Hinoki & the Bird is all the buzz on the westside of Los Angeles. The restaurant opened just five weeks ago and the place is packed with food lovers and chefs alike. David Myers is the founder and overseeing the executive chef, Kuniko Yagi, who was executive chef at Chef Myers other Los Angeles restaurant Comme Ca. Chef Yagi just won top chef Seattle and comes with an extensive background in Japanese cuisine.
The decor is dark with wood tables and bar upon entry. The patio is the largest dining area and on a cold Los Angeles night it was freezing outside. Refreshingly enough you can watch Chef Myers and Yagi working their magic with the other cooks in the kitchen. The cocktail menu is full of fresh fruit inspirations and we sipped on the bourbon mojito that was not too sweet but perfectly herbaceous.
The menu is quite extensive with unique Japanese touches to everything. It begins with a raw bar section that includes fresh oysters with pear minonette, beef tartare and raw scallops with fresh grapefruit.
Next, the fun bites included fried oysters, crab or pumpkin toasts and salt & pepper calamari just to name a few. We sampled on the calamari and found the crust nicely crunchy but, lacked salt and pepper flavor. Inspirations were next, which included a Lobster Roll with a charcoal brioche bun. The lobster meat was sweet and tender and the sauce was delicate unlike alot of rolls which are swimming in mayo. I found the bun fascinating, being a pastry chef, and I would love to try and duplicate it. My only complaint would be the size…muy poquito! A little small for $18.
The Grill area of the menu included meat and fish selections. The skirt steak marinated with miso had excellent flavor, again the portion was a little small. I enjoyed the roasted mushrooms alongside the meat as a vegetable side.
For dessert we had a scoop of matcha tea and toasted coconut ice creams. The matcha tea was a little too strong but, interesting. Overall, Hinoki & the Bird is a hit with the crowd, I am glad David Myers is back in the Los Angeles food scene and I hope he has another fine dining option up his sleeve.
Hinoki & the Bird
10 W. Century Drive, Century City, CA