photo credit: Jakob Layman
You can have all different types of fun in LA sushi restaurants. We have serious omakase places featuring the best fish you’ll ever eat, casual go-tos that know your order before you walk in, and crazy party spots where sake bombs, drunk reality stars, and mayo-dunked specialty rolls reign supreme. But then there’s Sushi Note, a neighborhood sushi bar in Sherman Oaks that’s created its own category of fun.
The fun here doesn’t come from eating $2 nigiri or singing "Y.M.C.A." with a bunch of people you met 20 minutes ago. It comes from being a place that puts drinking great wine and eating great sushi on an equal level of importance.
Combining two of God’s greatest gifts isn’t new, but walking into this tiny Ventura Blvd. spot feels like a completely original experience. Sushi Note is both a sushi restaurant and a neighborhood wine bar that you can hang out in all night. There’s the main bar up front where the chefs are at work, a row of wooden booths along the wall where you can eat with a group, and a tinier bar in the back where the wine happens. The design is sharp and clean, but not in a fussy kind of way. It’s as if you’re spending the night in an upscale Japanese thermal spa, and Sushi Note is the back room where the owners pour wine and serve sushi all night.
All of Sushi Note’s menu is offered a la carte, but if it’s your first time or you’re looking to make the most of your life, do the Full Note omakase. For $115, you get 12 pieces of perfectly-cut sushi, edamame, miso soup, a starter, a hand roll, and dessert. That should be enough to fill you up, but plan to order a few other dishes simply because they’re too good to miss. Namely, the kinoko itame, which is assorted sautéed mushrooms in a salty balsamic soy glaze. This is one of the few appetizers we’d drive over the hill during Friday rush hour on a flat tire to eat.
As far as the wine goes, you can order a bottle or a glass of your choosing, or let the sommelier course out a tasting. This is pretty common practice among restaurants serious about wine, but Sushi Note does it in a way that’s personal and unpretentious. They want you to know why that chablis tastes so good with your seabream, and they’re going to explain it to you in a way you can relate to and understand.
If walking out of a restaurant feeling like you’ve learned something about wine and sushi isn’t your idea of fun, go to Sushi Note right now and try it for yourself.
Whole Note Omakase
At $115, this isn’t the world’s most affordable omakase. But after eating 12 pieces of high-quality sushi, edamame, miso soup, a starter, a hand roll, and dessert, you’ll feel like this meal has earned its price point. You don’t have to get this every time you come here, but it’s a good idea for first-timers or anyone seeking a higher level of existence.
Even if you get the full omakase, this sauteed mushroom appetizer needs to still hit the table. It’s just mushrooms in a balsamic soy sauce, but we’d still go to Sushi Note if this was the only thing they served.
Spicy Yellowtail Biscotti
Sushi Note has a few biscottis (their version of crispy rice) on their menu, but the spicy yellowtail is our favorite. The rice itself is perfectly crisp, but not dry and the yellowtail on top is actually spicy.