Sitting in a booth eating sushi at the Sora restaurant located on the 69th floor of the Wilshire Grand, I commented to my friend about the magnificent views of Los Angeles. Located inside the newly opened Wilshire Grand, this upscale, world-class and state-of-the-art 73-story high-rise, offers multiple dining options in the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
Inside the office building is the InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles, with 889 guest rooms on the 31st to 68th floors. Everywhere you look are million-dollar views. The lobby on the first floor is not the registration area for the hotel; instead hotel and dining guests must take an elevator up to the 70th floor.
Dining at Sora, you need to take another elevator down one floor or walk down a spiral staircase to the restaurant. Also on the 69th floor is a market-to-table buffet dining area named Dekkadance. This area offers stellar Pacific Ocean views.
Walking into Sora one immediately notices an elevated omakase experience with plates of sushi covered in a clear glass dome. They are strategically placed on a rolling conveyor belt and pass in front of guests dining along the glass viewing windows. If a dish looks good, guests may lift the plate right off the moving belt.
Two other dining areas include a sushi viewing bar to watch itamae (sushi chefs) cut blocks of fish, prepare the perfect sushi rice, grate ginger and slice scallions to make and wrap rolls.
We chose the third dining option and sat in one of the high back booths along the windows. While talking in the views of the Griffith Park Observatory and Dodger Stadium, we agreed that the twinkling lights in the evening during the dinner hours must be magical.
Looking over the menu, we noticed beers are served draft and by the bottle. The restaurant also offers an array of cocktails, ranging from a Passionfruit Bellini and a Seoul margarita made with ginger syrup and Korean pear juice. The also serve a nice selection of Japanese whiskey. Celebratory champagne and a nice selection of domestic and international wines are listed to pair with sushi.
Before eating, guests receive a warm oshibori (hot towel) to clean one’s hands before eating. I ordered a few appetizers for lunch. The Soba Inari arrived with two Aburaage tofu pouches filled with thin boiled buckwheat noodles, scallion spirals, a dollop of spicy Japanese horseradish wasabi and little orange micro flowers. What makes this appetizer interactive is a pipette filled with ponzu sauce. With a squeeze, I could control how much sauce I desired to enhance this dish.
Two stunning dishes arrived in bowls. There was a mini vegetable bowl filled with sushi rice. This rice contains more rice vinegar than is used in making sushi maki rolls and nigiri. I could easily pick up and eat this rice with chopsticks. The sticky texture was adorned with a variety of chopped steamed vegetables. My favorite was the mini Chirashi bowl. In Japanese, Chirashi means scattered. On the bottom of the bowl was seasoned rice that was slightly tangy, made with alkaline sweetness of rice vinegar. It was topped with scattered pieces of raw fish, fish roe, and tamagoyaki, a spongy egg garnish. a few sesame seeds were sprinkled on top for textural diversity. The two bowls with the Soba pouches were very filling.
My sushi loving friend ordered one of the sushi plates. It arrived with 25 pieces of rolls and nigiri. On the plate were eight California rolls and eight salmon avocado rolls. Our server, Vladimir, told us that that fresh crab was used in the rolls. For nigiri, my friend selected freshly sliced tuna, salmon and yellow tail. The sliced fish was placed on a dollop of wasabi and a small sphere of rice.
Before leaving we each had a small mochi for dessert. I had a delicious black sesame mochi confection made from pounded sticky rice and filled with a pleasing, light gray ice cream. It’s spherical in shape and dusted with either potato or corn starch to keep it from sticking. My friend ordered the strawberry mochi and enjoyed her bite-size treat.
For the ultimate dining views of Southern California, Sora won’t disappoint and will please all of your senses.
Sora is open daily from 12 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday the restaurant opens from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. 900 Wilshire Blvd, Floor 69, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213)688-7777.