Japanese Food Encino

Standout Sushi at Okumura in Encino

At Okumura in Encino Oaks, young Japanese chef Ryota Okumura serves standout sushi and prepared dishes in a modern setting.

At Okumura in Encino, which was included in Los Angeles Magazine‘s Top 15 Sushi Restaurants, Ryota Okumura clearly serves some of the Boulevard’s highest quality sushi. The young chef sources pristine seafood, assembles it with a jeweler’s attention to detail and doesn’t stop with raw preparations.

The classy, art-lined space features a pretty tight menu of sushi, appetizers, salads, grilled items and rolls, but when combined with specials, it is nice to get a little guidance. Okumura identifies seafood by country or state of origin. Nigiri comes two pieces to an order, and sashimi four pieces per order. We’d suggest starting with black snapper sushi ($7)—aka kuro dai, a firm European fish dressed with piquant yuzu kosho and truffle salt and served on toothsome sushi rice. In this case, soy sauce is strongly discouraged.

Kama, seafood collar, is available from three different fish: salmon, hamachi (yellowtail) and off-menu kanpachi (amberjack). Food fiends know kama is one of the best cuts of fish, since the tiny bones and cartilage hide pockets of flesh that are alternately firm and flaky. Kanpachi kama ($16) is particularly good, grilled to order and served with asparagus, cherry tomato, lemon slices and a dish of ponzu oroshi—tangy ponzu dipping sauce mixed with finely blended daikon.

Chawanmushi ($12), Japanese egg custard, is typically a comforting dish loaded with spare sea creatures and vegetables. At Okumura, chawanmushi practically becomes art, studded with shrimp and edamame and topped with creamy Santa Barbara sea urchin and bursting Alaskan salmon eggs. This dish delivers high-value luxury.

Value continues with lunch combos, including 10-piece nigiri sampler ($22) with two pieces each of bigeye tuna, yellowtail, salmon, albacore and the fish of the day (black snapper). Finally, ask to see “today’s specials,” a small printed menu that recently included shirako (cod milt … look it up) in ponzu sauce, halibut yuzu cut roll and tako (live Japanese octopus). Even in these cases, you can still get a great meal for a relative deal.

17302 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-986-9712