Archive for the 'Beverly Hills' Category

Nozawa Bar – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Nozawa Bar - Beverly Hills

Say hello to Nozawa Bar, a hyper-intimate sushi destination that refines and redefines Chef Kazunori Nozawa’s signature “Trust Me” experience.

Tucked behind a door marked “Staff Only” at Beverly Hill’s SugarFISH, Nozawa Bar serves pristine sushi in sparse and compact quarters. The space between itamae and diner is never more than an arm’s length.

Nozawa Bar - Beverly Hills

Nozawa Bar serves a twenty-course omakase twice a night, Monday through Saturday at 6 and 8:30 PM. The cost per person is $150, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Each course is served to all ten diners at once, making substitutions and special requests mostly impossible.

Prior to taking the helm at Nozawa Bar, Chef Osamu Fuji, a long-time friend and colleague of Chef Nozawa, opened Japanese restaurants across the U.S. and served as corporate chef for a number of large hotels.

Nozawa Bar - Beverly Hills

The Astronomer and I reserved two seats for the later seating on a recent Saturday night. Fellow diners included a mix of longtime Sushi Nozawa fans, as well as first-timers like us. The mood in the room was stiff at the start, but eased into casual banter by night’s end, with Chef Fuji cracking jokes left and right.

The omakase opened with a tangy seaweed salad dressed in rice vinegar and generously topped with sweet hunks of Dungeness crab.

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Red Medicine – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

It’s a crying shame that Red Medicine got off on such an awful foot during its early days. First there was the uproar over the communist propaganda-inspired logo emblazoned with Ho Chi Minh’s face, which was followed by the brouhaha for exposing and ejecting the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic.

These events kept me and my curiosity at bay for quite some time, but I’m glad that I finally pulled up a seat at this “Vietnamese punk” establishment, because Chef Jordan Kahn‘s cooking is some of the most modern, forward, and interesting fare that I’ve ever experienced in Los Angeles.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

As its manifesto declares, “This is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant.” Instead, Chef Kahn, the former pastry chef at the French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea, picks and chooses flavors and ingredients from the cuisine that inspire him to create dishes that are as pleasing to the palate as they are to the eye.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

My friend Diep and I grabbed two seats at the bar and proceeded to order cocktails, a duo of dishes, and dessert. We had just come from a taco binge on the corner of Venice and La Brea, so this was the perfect way to get our feet wet without committing to an entire dinner.

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{swoon} Japanese-Style Crepes at Harajuku Crepe

Harajuku Crepe - Beverly Hills

Rio Hirashima wasn’t taken with the crepes he encountered in Los Angeles when he arrived here in 2005. Instead of the springy, stretchy, conical specimens that he was used to in Japan, he found traditional French ones that were perfectly nice, but hardly a taste of home. Rather than wait for sporadic trips back to Japan or for someone to fill the niche, Mr. Hirashima took matters into his own hands and opened Harajuku Crepe in 2009.

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Sprinkles Cupcake ATM – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Sprinkles ATM - Beverly Hills

I finally made a withdrawal from the Sprinkles ATM when Cousins Jackie and Jessica came to town for a short visit. As part of a whirlwind tour of Los Angeles that included a stop at the Santa Monica Pier, a stroll down Rodeo Drive, and dinner in Thaitown, we swung by the ATM for the pleasure of having a cupcake delivered via robot claw. It was a riotous occasion.

Sprinkles ATM - Beverly Hills

The Sprinkles ATM, which debuted in March in the space next to the original cupcakery, provides a sweet fix to cupcake lovers 24 hours a day. The machine stocks an array of freshly baked cupcakes that always includes Red Velvet, the shop’s most popular flavor. Of course, if one’s favorite flavor isn’t available inside the machine, the Sprinkles brick and mortar is only a few short steps away.

With its bright blue, pink, green, and red stripes, the Sprinkles ATM is a real looker. While the machine is far more attractive than an ordinary bank ATM, the experience of purchasing a cupcake feels surprisingly similar to making a cash withdrawal.

Sprinkles ATM - Beverly Hills

A touchscreen monitor lead me through the process of choosing a flavor and making a purchase. Cupcakes, which are regularly priced at $3.50 inside the shop, are priced at $4 at the ATM. I didn’t mind the surcharge on my inaugural visit, but would likely feel the pinch on subsequent visits and head for the shop instead.

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