Day 2

Posted: June 10, 2010 in Trev in LA Boot Camp

Day 2 started off pretty slow. I learned a lot of the preparation techniques to preparing rice, stripping down fish and the recipes to the mixes. Starting at around 6 the place came alive the tables were full and Phillip and his other chef Dino were rolling and preparing sushi like crazy. I was sitting at the bar with my notebook writing down everything that I saw. 20 pages later I began to write about different ideas for Sabi, and how we can incorporate the principals of Sushi Central into our restaurant. I was deep in thought when I heard Phillip yell from the kitchen: “Trev, get back here baby!” I went behind the sushi bar and Phillip met me at the door and told me that he had an order for 5 rolls; 2 spicy tuna, 1 spicy shrimp, 2 spicy salmon. “This is all you baby, roll em,” he said as he walked to the back of the kitchen. What…? So here I am behind the bar of Sushi Central, and it’s on me to make this meal for these people who came to Phillip’s restaurant expecting perfection.

I dipped my hands in the bowl of water and clapped them together like I knew what I was doing while confident on the outside, in my head I was trying to remember everything that I had been watching and learning. As soon as I was done spreading the rice on the 5 sheets Phillip was back with a shot of tequila in his hand “take this now and finish my damn rolls!” he joked. Haha I felt like I was pledging, and in a way I was. I took the shot and continued on. Finally everything was assembled and it was time for the hard part; the slice. Cutting the rolls is absolutely important for the presentation, and earlier in the day I had messed up one of my rolls bad when I smashed everything together trying to slice it into pieces. As I stood there with Phillip’s eyes watching every move I made, the people at the sushi bar observing I realized; this is what it’s all about. Who else in the world who wanted to start a sushi restaurant would ever end up in this position.?  A world famous chef trusting me to serve to his dinner crowd, bringin me a shot halfway through, after this quick moment of clarity I realized that this is no time for thinking and lined up the rolls and sliced them like it was my job. Now, to a normal sushi chef the slice is just a simple part of making a roll, which they do hundreds of times a day, but for me when I looked at the slices I made, and each perfectly shaped piece I felt like I had just conquered the world. Phillip gave me a pat on the back and said “good, now get the hell outta my office!” hahaha I headed back to my table and began writing more notes. I was on top of the world.

As I sat in the restaurant and watched Phillip and Dino do their thing I was truly in awe. They interact with everyone strike up conversations with each customer as they walk in the door. I heard 7 people throughout the day say that this is the best sushi in LA. We are talking about the Mecca of sushi, and they are saying that this place is the best.  What makes this so impressive is if you saw Sushi Central you wouldn’t think much of it, it is located in a strip mall, its small and is not cluttered with fancy decorations like your normal premium sushi bar. Even more amazing is Phillip never advertises, but still draws a crowd. Why is that? It’s because of his food and his personality. They come for the one of a kind experience of the best sushi and most entertaining chef in the city.

The restaurant was supposed to close at 10pm but Phillip kept his doors open as people stayed late into the night enjoying his amazing creations. Finally when everyone was done he went out and joined some of the tables. As I watched him sit and laugh with the people he had just served I realized; this is what it is all about, this is why the people love the place. In no other restaurant will you get this type of experience.

We finished the night off late night’ing at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant “Cinco de Mayo;” Phillip talked with me for hours about what we can do in our place to make it something special. The ideas that we came up with were amazing, and I can’t wait to put them into play at Sabi. Time to get some sleep so I can do it all again.

  1. Fox says:

    Keep up the good work, brotha! In the meantime, I can’t help reading through your posts witout wondering what Skeff would say. I think it would be something along the lines of: don’t forget to put some country in your playlists, and fuck the Lakers.

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