My son Spencer lived and worked in Tokyo for 12 years and has a Ph.D. in Japanese literature and culture. We’ve dined together at many fine restaurants, including many Michelin stars. But at dinner last week at the new Brothers Sushi in Santa Monica I’ve never seen him so excited by the food and the menu.
After he explained to me why he was so excited by this restaurant, I began to understand. I had dined there once before with some friends, and we certainly thought the food was good, but I had no idea just how special it was.
We started with some common sushi, maguro, marinated “zuke” maguro tuna, seared toro, bluefish, and jack mackerel (shima aji). The only thing exceptional about these was the consistent quality.
Then we had a toro taku roll, which is toro with pickles, which I’ve never seen before. Meanwhile we were watching the people at the bar, where “omakase – chef’s selection” is required. They were having Chawan Mushi, a hot custard dish famous in Japan but rarely served here outside of little Tokyo downtown. We also watched them serve smoked dry aged kampachi with caviar which I doubt can be found in any other Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles, since the Brothers has its own fish smoker and fish aging refrigerator you can visit on the way to the restrooms.
On the menu we also saw “mozuku”, a special seaweed dish popular in Japan but never seen here, and Yamaimo (served fried at Brothers), a Japanese mountain potato thought to be very healthy by the Japanese and often eaten raw.
So, there are several dishes waiting for our next visit, and next time we go we will take the omakase (chef’s selection) which comes in two sizes, $140 and $200. That seems to include these special delicacies. And on another occasion, we might order off the “kitchen” menu, which is the hot foods selection. I had the lobster tempura from this menu which was also something special.
The service at the Brothers was top notch and friendly. The setting is comfortable. The prices are high, we paid about $100 each ordering ala carte without any expensive drinks. This restaurant raises the level of Japanese cuisine in Santa Monica to a new level.
1008 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Merv Hecht, like many Harvard Law School graduates, went into the wine business after law. In 1988, he began writing restaurant reviews and books. His latest book “The Instant Wine Connoisseur, 3d edition” is available on Amazon. He currently works for several companies that source and distribute food and wine products internationally. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org