Did you hear? Lien Ta and Chef Jonathan Whitener, the former Animal chef de cuisine, are opening a restaurant. Woo! Here’s Looking at You is slated to debut later this spring in the former Whiz space in Koreatown. Los Angeles is in for a real treat.
In anticipation of their grand opening, Lien and Jonathan popped up at Chinatown’s Unit 120 back in January to give a sneak peek of their Japanese-Mexi-Cali concept. Priced at $75 per person, the family-style supper included three starters, two mains, and two desserts.
Dinner started with a cocktail—a cupful of the chef’s signature Mai Tai from the community punch bowl.
The trio of starters was quick to arrive. Pristine cuts of hamachi were given the Vietnamese treatment with tamarind, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), palm sugar, and hibiscus onion. Continue reading ‘Here’s Looking at You at Unit 120 – Los Angeles (Chinatown)’
At the pace I’m writing these days, I’ll be posting my 2015 “Year in Delicious” retrospective sometime in early spring. So it goes… Onward!
Following Chop Stick Nation, The Astronomer, June, and I drove to New York City for our first official family vacation. Traveling with June, 10 months old at the time, was pretty great because she was starting to take in her surroundings and appreciate little adventures, especially culinary ones.
For our first meal in the city, we headed to Ivan Ramen for a late lunch. Ivan Orkin, a self-described “Jewish kid from Long Island,” made a name for himself in Japan prior to opening two outlets in New York. We had the restaurant all to ourselves at this hour.
Before noodle slurping commenced, The Astronomer and I shared two starters. The L.E.S. Bun ($11) paid homage to the restaurant’s neighborhood (the Lower East Side), stuffing pastrami in between steamed buns with karashi mayo and a daikon slaw.
While the bun was plush and the pastrami well-seasoned, the mustard-infused mayo was sinus-clearingly potent and unfortunately dominated every bite. Continue reading ‘Ivan Ramen – New York City’
I try not to throw around the word “perfect” too often, but there’s no way around it when it comes to Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka. From food to service and ambiance, this place is as perfect as they come. There, I said it.
Chef Niki serves a 13-course “Modern Kaiseki” nightly ($185). The menu changes with the seasons, and with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.
Our meal began with Saki Zuke, “a pairing of something common and something unique,” grilled Japanese scallop with ikura (salmon eggs) and English pea soup. Continue reading ‘n/naka – Los Angeles’
I had the pleasure of dining with my mom at Q Sushi a few Fridays ago. She’s been taking care of June while The Astronomer and I are bringing home the bacon, so this meal was a small token of our gratitude. Bà Ngoại is the best!
Chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who ran a six-seat sushi bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi district prior to relocating to Los Angeles, serves a hyper-traditional, omakase-only sushi experience at Q. I am a total purist when it comes to sushi, so I knew that Q and I would get along swimmingly from the start.
Priced at $165 per person, the omakase typically begins with a slew of tsumami (small appetizers), followed by a perfectly orchestrated parade of sashimi and nigiri sushi courses. All in all, it’s a 2.5 hour feast comprised of 20 or so courses that passes by much too quickly.
Taking care of Mom and me this evening was Chef Rui. He seemed a bit chattier than Chef Hiro, which was a good thing, because I had plenty of questions up my sleeve (per usual).
Continue reading ‘Q Sushi – Los Angeles (Downtown)’