Shibumi is located at the base of a parking garage in Downtown Los Angeles, its only marker, a large stain glass window in the shape of an eye looks out from an otherwise quiet and mostly empty street. Inside guests are ushered into a darkly minimal interior flanked by a large L-shaped bar the chef-owner David Schlosser made out of a 400 year old cypress tree (the shavings which he saved and burns as an aromatics course at the end of a meal). Shibumi serves kappo-style cooking and service which focuses on quality seasonal menus with a chef who cooks in front of his customers at a bar or counter. Schlosser whose impressive resume includes stretches at the best restaurants in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Los Angeles is surprisingly accessible and affable, greeting his customers and bringing special treats from the back of the kitchen for guests to sample.
The food at Shibumi is meticulously hand-crafted (they grate wasabi by hand for each customer’s dish, nothing is pre-made) and beautifully presented in complimentary artisanal ceramics sourced in Japan. The standout dishes were the sea bream sashimi which Schlosser slices at the bar into thin translucent slivers, persimmon whipped ginko nuts in a whipped tofu, and tender broiled mackerel served with crisp spines.
Thumbnail image: Shibumi Instagram account