ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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November 2019

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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Dining!

FIA RESTAURANT

Fia’s Hamachi (Photo Paige Petrone)

FIA RESTAURANT

  • By SPARK O’CONNELL
  • Photo By PAIGE PETRONE

Fia Restaurant, located on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, is an unexpected gem. From the creative mind of Chef Brendan Collins who also brought us Birch & Waterloo and City, it’s no wonder this beautiful new establishment not only excites your taste buds but takes you out of LA straight to a little courtyard somewhere in a European village where your cares fly away and all you have to do is enjoy yourself with close friends and amazing food.

With a wide range of cuisine from which to choose it’s easy to see the knowledge, care, and love that goes into each dish. For instance, the Hamachi, Leche de Tigre, Basil, Radish dish was so bright, refreshing, and full of flavor I could have just eaten it all night. The pasta is made in-house so be sure to save room so you can try at least two kinds (if not more!) — especially the Cavatelli, Black Truffle, Parmesan, and Brown Butter. Simple and elegant, this will definitely be the showstopper of the evening and everyone at the table will want a bite.

Along with the food and atmosphere, the staff is kind, attentive and informative about all the special ingredients that go into the dishes and cocktails. They also have beautiful exclusive areas for private dining or special events. Next time you are in the area make sure to get a reservation at Fia!

Fia Restaurant is located at 2454 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

NOBU MALIBU

Nobu Malibu’s Fluke Sashimi (Photo Paige Petrone)

NOBU MALIBU

  • Story / Photo By PAIGE PETRONE

Looking for someplace fun to celebrate your birthday?! Go to Nobu Malibu. It’s a really special experience and you might just see a Kardashian! Yes, Nobu is on the map as an official hot spot because of its clientele, but the food is the real star. It’s Japanese cuisine at its finest.

We began with their signature Fluke Sashimi with Dry Miso and Yuzu appetizer (see photo on left!). This was to die for and a must-try. The fluke melted in our mouths. Nobu Style Sashimi Tacos were up next. I could have eaten 10 of these. Mini (very mini) crispy tacos filled with tuna tartare — we also tried them with Ribeye. Yum! The Crispy Shitake Salad was deceiving … it felt like you were eating bacon bits but it was just well-seasoned crispy mushrooms making it so scrumptious. We also nibbled on Baked Crab and Spicy Tuna Rolls while sipping on their popular Lychee & Elderflower Martinis (Spring 44 Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and Lychee). I think Nobu’s classic King Crab Tempura with Amazu (special blend of rice flour) takes the prize for best dish. Really delicious with big luscious pieces of king crab inside the lightest, crispiest crust. Another winner!

Clearly, Chef Nobu (Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa) knows what he is doing. The restaurant has several locations in the United States and all over the world, and Malibu is spectacular. Go!

Nobu Malibu is located at 22706 CA-1. Click here for locations and menus.

Hippo

Hippo Restaurant’s Dining Room

Hippo

  • By Kymberly Chase

Hippo is run by Matt Molino, a James Beard Award-winner who previously cooked at Osteria Mozza, so I had to get myself there. Now I will be a regular!

Located in a 1920s-era space with a fabulous exposed bow-truss ceiling, Hippo is at the heart of an uber-hip complex. The vibe is Highland Park casual with an indoor-outdoor feel but the informality certainly doesn’t mean the standards are lax in the kitchen! Molina is serious about his Italian cooking — flavors are deep and rich, ingredients are primo, and each dish is executed with care.

This place is best known for its pasta, most of it made in-house, and the ragu is dark and densely flavorful with duck or pork. I knew the pastas would be good but I was delighted by the quality of the other dishes. I could happily eat the shaved brussels sprouts with almonds, mint, lemon, and Parnigiana-reggiano every day for the rest of my life — it’s the perfect balance of savory and citrus. An earthier dish that is outstanding is the griddled cauliflower with walnut-raisin caper relish. Finally, with the small amount of room I had left in my stomach, I indulged in the chocolate-espresso pot de creme with sea salt. Heaven on earth!

Hippo is located at 5916 ½ N Figueroa Street in Los Angeles.

OJI SUSHI & SAKE BAR

OJI SUSHI & SAKE BAR

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photos By Paige Petrone

I love my sushi so I was thrilled to discover OJI Sushi and Saki bar in Pasadena on Colorado, just a short walk to the Pasadena Playhouse. Owner and chef extraordinaire Nick Kim really knows how to please.  His restaurant truly elevates the sushi experience starting with the freshest selection of fish. He told me he imports many of his unusual varieties from the famous Tsukiji Market in Japan.

The menu offers a wide selection from classic and modern sushi to their outlandish premium rolls. My favorites: Angrytail (Yellowtail, spicy tuna, jalapeño), Hot Night (spicy scallop + tuna, crunch onions) and Snow White (baked tilapia, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber).  Don’t let the fun names fool you, this is serious sushi.  I tried the Roe Bowl (assorted fish eggs with uni) – different and delicious.

I was wowed by the presentations of the rolls, bowls and dishes – so different, so beautiful – like works of art. I almost didn’t want to eat the dishes, but I am glad I did as they tasted even better than they looked! For those adventurous eaters, go for the Omakase – and let the chef chose his favorites.  Trust me you won’t be disappointed.  Our server helped us navigate our saki selections for the perfect pairings. OJI Sushi and Saki Bar offers some of the city’s finest sushi in a casual, relaxed setting.

Oji Sushi and Sake Bar is located at 624 E Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.

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