319 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 2/13/16
Little Tokyo’s Simbal opened in April and it’s been on my radar ever since. Reviews have been a little mixed so far, but it was time to give the restaurant a try. The food is described as a modern, refined take on southeast Asian with a variety of small plates all meant to be shared.
The restaurant is a lot larger than I expected, centered around an open kitchen surrounded by front-row seats at the counter. We lucked out and got a couple of seats in the middle of the action.
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 11/23/14 and 1/30/16
Kinjiro opened at the end of 2014, replacing the meat-centric b.o.s. concept. I was sad to see b.o.s. go, though Kinjiro has been a strong follow-up effort with a little more comforting and familiar fare. Situated right next door to the ever-popular Sushi Gen, the restaurant has garnered a following of its own for its take on a Japanese izakaya. There is no sushi here, though the menu is pretty varied from raw dishes to steamed, fried, grilled, noodles and more. A large selection of sake is on hand to consume with the food, as well as a small but well-curated beer and wine list.
I’ve dined at Kinjiro a number of times since opening, but this post captures just a couple of those meals.
521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 1/9/16
This was my third time dining at Q. I visited twice when the restaurant opened in 2014 but didn’t get a chance in 2015. Both of my first two meals were great and I was looking forward to seeing if this third meal would still live up to expectations. Pricing for a meal here is still the same at around $165 for the omakase-only meal.
I had a bottle of champagne from a prior birthday, waiting for the right moment to open it. Pairing the champagne with a sushi omakase seemed like an ideal time to drink it.
The Arthur J
903 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Dining date: 1/24/16
The Arthur J is the latest restaurant from chef David LeFevre, who has opened quite the portfolio of concepts in Manhattan Beach. His first two restaurants, M.B. Post and Fishing with Dynamite, have both been big successes – this newest one is a steakhouse.
I stopped in during dineLA restaurant week. The Arthur J offered two appetizers, a steak, a topping, a sauce/butter, a side, and a dessert for $95pp. The options for each course looked pretty great, so it was an opportune time to try the place out.
Juniper & Ivy
2228 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Dining date: 1/1/16
I’ve been following Richard Blais since seeing him on the fourth season of Top Chef. Given he was based in Atlanta, I figured I wasn’t going to be able to try his food anytime soon. Lo and behold, he moved to San Diego and opened this restaurant in 2014 – Juniper & Ivy. The restaurant’s been highly acclaimed since opening and has been atop my list of restaurants to try in SD. I was finally able to try the restaurant during a quick weekend trip on the first of the year.
I lucked out and got seats at the kitchen counter. Seated right in front of the dessert station and cold appetizers, I had a front row view of the action.
665 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/27/15
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.