If you want a night to remember, 7Fusion in Sherman Oaks, California, is one of the most remarkable restaurants around for food connoisseurs and adventurous eaters. The restaurant, which specializes in exotic meats, has both adoring fans as well as critics. Husband and wife team Chinedu and Shera Obasi are on a mission to expand people’s taste buds and open them up to a whole new world of dining.
The couple’s passion for exotic meats stems from having lived all over the world, where eating other types of meats is much more normal than it is in the United States. Chinedu, who is Nigerian-German, is a professional soccer player whose mother owns a Nigerian restaurant. Shera’s family also owns restaurants all around Asia. Together, the Obasis have lived in Germany, the U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and have since settled in Los Angeles. Their restaurant name, 7Fusion, pays homage to their love of food and travel: seven continents, seven different tastes in the world and seven different homemade marinades.
In the typical American diet, eating meat other than chicken, beef or pork can seem strange. But did you know that meats like alpaca and ostrich are not only leaner, but some believe are also tastier than those “regular” meats? These days, more chefs and restaurants like 7Fusion are incorporating exotic meats as a different and delicious option for health-conscious, environmentally friendly and adventurous foodies alike.
Expanding your palate beyond chicken, pork and beef is also better for the environment. Due to growing concerns about farmland shortage, it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on those typical livestock. Only 12 plants and five animal species make up 75 percent of what the world eats.
“Here in Los Angeles, we have haters, and we have big fans. We have people who come from Australia that love coming here because we have kangaroo meat. People in Ireland eat ostrich burgers. Venison is (one of) the Queen of England’s favorite meats. If you are from other parts of the world, there’s a different mentality towards exotic meats,” said Shera.
At 7Fusion, diners have the opportunity to try more unique and hard-to-find meats, such as kangaroo, llama, alpaca, elk, camel, ostrich, bison, water buffalo, yak and venison, among a number of other choices. There’s a fresh bazaar (marketplace) option where guests choose from a selection of fresh, organic and exotic vegetables and proteins that are then cooked Mongolian BBQ-style with an interactive chef.
For those who are not interested in trying 7Fusion’s Mongolian BBQ option, there’s also a hot pot option, in addition to a la carte options like Mexican street tacos using exotic meats. There are also options like the yak burger, as well as non-exotic meat options and vegetarian dishes.
Yak meat is thought to be juicier than beef. The burger is extremely flavorful and tastes very much like beef, since yaks are in the same family as cows. 7Fusion uses all organic ingredients and only grapeseed oil and avocado oil for their cooking. They also make their own ginger ale.
“There are lots of benefits from exotic meats. They are very lean and very delicious. Bison, water buffalo, yak and cow are all from the same family, just different name depending on what part of region they from,” said Shera.
So how do exotic meats taste? Many exotic meats are not only rich in proteins, but also low in fat. They also tend to be just as—if not more—flavorful than the traditional beef or pork that make up the majority of meat typically found in American diets. The alpacas used for meat at 7Fusion are grass-fed, which makes the meat taste sweet. Alpaca also reportedly has the lowest level of cholesterol of any meat.
Bison, for example, is said to taste like a richer, sweeter version of beef. It has less saturated fat, fewer calories and four times as much omega-3 fat as beef. Rabbit meat has more protein than beef or chicken, as well as lots of minerals like potassium, phosphorous and iron. It is also very sustainable, since rabbits eat grass rather than grains. Ostrich meat tastes like juicy steak and has more B vitamins than the typical red meat.
“My biggest pet peeve is when people say certain types of food are disgusting. Food is food. You just need to learn how to respect and appreciate it. Some people eat certain things that other people do not. That doesn't mean it’s bad. You’re just not used to it. I hope more people will go outside their comfort zones and give exotic meats a try,” said Shera.
Address: 7Fusion, 14235 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 91423