11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 5/29/17
This was my second time to Mori; my first visit was over six years ago. The restaurant appears to still be going strong after all these years, although it’s certainly changed. Chef Mori Onodera, who earned a Michelin star for his namesake restaurant, is long gone. He sold the restaurant in 2011 to a longtime employee, but the restaurant still carries his name.
A few different menus are available. A nigiri omakase runs $110 while an omakase featuring some small plates/appetizers runs $140. Coming here primarily for sushi, we opted for the base nigiri omakase.
1124 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 5/21/17
Rossoblu opened last month, Steve Samson’s second restaurant after opening Sotto six years ago. Like Sotto, Rossoblu is serving Italian cuisine but the menu and style is a bit different. For example, much was made about Sotto’s pizza oven (imported from Italy brick-by-brick) and the pizzas have been a cornerstone on Sotto’s menu. However, there there are no pizzas here. There are pastas are on the menu though, accompanied by a number of small plate antipasti and large format protein-heavy dishes.
Rossoblu’s space is beautiful with an open kitchen and huge windows bringing in plenty of natural light. On this evening, the doors were wide open letting in a slight breeze (although it was still way too hot and stuffy inside). Rossoblu is one of the first businesses to open in downtown’s City Market South development, which is also slated to house a location of San Francisco’s popular Slanted Door.
3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Dining date: 5/13/17
It’s been over five years since I’ve been to Lukshon, Sang Yoon’s modernized Asian concept a few doors down from his ever-popular Father’s Office. Lukshon seems to still be doing well (it was just about full on this Saturday night), and I was able to grab a spot at the communal table for dinner on the way home from the airport. The menu here is small plates-based, featuring a wide variety of foods from across Southeast Asia.
Orsa & Winston
122 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 4/15/17
It’s been some time since I’ve been to Orsa & Winston. This was my third visit here and it seems like the restaurant hasn’t changed too much. The food is still very much Italian and Japanese-influenced, although the menu does appear to feature vegetables more prominently. This isn’t surprising, reflective of chef Jose Centeno’s latest desire to cook/eat (his latest concept, P.Y.T., is almost vegetarian).
$85 buys six courses here with a couple of optional supplements that change often. Some of the ‘extras’ – an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert, and mignardises kind of makes it feel like a nine courser before supplements. If that’s still not enough, there’s still a 20-course super omakase is still available at the bar with advance reservation.
On this evening we opted for the regular tasting menu, adding both supplements.
Cento Pasta Bar
128 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining dates: 2/4/17, 3/4/17, 4/1/17, 4/8/17
Cento Pasta Bar is a recurring pop-up restaurant in downtown’s Mignon space. At night, this is a French wine bar serving French small plates and wines, but during the day it’s a pasta bar (Wed-Sat). The menu is very focused; typically there’s a couple of appetizers and about three pastas on offer. The pasta offerings change weekly, though can change even daily depending on what the chef comes up with. Prices are very reasonable – pastas are in the $12-$18 range.
I’ve stopped in a number of times to try what’s cooking. Just about every seat at the restaurant is at the counter surrounding all the cooking. It’s great to be able to see the pastas come together right in front of you and be able to interact with the chef.
2901 W MacArthur Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Dining date: 2/18/17
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.