Bar Hayama - dinner with fellow travbuddies!
Los Angeles Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Last night, a small group of us travbuddies (sybil, mel, tracy and me) had a delightful time trying out a new restaurant - Bar Hayama. Bar Hayama is a trendy sushi joint located in what used to be Sushi Sasabune (a highly respected, traditional sushi restaurant in LA that moved into larger digs a couple of years ago) at 1803 Sawtelle - and it is amazing what they have done with the previously nondescript space. The new restaurant is a modern, zen-like space with a gorgeous, dramatic fire pit located in a patio surrounded by shrubs to shield the patrons from the outside traffic and noise. The service is friendly and fun ... definitely lighter and less formal than Sasabune.
I arrived about an hour early (long boring story) so I sat at the bar and discovered the most yummy new sake - Hana Lychee, which is made right in Berkeley, CA! (Check out their website - http://www.
When Mel and Tracy arrived, we were promptly escorted over to the sushi bar before Chef Toshi - a jovial, skilled sushi chef who is the exact opposite of sushi nazis like Nozawa. We all had the "omakase" (chef's choice) and each dish was unique, incredibly fresh and flavorful. (As Chef Toshi carefully explained - don't say "omasaka" because that means "gay" .
- Crab mean over a bed of marinated cucumber slices - incredibly sweet, succulent and fresh - lovely way to open up your palate at the beginning of a meal
- A trio of (i) toro (tuna) on a mustard based sauce and boiled spinach - sweet and spicy, then tempered by the spinach, very interesting! (ii) few sweet pieces of roasted pumpkin (that Chef Toshi proudly explained was in honor of Halloween) and (iii) albacore sashimi with asparagus
- Hamachi (yellowtail sashimi) with shredded pumpkin ... and maybe bonito flakes in some sort of peanut-based sauce - like an explosion of flavors that somehow enhanced the freshness of the fish instead of overcoming it - very impressive
- tempura of crab or shrimp wrapped in shiso leaf in a light batter - very crisp, light and yummy
- spicy lobster roll - very fresh with a hidden bite of spice that creeps up on you
- toro sashimi - so red and fresh!
- crab cake - so sweet and light
- Unagi (broiled eel) - so delish - i think this was Mel's favorite!
- Desserts - tempura ice cream and chocolate souffle - sweet yumminess to end a great meal!
As we ate, each of us would take pictures of every single course.