that will amuse and excite your virtual taste buds...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Asanebo and Its One Michelin Star - Feh!

A preview of coming attractions – Salmon with Caviar with a little surprise in the middle:

A rare opportunity came my way: Stubborn Gourmet T invited me out to dinner and told me that I could pick the restaurant. Alas, said bequest had a contingency clause, i.e., it had “to be close.” I correctly took this to mean close to her, not me. Still, this worked in my favor, or so I thought, because I could finally go to Asanebo.

If you do nominal research on this most beloved Studio City sushi joint, you will discover that it has the top food rating in the city according to that certain “exceedingly” “annoying” restaurant guide. Also, many have claimed that Asanebo has the FRESHEST fish in town. And let us not forget about the shiny Michelin Star (which they did not have yet when I went there).

Question: Was I going to have the greatest sushi experience of my life or was I being set up to be very disappointed?

Answer: The latter. Overall the food was pretty good but it just wasn’t worth the $100 per person tab (I’ve had much FRESHER fish at Sushi Nishi-ya for less money.) I don’t know if the sushi chef thought that we were a bunch of rubes and gave us mostly crappy fish or if they knew Les Critiques Michelin were coming and went all out but my meal was not worthy of any type of award.

Our quasi-Omakase begins...

Spinach Salad:

Excellent! One of three best dishes that night.

Snapper with shaved yuzu skin:

This dish had a very nice flavor combination but the fish had a slightly watery texture.

Kampachi with a miso-sesame sauce:

Again, the fish had a slightly watery texture but I though that it the fish went well with the sliced jalapeno and the sauce.

Halibut with black truffle (note that it’s preserved truffle):

A totally pointless dish. The truffle completely overwhelmed the halibut and was very unpleasant to eat.

The aforementioned salmon:

This was actually pretty good even though it had competing components, the caviar and the ponzu sauce, but the radish salad encased in the salmon brought everything together. Only problem was that the salmon had a watery texture (are you starting to see a pattern here?)

Spanish mackerel two ways:

Fabulous! The raw mackerel was great with the minimalist ponzu sauce and a dash of ginger, horseradish, and green onion. We asked for the deep fried mackerel bones and they were the best thing that night.

Ankimo with sweet goop:

Worst ankimo that I’ve ever had (actually, I’ve never had bad ankimo before this!)

Ono with ponzu (again) and fried garlic chips:

The fish had such a watery texture it ruined the whole dish.

Toro with more sweet goop:

The toro was pretty good. And the sauce was pretty good. But the two just did not go together very well. The sauce was too rich for the fatty toro; the toro was drowned in it and I had to scrape it off but it was still a bit overpowering.

The steamed uni:

Now this was an interesting dish: the uni had been steamed over salt water for 15 minutes. Why they didn't give us raw uni I will never know. Fanatics of raw uni would have missed the buttery ocean flavor that completely disappeard with steaming (it just tasted really salty afterwards). The only thing that saved this uni was the great Korean seaweed served with it.

Don’t even get me started on the extremely gross (re-frozen, many times based on the texture, ice cream and sour fruit) dessert that they served us.

Les Critiques Michelin need to get their tongues over to Sushi Nishi-ya tres vites. But since it’s not a scene they probably never will.

11941 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 760-3348

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