Archive for November, 2008




HAMASAKU hamasaku-2

There is no competition and no question about it, Hamasaku has the BEST sushi, and its sister restaurant, doesn’t disappoint.  The sleeker, more chic interior is the only difference from the original.


I am still dreaming about the salmon crab sushi and crab hand rolls.  Not to mention that even the cooked entrees are amazing as well.  The Wagyu beef melts in your mouth, and the miso cod is on another level! 


Like the head of any good family, Toshi Kihara makes everyone feel like a superstar with a special surprise at the end of each meal.  Let’s just say that the treat is as flashy as the flavors!


All in all, Hamasaku is a family affair that everyone should want to be a part of!


For more information on this sizzling “sister-act” visit http://www.gayot.com/restaurantpages/LosAngelesInfo.php?tag=LARES08111133-02&code=LA










Alinea is packed with interesting and exotic dishes, but it borderlines bizarre. The highlights were the trout roe with coconut custard and passion fruit hyssop. The wagyu beef maitake with smoked date and blis elixir (aged sherry-syrup) were also divine. The rabbit with prune, shallot, sKewered on burning oak leaves was delicious as well as decadent.  Not to mention the hot potato-cold potato with black truffle butter and the bacon with butterscotch, apple, thyme, and dry caramel shot at the end were two of my top picks!  However, the meal over all was a bit too fussy, even for me.  Too much time was spent on trying, and not enough on tasting what was placed on the table.


To pick some courses of your own to try, take a look at their menu on http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/index.html as well as the review on Gayot.com at http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/alinea-chicago-il-60614_5ch050604.html

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Michael Mina’s latest restaurant, XIV, recently opened its doors (if you can find them) in LA. The scene is what one would expect from an LA eatery- cool, hip decor in a chic indoor/outdoor space.


The courses were small but tasty and arrived with almost perfect timing. Mina’s signature caviar bellinis were a hit and perfectly paired with a creamy, crisp bubbly. The frois gras with cherry jelly was delicious but the waver thin crackers meant for the spread missed the mark. The beef carpaccio wrapped around shredded asparagus topped with horseradish cream was beautifully presented- a nice change of flavors and textures from the typical dish. The fish courses were spectacular. Cured hamachi with shaved apple and marinated cod both melted in your mouth. 


However, the meal came to a screeching halt when dessert hit the table.  The first sweet treat was a white chocolate box filled with blood orange crème and flower petals, atop a layer of red cake.  It was prettier than it tasted, but nevertheless very interesting.  Then came what my friend, Sophie Gayot and myself, could have done without. It was described as having hazelnut as a key ingredient, whiskey barrel ice cream and corn flakes with sage… And those were just some components of the dish.  Need I say more?  The flavors and textures in that particular dish clashed like a peasant in a palace-it simply didn’t work at all! 


Overall, it is a fun place for drinks and appetizers. The dishes are interesting and tasteful. Yet, when it comes to some of the overly creative desert options less is sometimes more. Whatever happened to ‘Let them eat cake!?’


See what the ‘Queen of Dining’ said about XIV on Gayot.com http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/xiv-west-hollywood-ca-90046_2la080435.html

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