The Valley Dining Scene Is Back on with a Michelin Chef-Helmed Sushi Eatery, Hawaiian-Style Fare and Specialty Ice Cream
With restaurant dine-in service now allowed, here are two new restaurants and an ice creamery to put on your radar.
- CategoryEat & Drink
- Written byKaren Young
- PhotosCourtesy of the businesses
- AboveYume | Photo by Neill Bachand
Yume Sushi opens with a Michelin chef in Studio City
Sushi chef Shige Fujimoto, who earned a coveted Michelin star at Studio City’s Asanebo, is now back on the Boulevard. With a pedigree that also includes Beverly Hills’ Matsuhisa and the now-closed Shiki (touted by the late Jonathan Gold), Chef Shige is part of a team that quietly opened Yume Sushi in early May.
According to a source at the restaurant, opening during the pandemic has allowed the fledgling sushi bar to learn about their customers, experiment and test what works best for delivery—“kind of a blessing in disguise.”
Chef Shige creates twists on classics specializing in unique house-made sauces, such as his signature Yume citrus ponzu. Popular takeout choices include the Yume Box ($30)—Yume roll (spicy tuna topped with tuna, avocado, sautéed mushrooms, arugula, garlic chips), two pieces of crispy spicy tuna, truffle edamame, four pieces of sushi (chef’s choice), truffle avocado toast and the garlic albacore roll.
Yume Sushi is open for dine-in service by reservation only and is following all mandated safety orders. Delivery and take-out orders will continue curbside. Follow Instagram for menus and reservations.
Aloha vibes at seafood-centric Malama Pono in Sherman Oaks
Malama Pono in Sherman Oaks got off to a lively start in February, offering a seafood-focused, Pacific-influenced cuisine. But then COVID-19 hit. Co-owners Matthew Michaels and Brent Myung were forced to make a quick pivot.
“We had to carefully decide what menu items would travel well for take-out without jeopardizing the integrity of our food and what we represented,” explains Matthew. “It was a hard decision to offer take-out food, but we were too new to just give up and shut down.”
Downsizing the menu, they eliminated much of the seafood, offering take-out dishes that included Spam crispy rice, homemade naan caprese, shrimp and grits, and Pono mix plate (proteins and Spam), plus “happy hour at home.”
With the limited menu still in place, Malama Pono is now open for dine-in service. The full seafood menu (paper) features chilled Kusshi oysters and albacore carpaccio, as well as local “island-style” dishes including Kalua pork wraps, horseradish-crusted mahi-mahi and Malama Loco Moco (house-made pork patty with a fried egg).
Expect to see all servers wearing masks and tables positioned 6 feet apart—with French doors to the patio open for fresh-air dining. Malama Pono means “take care, until we meet again” —apropos for how they are handling opening a restaurant during this precarious time.
Pop’s Artisanal Creamery expands to Van Nuys
Pops Artisanal Creamery opened its second location in May in Van Nuys amidst the safer-at-home mandate. The original 5-year-old family-owned shop in San Fernando is a popular destination drive for those seeking truly one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors.
Representing the sixth generation of ice cream makers whose origins began in Belize, owner Marthin Ken crafts small-batch, slow-churned ice cream in-house using all-natural, organic ingredients he procures from local farmers and markets, as well exotic imports such as lucuma from South America.
Family recipes and new creations make up the nearly three dozen flavors with multicultural notes. Specialties include Kriol sweet corn (great-great-grandfather’s recipe), almond avocado and guava cheese, while cookies and cream, butter pecan and horchata are just a few of the traditional flavors. The showstopper (and Instagram star) is the coconut sundae—ice cream and toppings scooped into a freshly cracked coconut.
Take-out and delivery has been steady at both locations; however, Marthin says the greatest challenge is that customers aren’t able to taste the flavors. “We’re known for creating a ‘wine tasting’ type of experience—introducing and explaining how we create our distinct flavors.”
That’s something to crow about.