It’s been WAY too long since I celebrated my birthday at Urasawa last March and, to be honest, the details of this meal have eluded me. That’s the price to pay for procrastinating on writing the post for so long. I’m sure you can find similar meals at Urasawa chronicled by other bloggers, ones who are much better photographers and writers than yours truly (FYI: this was still winter, and the menu stays fairly consistent throughout each season). Therefore, I won’t elaborate on a dish-by-dish recap of the dinner (not that I can do it well anyways at this point). I will say, however, that there is a “method” to this madness of culinary negligence, and that is there aren’t really enough words to truly express how gratifying this meal, no, experience was.
Let’s get this out of the way: Urasawa is EXPENSIVE. Like one of the most expensive restaurants in the U.S. expensive. Base was $375/person, and I believe I ended up paying $500+. So yeah, this is a once-in-a-lifetime meal for us commoners. And you know what? It was worth every penny (you’re getting 30+ items). You’re really not going to a place like Urasawa and expect to cut corners here, or skimp on a dollar there, because you’re not expecting Hiro-san to pull the same punches, either. This is the man who gets the absolute first choice for seafood at IMP every morning, and meticulously orchestrates every single detail of your meal. If I had to categorize the meal, I guess it’s considered a “sushi kaiseki,” not a true sushi nor an authentic kaiseki, but a combination of the two set in a pristine and intimate patron-itamae setting.
Just consider your experience (I continuously refer to the meal here as an experience, because it’s about more than just the food) a trip to Japan and meal at a Michelin 2 or 3-star restaurant (Urasawa itself received a 2-star rating before Michelin stopped with the L.A. guides), but minus the airfare and lack of communication. Hiro-san isn’t fluent in English obviously, but the man is an encyclopedia of Japanese food and culture, and isn’t shy on sharing his childhood stories, dish on current events (especially involving celebrities who’ve dined there), and even some wisecrack jokes – all while focused like a laser on preparation of our food. We even spent an hour chatting with the man after our meal ended, which meant that we stayed at the restaurant for around 4 hours.
So if you have some major milestone to celebrate, or are just aching to burn your money, don’t hesitate to make it rain at Urasawa…
Chris Hei grade: A+
218 N Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210