CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Le Sushi Bar: This is What I Call Japanese Cuisine
The Unbeatable Sushi Experience at Le Sushi Bar, Achrafieh
Le Sushi Bar: A Complete Luxurious Experience
Le Sushi Bar: Enjoyable at a Certain Price
Strict Food Safety Measures at Le Sushi Bar
Le Sushi Bar: Introducing the Chirashi
Le Sushi Bar, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Le Sushi Bar Updates its Menu
Le Sushi Bar: Guaranteed Dining Enjoyment!
Le Sushi Bar: Beirut's Exceptional Contemporary Japanese Cuisine
I went to Le Sushi Bar. Yes again. But this time it was to celebrate the 15th year anniversary of one of my favourite places in Lebanon. With this celebration comes a new menu composing of 15 new dishes, which will redefine the way you know, imagine, and taste seafood and Japanese cuisine.
"On the occasion of our 15 year anniversary and with next year's upcoming interior makeover of Le Sushi Bar, another stepping stone in the restaurant's never ending evolution, we present to you a special edition menu that is an avant-gout of what to expect once the place reopens."
Tonight, I had the chance to be one of the very few to try Le Sushi Bar's new menu, brought to us by "Food for Thought" the consulting company behind this one-of-a-kind dining experience with Chef Tomas Reger and Mario Jr. Haddad.
The experience starts from the very first minute you set foot in this unique wooden crate-like space that’s warmly lit with yellow lights and a few candles. It takes you beyond reality and into a fairy tales of passionate tastes and aromas. Forget about what "you think you know" about food in general, Sushi, or Japanese cuisine… and prepare yourself to venture into a fairy tale of culinary creations from the Far East, a very few starred restaurants master to date around the world.
Unfortunately, Lebanon is not listed on the Michelin Star map, yet, but I have a good feeling that this might hopefully change soon. Open the wood and leather menu, decorated with laser carved flowers protecting the new items printed on the first page. Check out the new 15 items with a few couple pictures as well as discover three new sections integrated for your comfort:
Spicy Items, Maternity Friendly plates and Vegetarian Mixes. I was so excited to try them all:
- Fresh Tuna Special Ura Maki (Tuna, daikon, asparagus, wasabi flakes wrap, scallion oil dressing) 24,000L.L
- Scallops Special Ura Maki (Scallops, Jerusalem artichokes, ice plant, shiso leaf, cucumber wrap, chilly threads topping) 22,000L.L
- Fold Over Amberjack Sashimi (Amberjack sashimi with daikon in soy yuzu dressing) 25,000L.L
- Salmon Skin Tartare (Diced salmon mixed with chives on crispy salmon skin) 16,000L.L
- Wagyu and Beetroot Tartare (Diced wagyu beef with shiso cress on beetroot crisps) 29,500L.L
- Scallop Ceviche (Scallops and Jerusalem artichokes marinated in rice wine and topped with pea shoots) 21,000L.L
- Crab Salad (Blue crab with apples and pomelo in a cucumber lemon dressing) 32,500L.L
- Salmon Skin Salad (Crispy salmon skin, baby spinach, daikon and avocado in a white miso dressing) 15,000L.L
- Duck Salad (Duck confit with Asisan greens and pomegranate dressed with hoisin vinaigrette) 31,000L.L
- Chicken Gyoza (Pan-fried chicken mushroom dumplings in a light soy dressing) 28,500L.L
- Beef and Mushroom Roll (Seared beef fillet rolled around Asian mushrooms and scallions) 27,500L.L
- Grilled Quail (Marinated quail grilled and served with cucumbers and hoisin) 35,000L.L
- Steamed Sea Bream in Black Bean (Sea bream filet steamed and served on a bed of asparagus with black bean sauce) 44,000L.L
- Yuzu Miso Grilled Salmon (Citrus and miso marinated salmon, grilled over high fire) 40,000L.L
- Grilled Wagyu on Hoba Leaf (Grilled wagyu filet with miso marinated eggplants) 45,000L.L
The 'haute cuisine' is beyond reality... I loved each and every plate:
- Fresh tuna special ura maki: A thick generous piece of fresh red tuna melts under your teeth like butter, followed by a slight crunch of the white radish that explodes sweetness around your palate before the wasabi takes action to caress your taste buds. Tuna, daikon, asparagus, wasabi flakes wrap, scallion oil dressing
- Salmon skin tartar was my favorite tonight: Five pieces of salmon skin slices covered with a little mountain of salmon cubes covered with green onions. The crunchy salmon skin crumbles like chips under your teeth extracting a peppery after taste. Majestic yet simple, this creation come from the land a fairy tales
- Duck Salad: Served in a ceramic bowl and filled with rich ingredients, each adding a plus to the mix: Asian greens, beetroot leaves and pomegranate. The hoisin sauce and mizuna create a one of kind taste that made me close my eyes
- Salmon Skin Salad: Served in a black bowl-like plate, this mikado mountain filled with crispy salmon skin that crumble like chips, baby spinach, daikon that add some pleasant crunchiness and the miso sauce rich in lemon and aromas from Japan. Crunchy, sweet, sour, chewy and melty, tonight's experience is more of a scientific experience in a plate
- Beef and Mushroom Roll: Just imagine: Two kinds of baby mushrooms with scallions, rolled by a medium beef slice and seasoned in a Japanese oil. Grab a roll, dip it in its green sauce and feel the softness of this delicious fine creation. Soft , tender, juicy and beautiful.
- Grilled Quail : Soft like butter, those little legs are slightly crunchy from the outside and soaked in hoisin sauce that equalizes the preparation between sweet and sour
- Yuzu Miso Grilled Salmon: Marinated for 24 hours in its sweet sauce, the salmon is sweet and juicy and the same time. While grilled on high fire, a caramelized envelop creates all around to give you this piece of wonder. A premiere!
- Grilled Wagyu on Hoba Leaf: A seared wagyu, marinated for 24 hours in miso soup that mixed with the eggplant cubes and left to relax over a charcoal light heat on a Japanese clay pot. the softness of the wagyu mixed with the richness of the eggplant all with a hint of sweetness from the miso make this preparation majestic
- Steamed Sea Bream in Black Bean: Called "ijaj" in Arabic is a white fish served with crunchy fresh asparagus and a black bean sauce. One of the simplest plates I tried tonight, this is a dish for the less adventurers. You will feel the light oiliness of the fish that will keep a positive aftertaste on your lips while finishing your bite with the asparagus crunch
Filled with unique items, tonight's menu was a concentration of new flavours:
- Daikon: Or white radish is a mild-flavored, very large, white East Asian radish with a wide variety of culinary uses. Despite often being associated with Japan, it was originally cultivated in continental Asia.
- Magnolia Leaf: Magnolia obovata (common names Japanese Bigleaf Magnolia and Japanese whitebark magnolia) is a species of Magnolia, native to Japan and the adjacent Kurile Islands of Russia. It grows at altitudes of sea level up to 1,800 m in mixed broadleaf forest.
- Miso: A traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley, and/or soybeans with salt and the fungus, the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru, a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. There is a wide variety of miso available. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. The traditional Chinese analogue of miso is known as dòujiàng.
- Scallion: Scallions (also known as green onions, spring onions) are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are "onion-like", having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb.
- Shiso Leaves: Is the now common name for the Asian culinary herb, seed (spice), or entire annual plant of Perilla frutescens variety crispa, belonging to the mint family.
- Mizuna: Mizuna or Japanese mustard. The taste of mizuna is a "piquant, mild peppery flavour...slightly spicy, but less so than arugula."
Today, I discovered a fifth taste, a taste I didn't have the chance to experience ever before. Behind every bite was an exclamation mark: I feel something new, unusual and out of this world. "Umami", is now at the back of my mind. "Umami", a savoury taste, is one of the five basic tastes, (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty). A loanword from the Japanese, umami can be translated "pleasant savory taste".
Think of drinking some tea with the food. The Pearl tea we sipped on is a must try.
- Just focus on the plates. More than eight different kinds and shapes of plates are used depending on the food type, consistency and temperature: Porcelain, ceramic, wood or slate. The shapes and colors are beautiful
- The plates presentation is perfectly created up to the standard of fine dining restaurants
- 162 different choices constitute the rich menu
- The waiters are professional and always smiling
- Every dish is named as it is placed on the table
- Every little detail counts: Glazed printed chopsticks, blue branded napkins, crystal glasses and more
- Le Suhi Bar integrated a new concept to the market. Finger food ideas and plates in a Japanese fine dining restaurant. You can taste many plates without feeling heavy
Everything was even better than ever. The welcoming host, the professional staff, the floor manager, the ambiance, the food, the aromas... Everything is just perfect. To be aware of everything, this is not your every-day's restaurants: It is expensive (100$-130$/person) but worth every penny.
PS: I'm sorry for the pictures quality as I had to use flash in the dimmed ambiance of the restaurant