Shoyo, opened in fall 2021 on lower Greenville Ave. It is a 12 seat Omakase restaurant, meaning the chef choses your menu. Chef/owner Jimmy Park worked with Sous Chef William Yoon behind the counter to provide our meal, Chef Shin Kondo was missing ( instead there was a soft-spoken chef not authorized to make sushi). Together they have more than 50 years of restaurant experience. Reservations for the following month are released on the first of the month and go quickly. There are 2 seatings, Tues through Sat, at 5:45 and 8:15, with dinner lasting about 2 hours. There is parking behind the building or as you can find it on the street. There is a small waiting area until you are escorted to your seat the counter. While getting settled you can order sake, wine or beer to go with the meal if you chose. They have halves as well as full sized bottles of sake. There is also a list of extra courses you can order toward the end of the meal.
At the start they will offer you house-made ginger which is well worth the $5 upcharge. You’ll still get the regular ginger that is in most sushi places but it tasted awful after eating theirs. The chairs at the counter are comfortable and they have purse hooks under the counter. There is music in the background that adds to the poor acoustics of the place. Some of the staff have very soft voices and it was hard to understand what they were saying. This was the case with the younger chef facing us, that was not one the the named ones. Those 2 had much louder voices. Otherwise, there were a couple courses that I didn’t care for but for the most part it is a great collection of fine sushi.
First was a Cape Oyster Shooter that also contained daikon and Mizuna greens. It was a wonderful broth with a small oyster. The strong flavors left a good aftertaste.
The excellent house made ginger had a great flavor. I found myself nibbling on it between courses. It made the standard ginger pale in comparison. It is well worth the charge.
A cup of chawnamushi contained a shrimp, slices of shiitake and was topped with monkfish liver. The custard was lovely and it was a fairly mild liver piece. The mushrooms were great as was the shrimp.
Hamachi sashimi was served with chive oil, ponzu and Japanese mint flowers. It was very nice.
Medium fatty Bluefin tuna was from Japan and presented with a topping of truffle infused caviar. This was on the chef’s special wild rice. It was a divine bite and maybe my favorite of the evening.
Japanese snapper was seasoned with lemon juice and sea salt. There was a hint of wasabi in the bite too.
Japanese Rainbow Brown trout was topped with lime zest, yuzu and citrus pepper. There was an intense flavor of lime and pepper in this delicious bite.
Japanese Amberjack was seasoned with a housemade Japanese Furikake seasoning. This fish was pastier but turned refreshing with the seasoning. It had tons of flavor. (Server told me he grew up with a store brand of this seasoning always on his table).
A White Snow trout from Japan was next, topped with Japanese plum salsa. This was another intense one.
A piece of cooked salmon topped a piece of corn stuffed with potatoes, topped with onions, daikon, nori mustard and sesame dressing. This was a lot of things that didn’t meld to me. The fish was overcooked and the corn was dry. Pretty but not great.
Japanese scallop was topped with a soy sauce aged 3 years and then with some truffle sea salt. It was delicious and didn’t have any of the pasty problem I often have with raw scallop.
Japanese mackerel was topped with Japanese pearl onions. The onions really complimented the mackerel flavor. It was nice.
A lean Bluefin Tuna from Mexico was topped with tofu cream. Another delicious bite.
Sweet Shrimp was the next sushi on the menu. It was really good.
Some marinated salmon roe were dotted with wasabi and served on rice. It worked well, witht the marinade toning down the fishy factor in the eggs.
Santa Barbara uni was dotted with soy sauce that the chef makes. It was cold and delicious.
A Sea Eel from Japan was topped with a foamy sauce made from its bones. It was almost sweet. Another good one.
Shoyo sour soup contained noodles and cilantro in a really fishy broth. It was too sour and fishy for me, but the noodles were nice.
We ordered one extra, the Chu Trufflin’ for $25. The server said it was a signature piece for the place. It contained toro, uni on truffled rice and then was topped with shaved truffle. It was another excellent one.
Dessert was a piece of Japanese potato cheesecake topped with sweet fruit – blueberry, strawberry and grape/melon. It was light and good and satified a want for a sweet ending.