As P.R dinners continue to flow in steadily into my inbox, I gain an even stronger motivation to take my writing even more seriously than I do now. I don't know about other bloggers but these sort of things are what keeps The Glutster going strong, especially since I wish to somehow do this for a living in the someday. I still think its pretty freaking awesome to get invited to cover these sort of events. Not to mention, I wouldn't nearly have the amount of resources necessary to experience these kind of foods otherwise at the moment...
As is the pricey case usually with Sushi. Where I would of normally only been able to get only the cheapy-est of rolls with a side of rice to fill up, I was able to sample a good chunk of tasty offerings, thanks to being offered the chance of covering the popular Kabuki Restaurant. For the set dinner, their Hollywood location was chosen.
(photo courtesy of press kit)
Just Walking By: Façade
I would always walk by this place as I got off the metro to catch the Sunset Bus down to the Sunset Strip, the only place classic L.A Hardcore Bands bands play nowadays, those were a splurge enough already though, so I never really had a chance to eat nearby.
I was excited a little more than usually for this dinner though, given that I'm finally twenty one and knowing that it was home to the only Master Sake Sommelier in North America, Yuji Matsumoto. Back in 1997, he was one of the founders of The California Sushi Academy.
(photo courtesy of press kit)
Yuji Matsumoto: Sake Is A Way Of Life
Walking in, instead of being greeted with the blaring but warm traditional sushi bar Japanese welcome of irashaimase! You are greeted with trendy-listening, top 40 stuff mostly. If not indifferent, then annoying to me but a plus for mainstream music people I suppose. Tables are filled with easygoing sets of couples, girlfriends gathering to catch up, for a rainy Wednesday afternoon, its pretty cracking. All probably getting a bite before hitting the Hollywood scene.
(Photo courtesy of press kit)
Comfy But Loungy
Our welcoming cocktail was a Fuji Apple Saketini. A pretty clever concept actually. It was clear in color, thin in texture with an ever-subtle taste of biting into a Fuji apple in the peak of Fall. A definite upgrade from the fluorescent Green Apple Puckers I grew up with.
Balanced: Fuji Apple Saketini ($7.95)
Soon after, we were given a sampling of some their brand new menu items that will make it into the regular menu in a couple of months.
Tuna Poke: Black Sesame, Avocado, Seaweed
At $7.95, it was quite a generous portion. Tuna quality is usually not the point in these style of dressed dishes, wasn’t too bad here.
Yellowtail Sashimi w/ Jalapeño: Their Take On The Nobu Classic
The thin slices held a slightly fishier taste than I expected, not sure if it was supposed to be like that but I guess that’s what the spicy sauce was there for?
At this point we were served our first sipping Sake of the night.
Kikusui ("Chrysanthemum Water"): $7.50 A Glass
Subtle and soft, this Sake was almost as soft as water, had a slightly vegetal taste, the nose was very elegant hinting of grass.
It always gives me a kick whenever I see rolls on the menu with zany names, only to find out that really only means its going to be some sort of a concoction involving cream cheese or deep frying it. Tonight they were unveiling some of their new rolls soon to be put on the regular menu:
Vegas Roll: Cream Cheese, Surimi, Salmon, All Deep Fried
I can totally see where the name came from; I would totally dig this if I were drunk as hell with a serious case of the beer munchies, otherwise…kind of excessive.
Lasagna Roll: Surimi, Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Baked
I didn’t know what to think when this landed on the table, looking like some sort of creature that was stopped dead in its tracks with a layer of molten, golden brown cheese. I would of liked this ten years ago in my “Lasagna-Is-My-Favorite-Food-Phase”. But now, with purist values instilled deep in, it just looked like something a stoner would dream up in the peak of their high. I did enjoy my ONE piece though.
Baja Roll: Surimi, Pico de Gallo
The only roll that didn’t involve cream cheese actually and a favorite, everyone agreed “why haven’t we had something like this before?”. I remember eating some tasty fusion sushi in Mexico City not too long ago, where they would do these same type of rolls but with a Chipotle Japanese Mayo and grilled, adobo spiced onions, these were in the same realm as those. I just wish the sushi rice was a tad less sweeter, got kind of cloying after a couple of chopstick-full’s.
It was pretty awesome to hear the words “you may now order anything from the regular menu” right after this half baked-nouveau roll assault...
Ginjo Mizbasho ("Water Lily"): $6.95 A Glass
The second sipping Sake was a medium acidity Ginjo Mizbasho, a little bit more viscous with more of a zing, just enough to go well with the umami factor of the food though.
Lobster Dynamite: $10.95
Nothing better--I think--than a heaping platter of soft, lobster chunks baked with the lipid intensive white stuff known as Mayonnaise, Japanese kind of course (a little sweeter).
Toro Sushi: $9.95
I think everyone in the table at least got one order of this ethereal cut of fatty fish, buttery and melting at your tongue, I was saving my two pieces for a savory dessert. Although I ended up eating like five pieces by the end of the night because everyone had gotten trigger-happy and full real quick, not to say I didn’t get trigger happy as well though.
Sake & Soy Chilean Sea Bass w/ Sauteed Asparagus and Chili Sesame Sauce: ($17.95)
Yes, I know, I know. I’m evil, I got the Chilean Sea Bass. I used to carry around the sustainable seafood watch card in my wallet too, but I never really had it before so I rationalized under that. The order came with not one but TWO thick fillets of the fish, and it only continued with the decadence reign of buttery fish. That accompanying sauce was like a sweet demi-glace thickened with some sort of starch or something.
I ate many more things so by the time dessert came, I was ready for something refreshing.
Before then, a picture of the Award Winning Kids Meal!
Way Better Than IHOP!: Ha Ha
Full dessert menu privileges were also granted.
Thawed Coconut Sorbet Served In Shell: ($)
After gorging in rich after richer savories, this hit the spot with its fresh fruit qualities, shredded mature coconut was in every bite. A little too thawed for my liking, edges were watery but great nonetheless.
Green Tea Birthday Ice Cream: Awh...So Cute!
Not even a minute after someone uttered that I had just turned twenty one, the servers had rallied up and were singing Happy Birthday in the fastest of time signatures I had ever heard it in, I kind of preferred it actually, kind of punk rock sounding. I tried to record them in action but they were done by the time I turned on my camera.
Oh, how I love being a foodblogger in L.A.