Savor the genius and artistry in every overwhelmingly fresh dish. Chef-Owner Makoto Okuwa is a true culinary virtuoso. Studying under Iron Chef’s famed Murimoto for many years is impressive experience. To fully appreciate Makoto’s new venture, have the wait staff walk you through the menu’s philosophy. “It’s very much a share menu. It’s designed for you to have something from each, cold dishes, hot dishes, sushi, soups and salads. We can give you pointers on how to eat, depending on how hungry you are and your taste preferences.” The Baked Crab Handroll ($8), spicy, wrapped in soy paper is a sumptuous start. Don’t miss the Hamatchi Ishiyaki “Crafted Table Side” ($21). A unique signature dish, by Chef Okuwa, Soba Carbonarra ($25) is not on the menu — ask for it! Al dente calamari and soba noodles smothered in a creamy garlic burgundy truffle sauce will blow you away. The Far Niente Chardonnay is a fine pairing with this rich dish.
Don’t fear the extensive sake list. The staff is educated, helpful and can suggest a proper pairing to match your food and your budget. If you’re not driving, try the Funuguchi Kikusu ($12 for 6.7 oz) Chrysanthemum Water. It’s smooth and luscious. Hard to believe it’s 19% alcohol! Despite the sake list being world class, you will be wooed by the wine list. It’s a Who’s Who of A-List wineries you know and love: Opus One, Caymus, Chateau Montelena. The single serving menu is equally impressive — Veuve by the glass ($18)? Thank you!
If it’s past feeding time, head straight for the bar. It’s a cross between Vegas ultra-lounge and Japanese traditional. An indoor/outdoor design takes advantage of the night ocean air. Appointed with husky dark wood walls and electric pink lighting Sashi inspires and gratifies business, friends or romance. In additional to a full bar, there are pages of specialty, hand-crafted drinks available. “We do a lot of muddling. Our poor bartenders!” Get there early to avoid a line. Sashi is the hottest spot in the “Model Capital of the World” — Manhattan Beach — and it’s a sold out show every night.
– DAVE FERRIGNO