I hate driving in Los Angeles so I do my best to urge my friends to come to me. “If you venture to Hollywood you can choose where we eat!” Unfortunately I live very close to Yamashiro, and somehow that beautiful pagoda on the hill draws them all in.
It’s not that Yamashiro’s food is bad, it’s just that the food is not on par with the breathtakingly amazing view and price. If I’m paying the big bucks for mandatory valet and bumping my bill from $100 to $170 just to drink a little sake, the food should be magnificent. It’s good, not magnificent.
I’m a firm believer in customer service. This is the kind of place that treats you better if you look better or come across as famous. Seriously. I’ve been there many times; after a long day, probably not looking as fabulous as Beyonce, and been directed to the “back patio area” despite the great seats in front being free. I’ve arrived in a limo with a bunch of scantily clad gals and been given the royal treatment. I don’t like that approach to customer service. It’s LA, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just know that it’s “one of those places”.
So the ambiance is great and the view is stellar; bring a date here. Let’s talk about the food. The fish is fresh and high quality; with that it’s hard to mess up the Japanese sushi and sashimi dishes. The departure occurs when Yamashiro tries to get “CalAsian” on you. The hot dishes read like food-porn on the menu, but I’ve repeatedly been left underwhelmed in the taste department. I taste the things the menu promised, but they haven’t melded harmoniously like I’d imagined. For this reason I suggest you stick to the sushi selections and house specialty rolls. Truffle Hamachi, Oyster Shooter, Charred Albacore and Darth Vader Roll are delicious. If you have expensive taste but a wallet that can’t back it up, the Uni Roll has substance and will help fill you up. The drink menu is expansive but will bleed you dry. If you’re okay with that, “Cheers!”
Yamashiro also offers spaces for private events and weddings, a “dine and ride” program for the new Cirque show or Hollywood Bowl, a killer Thursday night farmer’s market on their grounds (with a thankfully reduced valet price, still mandatory) and the Pagoda Bar which is open Thursday through Saturday evenings. This place is worth checking out, if the food doesn’t have you coming back for more, the scene probably will.