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Sushi Bar to go
Photograph: Courtesy Sushi Bar/John Troxell

One of L.A.’s best sushi bars takes its omakase digital

Phillip Frankland Lee’s Sushi Bar now includes videos for each course.

By
Stephanie Breijo
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There are few restaurant experiences we miss more than a visit to a sushi bar, especially when we leave our meal entirely in the hands of the chef. From the counter you can watch snapper and toro and Hokkaido scallops expertly sliced and rice tenderly hand-formed, with a few surprises based on whatever’s freshest that day; it’s dinner and a show, and a far cry from the delivery we’ve been eating from the couch the last few months.

At Sushi Bar the experience is half of what makes the restaurant so special: Tucked into the back corner of an Encino strip mall, you can watch Top Chef’s Phillip Frankland Lee brush soy sauce over nigiri, grind long arms of fresh wasabi root to a potent pulp, and craft bites involving anything from bone marrow to yellowtail topped with sweet-corn pudding. The chef recently launched a to-go option for his 16-course menu, but even a box of artful sushi isn’t quite the same as sitting at the counter, so he took a step that more closely recreates the experience at home.

If you’re comfortable visiting a restaurant right now, Sushi Bar is open for dine-in service, along with new sibling spot, Pasta Bar—it’s just been moved outdoors, per Governor Gavin Newsom’s instruction. But if you’re hoping to take it to-go, Sushi Bar has you covered, too: The chef just teamed up with a production company to record instructional videos for every course.

“Making these supplemental videos adds a new level of hospitality while dining at home,” says Frankland Lee. “[It] provides a new option for people who aren’t ready to go to a restaurant but are currently socializing with small groups of friends and looking for new forms of entertainment, and expands our reach to Los Angeles diners well beyond the existence of Covid-19.”

There’s even a trailer:

Close-ups of thinly sliced pineapple sliding onto Spanish otoro—paired with quips like “I’m actually a little bit jealous you’re having this tonight, ’cause I am not having this tonight and I kinda wish I was” (honestly, same)—create the illusion that you’re back at the sushi bar watching the team sprinkle matcha salt over barbecued eel just for you. 

The omakase-inspired boxes run $95 apiece and include a welcome cocktail, but if you’ve opted for the additional $55 beverage pairing, there are videos for those courses, too, featuring none other than Broadway vet and Magic Bar host extraordinaire Benjamin Schrader.

Reservations can be made online for pickup seven days a week and include add-on options for à la carte nigiri, cocktails for two, bottles of sake, and snacks from pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee (including her decadent caramels found next door at Scratch Bar).

Sushi Bar is located at 16101 Ventura Blvd in Encino.

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