As much as we love some of LA’s glitzy and glamorous sushi restaurants, sometimes you just want to stop at that hole-in-the-wall, neighborhood restaurant where you can sit at the bar and have an excellent meal. The San Fernando Valley in particular is filled with them— some of them even inspire Westsiders and Eastsiders to actually make the “trek” (their words, never mine) to get their sushi fix. And the new Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks is definitely one of those trek-worthy restaurants, though I’d hesitate to call it a hole-in-the-wall sushi joint. Petite it may be, but the relaxed mid-century modern design lends it the impact of a much larger space, firmly cementing it as both a casual neighborhood restaurant and upscale spot where you can expect to find excellent food. The bar serves what, in LA, is a reasonably priced $80 omakase by Chef Kiminobu Saito, for which you will receive edamame, miso soup, an appetizer, ten pieces of sushi, and a hand roll. Additionally, Sushi Note boasts an impressive wine list, so come hungry and thirsty!
We opted for the omakase with a wine pairing (#treatyoself), and I’m so glad we did. Sushi Note excels at deceptively simple sushi and dishes, but often with creative, unexpected elements. Our meal began with a cucumber sunomono salad with soy sauce, sweet vinegar, and sesame seeds, which was easily one of the best cucumber salads I’ve had. It was crisply chilled with a lovely sweetness and acid from the vinegar. There was also an umami element to the dish that gave it even more depth. A refreshing palette cleanser to start everything off.
Sushi Note offers a small, focused selection of sashimi, and some of the highlights are their Halibut Yuzu and Albacore Kari Kari. The halibut was tender and mild, while the bright citrus yuzu paired beautifully— a simple but satisfying bite of food. Albacore with garlic ponzu was a more elevated take on a sashimi classic, and the fried leeks were just so addicting.
When it came to the sushi portion of the omakase experience, the restaurant did not disappoint. Every single piece was great, while the bluefin tuna and uni were true standouts. The fish is clearly an incredibly high quality, and just melts in your mouth.
One of the highlights of the meal was the Wagyu Biscotti, which is seared wagyu beef atop a crispy rice “biscotti.” Fatty and tender, the wagyu was mouth-wateringly delicious and provided a nice textural counterpoint to the crispy rice. A fun take on the more standard spicy tuna on crispy rice.
We also received a toro hand roll to round out the savory part of the omakase experience, which was great. The toro was fatty and creamy, while the nori was nice and crisp: an incredibly satisfying way to end the meal. For dessert, we enjoyed little bites of vanilla and chocolate mochi, which were simple but tasty.
Overall, the meal was an incredible sushi dinner; everything was delicious, expertly prepared, and treated with such care and precision. And yet the restaurant remains totally unpretentious, catering to any sushi lover from a citywide foodie to a local just looking for a nice bits and glass of wine. We suspect Sushi Note will be a hot ticket for some time to come, so make your reservations soon!