Review: Shibumi DTLA

Shibumi is a kappo-style restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. After seeing it on an infinite number of best of and must try lists, I was very much looking forward to this meal. My brother was in town for the holidays and I took him here for dinner. We ordered:

  • Lotus, Sweet Potato, Young Burdock Chips
  • Japanese Sea-Bream Sashimi, Ginger Bud, Pickled Plum-Irizake
  • Iwagaki Oyster, Fresh Yuzu, Shiso Flower & Mountain Caviar
  • Broiled Sanma Skinny Mackerel, Black Vinegar
  • Grilled Heritage Pork In Koji, Pickled Daikon, Leek
  • Steamed Rice (with accompaniments)
  • Koji (R)ice Cream, Apple & Fermented Apple

The chips were interesting, I’ve never had young burdock (nor did I know what it was til I googled it). The sashimi and oyster was pretty standard, but the seafood seemed like good quality. I wish more flavors came through. The mackerel was bit overcooked. My favorite was the Koji (R)ice cream, because it was different and not too sweet. I also had a good drink – French Cider En Flute, Calvados Back so I appreciated that as well.

All in all, I was disappointed. The service was decent, but one of the servers was so soft spoken I just said no thank you to everything he said. If only I had the same experience as Jonathan Gold. I probably won’t be back, if anything for maybe a cocktail while on my way to another dining experience.


Punch Bowls at The Spare Room

The Spare Room is a lovely cocktail lounge in The Hollywood Roosevelt and one of my favorite places to grab a drink in Los Angeles. If you’re a drinker like me, I recommend the punch bowls as they are a good deal in comparison to buying drinks a la carte. I always order “The Old One Too” – Chandon Brut, Hennessy, Blackberries, Sugar, Lemon. They come in these gorgeous bowls and although the menu says 4-6 people I think they are perfect for 2 people (3 drinks ea).

I recommend making a table reservation so you can sit and enjoy the beautiful space. They have lots of board games you can borrow too. I’ve never done the bowling $100/hour but it would be a fun thing to do for birthday get together.


The Best Cocktail I’ve had in NYC

The MS. DALLOWAY at John Dory Oyster Bar.

Incredibly simple containing just Lemon, Ginger, Aperol, and Rye. It reminds me of my favorite cocktail in LA – the C. Arthur at Bar Stella.

Definitely one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.  

Pok Pok LA

Pok Pok is an incredible Thai restaurant in Chinatown that reminds me so much of eating in Thailand, including the tablecloth and spices that burn my taste buds off. The original location is in Portland, but if you know anything about PDX you know you’ll be waiting a LONG LONG time. Thankfully they opened one in LA that accepts reservations and is in a huge space, so it’s not difficult to get a seat on any off night. Their DineLA menu was overwhelming (size-wise) but here were my favorites:

Must Orders: Cocktails, Chicken Wings

Also surprisingly delicious – Egg “Salad”, Larb (Pork Cakes)

Cole’s – DTLA

One of my favorite places to go in Downtown LA (DTLA) is Cole‘s. You can get a half french dip with Tots for like $6, Old Fashioneds for $5 and my favorite bar (The Varnish) is located through a “secret” door in the back. It’s been there for like 100 years (literally), so it feels like a blast from the past inside the wooden booths. Apparently Bukowski peed there too, according to a plaque on the wall of the men’s restroom. The atomic mustard is divine.


Birch – Hollywood, CA

It’s been a long while since I had a meal at a new restaurant and was blown away. That day finally came when I tried Birch during DineLA. First off, the deal was incredible, whether or not the food was good. 3 entrees + a cocktail or glass of wine for $39. I easily would’ve done this if it were $49 or even $59, as DineLA menus rarely include wine or cocktails.

Highlights: anything with Curry, Chicken Live & Fois Gras, Salmon, and cocktails (I ordered the #7, not pictured.)


Drinks at Noble Experiment – San Diego

Noble Experiment is a gorgeous, yet tiny cocktail bar in Downtown San Diego. It’s hidden inside another bar, which is always a nice touch. The wait on a Monday night was close to an hour, and I think the staff at Neighborhood were annoyed – albeit rude when we were waiting to get in after they were technically closed. Rudeness aside, we finally got into the bar and got seated in a corner booth, which was nice and cozy. It’s horrendously dark inside so I wasn’t able to take a decent photo of a single cocktail. Do bars do that on purpose to retain their mystery?

Anyhow, I had the Featherweight Old-Fashioned, which consisted of Bourbon, Amaretto, Mandarin Napoleon, and Bitters. Pretty spot on. We also tried a few variations of the Gimlet and The Buck – all really delicious and well-made. I loved the wood bar and the skull wall. Really gorgeous details that seemed were thought out for the small space.

I’d go back again as long as the wait wasn’t longer than 30 minutes. Truly not a fan of lines and long waits. This isn’t Portland! 🙂