Archive for us – la

Urasawa (Los Angeles, CA) – The Spoils of Winter

As vegetables go so goes the sea – there is a season for everything. January at Urasawa brings sperm sac and hairy crab for 10-14 days. It is easy to contort one’s face in a grimace over the former, and I may have reached my limits during this meal, but the latter is sheer joy in Urasawa’s hands – crab meat, eggs, internal organs, and uni – cooked over an habachi. KevinEats says it best – “it’s the pure essence of crab.” Dinner is always special at Urasawa but dropping in during opportune times can lead to more exotic fare than usual.

Two months removed from Tokyo, this was my first sushi, not pictured, on American soil since the trip.1 It was comparable to the better sushi in Japan, falling just a notch below Sushiso Masa. The rice seemed warmer than usual2, to the point that it sometimes warmed the fish. It is also clear that a full ten person bar might be too much for Hiro to handle, as sushi and dishes come at an uneven pace – six or eight has been a perfect-sized crowd in the past.

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Urasawa (LA) – Spring is in the Air

Urasawa is a celebration of the season, sometimes down to the week or day. This Spring meal was possibly my best Urasawa meal yet – everything had a lightness, and brightness, to it; perfectly complementing the beautiful Los Angeles weather.

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Analyzing the food is nearly impossible. The meal, and its component dishes, are a system that can not be reduced to single elements – circular and inter-locking. The flavors are balanced, subtle, and fresh – despite some dishes approaching what could be a dangerous number of ingredients. Ingredients pop up in one dish as a primary flavor, recede to the background, and re-surface seven to ten dishes later as supporting cast. The meal is a journey with complex patterns.

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Providence (LA) – Science and the Sea

Providence walks a fine, but assured, line between molecular gastronomy techniques and simple, tasteful preparations. Dishes range from a Pierre Gagnaire-ish trout belly with many textures to simply grilled prawns with flowers. The meal itself dashes in and out, from one form to the next, in search of the best preparation for the ingredient at hand. Ingredient quality matters and it is always allowed to shine through.

Rather than leave LA at 2pm to avoid the traffic; I thought why not avoid the traffic by catching a good meal first. It sounded crazy, driving back to SF during the middle of the night, but my friend Oren turned me on to an incredible route for the trip home. Instead of racing up I5 on a literal midnight run, I stayed outside of Ventura, and made the exciting trek home the next day. The Porsche was as happy as I was with this meal.

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Random Tidbits

Here are some quick reviews of various meals I’ve had over the last few months. I was not in blogging mode for any of the visits; thus, the short reviews. The list is roughly in order of enjoyment.

Pizzeria Mozza (LA) – I was in LA for less than 24 hours but I managed to convince my pho-loving-ten-dollars-is-enough-for-food friends that, yes, this upscale pizza place might be worth it. It probably didn’t hurt that Mario Batali’s name was attached to it. And what pizzas they were! The crust was crunchy and doughy, full of flavor. However, it was the red sauce in the prosciutto pizza that told me I needed to return – amazing stuff – used all too sparingly.

Tailor (NYC) – The opening reviews slammed the place but I found them hard to believe. Sam Mason could do no wrong at WD-50; Read the rest of this entry »

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Go’s Mart (Canoga Park, CA) – Secret Suburbia Sushi

El Camino Real, stretching across Silicon Valley, is a seemingly endless road that connects one anonymous town to another; with identical strip malls, chain restaurants, and traffic lights every block. But Sherman’s Way, the road to Go’s Mart in Canoga Park, is the same international pastiche of stores and businesses, accelerated 20 years. It’s the horror portrayed in Blade Runner, Snow Crash, and Neuromancer – a future more Brave New World than 1984 – where consumerism runs rampant. Every block advertises tacos, thai, chinese, and sushi – how is anyone to know the wonders that lie behind the back-lit “Sushi” sign at 22330 C-12 Sherman Way?

Go's Mart (Canoga Park) - Shrimp sushi with white truffle
Shrimp sushi with Uni and white truffle

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