There are numerous sushi restaurants scattered throughout the Westside, but in accordance to Chef Masa Shimakawa there is only one particular restaurant serving authentic Tokyo-fashion sushi, and that is his new pop-up Soko.
Centered about an eight seat counter, Soko is an intimate sushi bar tucked within the major-floor foyer of the Fairmont Miramar Lodge & Bungalows in Santa Monica. The cafe embodies Japanese beliefs of harmony and attention to element, with a uncomplicated nigiri and roll based mostly menu serving the highest high-quality cuts of fish.
“Sushi is a lifelong passion of mine, and Soko is especially individual for me as I have the opportunity to go on to perfect my craft by curating deeply personal and memorable experiences for our attendees in a a single-on-one particular type of atmosphere,” explained Shimakawa.
Shimakawa will come from humble origins and propelled himself to success by means of sheer sushi expertise. Elevated in the coastal Japanese city of Hakodate, Shimakawa took his very first job as a cafeteria dishwasher with no intention of launching a culinary profession.
“I begun to function in the sushi restaurant again of property and I did not have any ideas or in-depth awareness,” mentioned Shimakawa. “I began finding out cooking rice and chopping greens, working day-by-day month-by-thirty day period they (sushi chefs) taught me sushi strategies. This was my setting up issue.”
Shimakawa learned he had a normal aptitude and went on to prepare underneath top rated Japanese sushi cooks, creating his way to the sushi capital of Tokyo right before getting an abroad job option in Montreal.
A highly prosperous ten calendar year stint in Canada opened doorways to prospects in the US at renowned motels together with the Park Hyatt in Chicago and the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake, where by he made the present day Japanese and Asian motivated restaurant Onyx.
Soko is bringing learn sushi chef Shimakawa again to the essentials, but the foods is anything at all but easy. The menu is priced for each piece with just about every individual nigiri and roll remaining geared up and plated with treatment.
Nigiri offerings involve horse mackerel, scallop, ora king salmon, crimson snapper, and kanpachi, when a restricted menu of rolls attributes tuna, Japanese cucumber, and yellowtail with scallion and toro. There are also a smaller variety of starters, sake and beer on offer you.
Shimakawa meticulously oversees the sourcing of just about every ingredient, drawing close to 70 % of his fish from Japan and the relaxation from prime coastal regions these kinds of as king salmon from New Zealand and tuna from Spain.
“Soko focuses on traditional Japanese Tokyo-style sushi and thoroughly forgets about American-style western-type approaches and ingredients,” stated Shimakawa. “I want to emphasize to the consumers that we want them to flavor and see classic dishes, traditional goods, classic encounters. That is what I want to deliver.”
Though the restaurant is billed as a pop-up, there is no conclude date in sight and there are some expansion programs in the will work.
Even though the personal eight seat bar will keep on being at the heart of Soko, seating is slated to expand through the foyer and into the nearby sidewalk space. Shimakawa presently has designs for new menu items and ordeals together with a shareable 9-piece bento box.
Even though the fish may be large-end, the eating knowledge is supposed to be cosy and casual, with a no reservations coverage and paper and pencil buying method.
The name Soko signifies storeroom in Japanese and is a tribute to the areas wherever, prior to the days of refrigeration, Japanese fisherfolk would maintain their catch wrapped in fermented rice and salt. This 2,000 calendar year aged dish turned identified as narezushi and is the precursor to the contemporary art of sushi.
Soko the cafe strives to pay out tribute to this extended legacy and is, deliberately, housed in a glass-paneled transformed storeroom at the Fairmont. Soko is open up on a first appear initially provide foundation Wednesday by means of Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 101 Wilshire Blvd.