I had, hands down, one of the most memorable experiences in a long time. What started out as a normal foodecall, turned into something wayyyyy more than I expected. This foodecall was at Sushi Bar, one of Chef Phillip Frankland Lee's restaurant within a restaurant.
At the time of booking, I was told that someone would reach out to me to ask me for my dietary restrictions, allergies, and beverage preference. I was told that I should arrive a half hour before my reservation, and that I would be given a welcome drink. Hmmm.....ok. Sounds kind of interesting already.
Intrigued, I started researching Sushi Bar to see what I could gleam from it. I looked at the first review and it said, "do not do any research before going in. Just go with an open mind and have fun." And with that, I stopped dead in my tracks. I'm like, "ok." And I actually listened!
I hate when people ruin the surprise for me! So I halted all research because I really wanted to get that one of a kind experience.
So now, I want to encourage you to do the same. If you are in So Cal, this place should be on your bucket list. If there is even the slightest chance that you will step foot into Sushi Bar, then stop reading now. Only continue if you are pretty certain you won't be dining at Sushi Bar.
Upon Arrival at Woodley Proper, as promised, we were given a token which was to be used to redeem our welcome drink. At this point, I'm still not quite sure where Sushi Bar is located, other than I was told to simply check in at Woodley Proper. Next, in Speakeasy form, we were taken through the backway into this tiny little room, Maximum Occupancy: 11. 8 guests, and 3 staff members.
I really can't describe what it felt like to be in that room, except to say that I felt very lucky, and excited to be right there in that moment. The room made me feel like something extraordinary was about to happen.
The evening began when the bar director and master of ceremonies started the "show" I should call it, narrating the evening. He would essentially describe each drink that would be prepared with our various courses. This made me feel like we are really getting dinner and a show. Side tip, try to go when Peyton is bartending. He's the one who created the drink menu and without his personal touch, it just won't be the same.
If you're wondering why the sake below is filled to the brim of the glass, its because it's supposed to be good luck to do so.
As for the food, everyone does the omakase. That is why they ask you for your allergies and dietary restrictions up front. After that, it's all up to them. And trust me, it's better that way. I've done a few omakases in the past. This one had up to approximately 15-17 courses. Each one having their own story. And each one as mind blowing as the last one.
Now, with an omakase, you do always run the risk of eating a not so common protein like jelly fish, or monkey tongue, but in our case, at least on this evening, everything was relatively common. Nothing scary. I'd say if you are a sushi lover, then there is probably nothing you haven't tried. However......it's the way they prepared it that makes it so very special.
After the omakase, they then open it up to ordering a la carte, if there is something you want to try, or if you just want a repeat of something they already made.
With regards to the alcohol pairing, you have the option to upgrade to the premium in which you get the premium sake and what not. In my opinion, unless you are a true alcohol connoisseur, it might not necessarily be worth the upgrade. My palette is not advanced enough to tell the difference. There were people in our group who did the regular, as well as the premium, and we could not tell the difference.
I will however, say that the drink at the very end, was probably the most delicious and most complex drink ever. It had egg white, maybe guava or passionfruit, and a hint of holiday spices like nutmeg or clove. It was INCREDIBLE! Unfortunately, I think that only comes with the premium.
We had an absolute BLAST not only during the meal, but afterwards as well. The 6 of us who were dining there, ended up sitting together at the bar (Woodley Proper) once our meal was over. We discussed and all unanimously said that there was not a single course that we did not like. Of course, each of us had our favorites, but I can honestly say that all were delicious and not a single one was off putting. This was by far not only one of the best sushi experiences I've had, but also just an awesome experience over all. We literally partied with the other diners, AND the bartender, chef and sous chef well into the night. Like, who does that??
Truly a one of a kind experience! Check it out and please let me know what you thought!