8385 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Dining date: 12/13/18
Naruki Matsumoto was the longtime chef of Hirozen which served sushi on this mid-city corner for two decades. In 2016 the ownership of the restaurant changed hands to Matsumoto, who renamed the restaurant. The restaurant is small with just a few tables and a sushi bar seating about ten.
We went with a sushi omakase offering.
3799 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 12/1/17
I’ve been to Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas a number of times over the years, but my last visit was all the way back in 2011. I was in Los Vegas for the weekend thanks to a spontaneous trip, and was able to squeeze in a late Friday night reservation here.
The restaurant still serves an extravagant, marathon degustation tasting menu ($445, 16+ courses) but does offer more abbreviated menus with selections for each course. We went with the third of four tiers available, six courses (plus extras) priced at $198 before supplements.
The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dining date: 11/25/17
The Slanted Door has been a staple in San Francisco for many years now. The restaurant still serves up some of the best bay views in the city, as well as reliably good high-end Vietnamese fare. My family and I have visited many times and stopped in for lunch over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Dining date: 11/24/17
Lazy Bear is one of San Francisco’s most unique dining experiences. The restaurant began as an underground supper club in chef David Barzelay’s home; it was wildly successful and became one of the toughest seats in town. The success led to this brick-and-mortar location in 2014. Two Michelin stars later, the restaurant is still going strong.
The evening begins with cocktail hour on the second floor mezzanine. Guests are invited to mingle, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy a few small bites. After cocktail hour, dinner shifts downstairs where there are two large 40-seat communal tables. An open kitchen anchors one end of the tables, providing a close look at the food as it’s being prepared.
We managed to get tickets here for the day after Thanksgiving.
Carrer de Mallorca, 259
08008 Barcelona, Spain
Dining date: 9/29/17
Lasarte is currently the only restaurant in Barcelona to hold three Michelin stars; it was upgraded from two to three in the 2017 version of the guide. This is the second three-star restaurant for Martin Berasategui after his eponymous restaurant outside of San Sebastián. Berasategui holds 8 total Michelin stars, the most of any Spanish chef, for his takes on modern Spanish cuisine. I didn’t get a chance to try his restaurant while in San Sebastian but had an opportunity to dine here for a lunch.
The restaurant offers two tasting menu options (185€ and 210€) but we went with a la carte for this meal.
Calle de Getaria kalea, 15
20005 Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain
Dining date: 9/27/17
Ibai wasn’t initially on my radar while researching potential restaurants in San Sebastián. It’s not in the Michelin guide and isn’t highly ranked on either Yelp or TripAdvisor. However, I stumbled across it on a few food blogs that gave rave reviews of the restaurants’ simple, homey cooking with warnings of how difficult a reservation is to attain.
The restaurant is small, fitting only 5-6 tables, and is only open weekdays for one lunch seating. That is it; the restaurant is not open for dinner, nor on weekends. To complicate matters, the restaurant would not accept reservations from abroad so we had to make the reservation once we were in town. On our first day in San Sebastián, we walked in that afternoon to seek out a reservation. To our surprise, there was a table available the next day, so we were all set.