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Toronto sushi bar Yasu is coming to Beverly Hills

Yasu Beverly Hills’ mackerel nigiri. Credit: Yasu
Yasu Beverly Hills’ mackerel nigiri.
(Yasu / Yasu)

Yasu, an acclaimed sushiya from Toronto, will open on June 20 in Beverly Hills.

Chef Yasuhisa Ouchi opened the original Yasu in 2014, four years after making his debut in Toronto with Nigiri-Ya, a more casual, takeout-focused sushi spot he has since sold.

Just two months after Yasu opened, Toronto critic Chris Nutall-Smith would declare in Canada’s the Globe and Mail, “Both times I ate at Yasu... the evening sent me into a seafood-induced bliss-state,” awarding it three and a half stars and also comparing it to Jiro Ono’s Tokyo.

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It was the first major accolade of many to come for the small restaurant, which only serves an omakase menu, accommodating a maximum of eighteen people, including twelve seats across from the sushi chefs as they work. The most recent was being named No. 14 on a list of Toronto’s best restaurants, as picked by his peers in the local chef community.

Similar to its northern sister, Yasu in Beverly Hills is an Edomae-style sushi restaurant focused on cut-to-order fish served on warm, hand-shaped nigiri, presented to the customer one piece at a time.

The restaurant will have two nightly seatings, with ten seats at the sushi counter and capacity for another twelve guests. The design hews “very closely” to the Canadian original, Ouchi says, maintaining the stark, modern look that allows diners to focus on the fish at hand.

Ouchi claims this western expansion is mostly “for adventure,” but quickly betrays his excitement for the bounty of Southern California’s oceans, especially our local sea urchin.

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“We focus on a very traditional style,” he explains, “but trying to use local fish. Here, by the sea, there’s much more local fish I’m excited to use.”

Specifically, he’s excited to incorporate live spot prawns from Santa Barbara and California King Salmon into his L.A. omakase. He also plans on serving Alaskan shirako — cod milt — Japanese firefly squid, uni from both Southern California and Japan, lobster with ponzu and yuzu, and three courses of tuna.

About 20 courses will be offered at $130 per person.

265 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, yasu-sushibar.com


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