The 2013 Zagat Guide has been released and we’re proud to announce that Yamashiro has gotten very favorable reviews. Chef Brock (@ChefBrock) has been working hard this past year revamping the menu with some amazing new dishes utilizing fresh, local ingredients such as the Jidori Chicken Breast, Yuzu-Avocado Jumbo Prawns and Farmers Market Salad, made with ingredients sourced from our Spring/Summer Thursday Evening Farmers Market. Chef Brock also participated in L.A. Food & Wine Festival and Environmental Media Awards 2012 this year to great reviews. His efforts have not been overlooked as we scored a coveted 22 rating for our food. Our service also scored highly with Zagat members with a 23 rating. With the historical status of our location and offering the best view in Los Angeles, our décor received an outstanding 27 rating. But it’s not just the view, it’s also our amazing gardens and Pagoda Bar that give the feeling that you’ve been whisked away to a simpler time, way out east.
When Yamashiro first opened, part of the experience in visiting this Japanese Mountain Palace in the hills of Hollywood was to ascend the 300 steps starting on Franklin Blvd., through tiers and tiers of meticulously manicured gardens, past the black swans, before finally arriving at the 10-room teak and cedar mansion. Also featured along the pathway up the steps was a tea house surrounded by an intertwining maze of tiny canals and water features. There was even a miniture Japanese Village along the canals where tiny bronze houseboats would float on by. Unfortunately, a fire in the 1980’s lead to the demolition of the tea house although the foundation can still be seen at the base of steps in the gardens in front of Yamashiro.
We’ve debuted a new sake menu up here at Yamashiro and are proud to feature some of the finest sake from Japan right here in Hollywood. We’re so excited about the new sake menu that we want to tell you all about it. So check back here at our blog to find out about these amazing sakes as we present you with tasting notes, a bit of history and food pairing recommendations. The next time you find yourself dining in our Japanese Garden or taking in the best view of Los Angeles, enjoy the taste of authentic Japanese sake as well.
Shichi Hon Yari, translated as “Seven Spearsmen,” is the most prominent sake brewed out of the Tomita Brewery located in the small town of Kinomoto in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture. The brewery is one of the oldest, founded in the 1540’s, and smallest in Japan. The name of the sake is a tribute to the seven Samurai who helped gain victory for the famous Japanese Warlord Hideyoshi in 1583. The sake is brewed using traditional methods in small batches, limited to 5,000 cases per year, by the brewery’s toji (brewmaster), Shizuo Naka, who is the youngest brewmaster to join the Noto Toji guild, using locally grown, ecologically safe Tamazakae sake rice.
The nose of this sake is earthy with mushroom and grass notes. After you get past the aroma the sake has a light, crisp mouth feel with flavors of grapefruit and melons. This complex but clean sake is a great introduction for those new to sake. The sake pairs beautifully with our American Wagyu Steak served on a hand-cut Himalayan salt plate. We’d also like to point out that the bottle features one of the most awesome labels we’ve seen. There’s nothing like a charging Samurai on the bottle to get you into the sake drinking mood.
Our next featured sake is Tozai’s Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori. Literally translated, Tozai means “East-West” which is fitting due to the company being the result of a collaboration between a couple of California wine lovers and dedicated Japanese sake brewers. Even more fitting that we serve his delightful sake up here at Yamashiro since we know a thing or two about merging the East and West. The sake is brewed out of the Kizakura Brewery, located in Kyoto Prefecture of Japan, which has been brewing sake for over 50 years. The two reasons for the breweries choice of location is due to Kyoto’s frigid waters that help keep ideal fermentation temperatures and also the Fushi-Mizu (crystal clear) water from the city of Fushimi is know for bringing out the full flavor of the sake. The koi featured on the label is homage to Hanako (flower maiden), a famous koi which reportedly lived for 226 years in the icy waters at the foot of Japan’s Mt. Ontake, hence the Snow Maiden title for this enchanting sake.
The sake has a creamy, porcelain look to it when poured. This is due to the process of making nigori sake, which is unfiltered as the rice remnants are left after the fermentation process giving it a cloudy look. The nose of this sake gives off aromas of earthy, floral scents and banana-coconut custard. You’ll taste apple and pear notes along with some sweet rice. There is a good weight to the sake in your mouth yet the finish is surprisingly dry. This sake pairs well with our Kurobuta Pork Asian-Style Carnitas. Enjoy this sake in our Japanese Garden dining area where you’ll find some koi like the one featured on the Tozai bottle.
Executive Chef Brock Kleweno gives you an in-depth look at one of our Asian-fusion menu items. Come up and enjoy these delicious dishes while enjoying the best view in Los Angeles at one of Hollywood’s most historic locations.
The Truffle Hamachi is one of my favorite appetizers that we serve out of our Raw Kitchen. The flavors and textures are well-balanced with the appetizer being light yet still deliciously decadent. The Hamachi sashimi is melt-in-your-mouth tender but still rich and fatty enough to stand up to the robust, earthy white truffle oil. The teardrop tomatoes are macerated in our own homemade ponzu which brings a nice citrus brightness to the dish. We garnish the dish with a bit of micro arugula which adds a subtle peppery element.
Our Beverage Manager, Steve Wastell, has recently introduced a new sake list which has been really exciting for me to pair with our food. I particularly love having the Truffle Hamachi with the Cabin in the Snow sake. Its slight sweetness and luscious fruity aromatics blend beautifully with the tart ponzu tomatoes and rich white truffle oil.
It’s been a long time coming but Yamashiro has finally entered the blogosphere! What better way to kick off our first official blog post than with a post about this past week’s second annual Blogger Prom. Los Angeles’ most popular and beloved bloggers gathered up here on the hill for a night recalling Hollywood’s Golden Age. As the guys and dolls made their way into our Skyview Lounge and Japanese Garden, so did an aura of old school Hollywood Glamour.
The ladies of Blogger Prom recalled the elegance of Hedy Lamarr and Veronica Lake while the men took pages out of William Powell and Clark Gable’s book. It was a sight and crowd that Yamashiro hasn’t seen, since, well… probably since about 1957. While the vibe may have been retro the tasty treats served up were anything but.
On top of the hors d’œuvre floating around, our own Chef Brock was serving up his Farmers’ Market favorite: fusion tacos. He even created a Blogger Prom exclusive taco made with smoked sausages with maple-black pepper aioli that were made in a century old smoke house on the farm he grew up on. Other delectable delights included Coolhaus (sans truck) serving up amazing ice cream sandwiches, The Cheese Impersario Barrie Lynn handing out great cheese sex (spreadable cheese on Amish peanut brittle), Chocolatebox Café, Crumbs Bake Shop and The Beer Chicks pouring tasty brews from the Eagle Rock Brewery.
The night wasn’t all about delicious food, social media and fancy cocktails. All proceeds from ticket sales went to benefit Operation Frontline: Los Angeles which teaches healthy, low-cost cooking to families across America while fighting against poor child nutrition. Together the attendees of the Blogger Prom raised $2,400!
Of course the night couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the Blogger Prom committee comprised of some of LA’s swankiest bloggers. Big thanks to Caroline On Crack, e*star LA, Tara Met Blog, The Liquid Muse, Squash Blossom, LA OC Foodie, Shop Eat Sleep and Happy Go Marni for putting together such an elegant and unforgettable evening.
Now enjoy some photos by the official Blogger Prom photographer Heather Kincaid: