Sushi Murasaki (Santa Ana, CA)

Sushi Murasaki
2901 W MacArthur Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Dining date: 2/18/17

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I really enjoy the Orange County sushi scene, especially when comparing the price point to comparable sushi in Los Angeles. I haven’t tried too many places in the area (I really enjoy Ohshima in Orange), but a friend recommending trying this spot in Santa Ana. Sushi Murasaki has been one of the highly regarded sushi spots in the area for the past decade.

We took a seat at the omakase-only counter for a procession of sushi.

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The Ponte (Los Angeles, CA)

The Ponte
8265 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Dining date: 2/25/17

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The Ponte marks Scott Conant’s return to the Los Angeles dining scene after Scarpetta’s closure last year. Partnering up with LA restaurateur Stephane Bombet, The Ponte is a different concept from Scarpetta although there are a lot of familiar dishes. The famous spaghetti is here, as well as a take on the Scarpetta truffled mushroom polenta and tuna/yellowtail tartare. Ex-Scarpetta and Georgie chef Freddy Vargas has returned here to lead the kitchen.

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Alexander’s Steakhouse (Pasadena, CA) [2]

Alexander’s Steakhouse
111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
Dining date: 1/27/17

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I’ve been to Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco and Pasadena a few times and have had a few good meals here. This latest visit was prompted by DineLA restaurant week, in which the restaurant was offering six courses for $115. One of those courses, the steak course, offered an option of an 18oz dry aged New York strip or 3oz of Kagoshima wagyu. This tasting menu provided quite a bit of value (compared to regular pricing) and an opportunity to try a little bit more of the menu here.

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Shunji (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Shunji Japanese Cuisine
12244 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 1/21/17

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Shunji Nakao’s eponymous restaurant has been a sushi staple on the west side since opening in 2012. Nakao has been at the forefront of sushi in Los Angeles for decades since being one of the opening chefs of Matsuhisa. After Matsuhisa, Nakao has also been chef at notable restaurants Asanebo and The Hump.

I’ve been to Shunji once, for lunch, and had an enjoyable meal (it was a great value too). I was excited to come in for dinner and try a little more. We went with a sushi omakase, adding a few cooked dishes to begin with.

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Bateau (Seattle, WA)

Bateau
1040 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122
Dining date: 1/2/17

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Bateau is chef Renee Erickson’s first restaurant foray out of seafood. Erickson has made a name for herself by serving sea creatures (The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, General Porpoise), but this restaurant is something a little different – a steakhouse.

Beef is aged on-site in a huge meat locker in full display. Right next to it is the day’s sections broken down into farm, cut, and portion. Everything is of limited supply; as they’re ordered, items are crossed off the chalkboard. This day’s beef selections were from three different farms, all grass-fed, aged 21-35 days. La Ferme des Anes is Erickson’s own farm.

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Stateside (Seattle, WA)

Stateside
300 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Dining date: 1/1/17

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Opened in 2004, Stateside has been popular for its modern Vietnamese cuisine on Capitol Hill. My brother’s been here before, and helped us select this spot for its Vietnamese-inspired brunch. It was one of the few restaurants open on New Years Day, making this my first meal of 2017.

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