The long-awaited and highly anticipated modern Japanese restaurant Imari, from restaurateur Philip Camino, launches in-person dining today in Brentwood with a dinner menu of washoku-style small plates created by celebrated chefs Derek Wilcox and David Schlosser.  

Following the successful run of Imari’s takeout bento boxes, which will continue to be available for takeout and delivery only, the dine-in restaurant offers an a-la-carte menu of small and shared plates meticulously created by Wilcox, formerly of Shoji, the celebrated sushi and kaiseki restaurant in New York, and who was classically trained at 3-Michelin-starred Kikunoi in Kyoto, Japan. At his side is chef consultant, and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, Schlosser of the Michelin-starred Shibumi in Downtown L.A. 

IMG 9149

Chefs Derek Wilcox (left) and David Schlosser create washoku-style art (Michele Stueven)

In keeping with tradition, the team practices washoku-style cuisine, a spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources. Each ingredient is treated with the utmost respect and everything looks like and is presented as a work of art. Fresh, seasonal seafood imported from Japan is combined with local farmers market produce and sustainably sourced local fish from the Channel Islands.

Zensai (starters) include a stunning Hiyayakko, organic basket tofu topped with daily seasonal vegetables blending smooth and crunchy flavors and textures. The salad is a sculpture of shaved daikon radish, celery, mizuna, nori and an addictive crispy micro sardine.

Other recommended highlights are the free-range chicken gyoza with nira chives, miso and sansho oil, as well as a Japanese wagyu steak with fresh wasabi and sea salt. As for temaki, try the chopped shrimp hand roll with mentaiko spicy cod roe. Also, a feast for the eyes is the special and unique dessert option, a red shiso sorbet coated with raspberries.

The sake program is curated by Schlosser and features a premium list sourced from various regions in Japan, available by the glass or carafe. Featured selections include a smooth and fragrant Koshi No Kanbai Muku, Junmai Daiginjo. 

IMG 9165

Japanese wagyu steak with fresh wasabi and sea salt (Michele Stueven)

Japanese minimalist in design, the space features 28 seats in the dining room and eight at the bar as well as an outdoor patio with an additional 22 seats. The interior is framed by planked, white oak with leather booths and a floor feature that combines both wood and tile. Camino’s undying passion for art punctuates the space in a floor-to-ceiling hand-painted mural, created by Camino himself and artist Sheila Darcey, showing waves portraying natural oceanic elements in the back of the restaurant. Shelves line the space with unique sake bottles offered on the beverage menu, along with traditional imari pottery.

IMG 9155

Shaved daikon radish, celery, mizuna, nori and crispy micro sardine (Michele Stueven)


Imari Interior 06

Courtesy Imari

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.