Friday, November 12, 2004
hirozen, mon amour
the restaurant i miss the most when i'm not in la is hirozen gourmet, my favourite japanese restaurant. tucked in an unassuming strip mall on beverly and orlando, it is between a store that only sells lightbulbs and a budget barber. i love it so much i cannot even talk about it. it's good. trust me.
this is my routine: i take a seat at one of the ten seats at the tiny sushi bar, if possible. if not, then one of the ten tiny, white-linened tables. make my greetings, salutations to the waitresses, busboys, chef. politely refuse any libations besides water. what would i like? sushi, please. omakase, i say. chef's selection. a troubled look always enters chef's eyes. anything? he always exclaims. anything is always confirmed. slowly he nods. hush now. he's thinking.
tonight it comes in a rush: toro, aoyagi, kampachi, sayori, hamachi with shiso and sea salt--fatty tuna belly, clam, young yellowtail, needlefish, young yellowtail with perilla leaves, lemon juice and sea salt (no soy sauce for this, please).
suzuki, iwashi, shiro maguro, scottish salmon. grilled sea bass with fresh jalapeño salt, sardine, white tuna, and a special of the day: salmon flown in just that morning.
next, not for the timid: aji, or horse mackerel, marinated in vinegar, and fresh oyster. it taste like the sea, which sometimes isn't a good thing, but in this case i was hooked.
finally, unagi and shiitake mushroom with jalapeño salt. both substantial, juicy and naturally sweet, the eel broiled to perfection, the mushroom fresh and clean.
there should have been more--he was surprised by the decision to stop--but there was a time constraint. *sigh*. next time, i won't rush the master.
there are other--amazing--items on the menu. i've had fois gras with banana, grilled ostrich, conch, and more standard fare, and everything has been exceptional. the food is always so good, the staff is so nice, and something odd invariably happens that makes my meals at hirozen seem more like adventures--andy dick staring at my cousin for half an hour while he ate; a woman sitting next to me trying everything i did and hating everything; chef contemplating giving me something created from his lunch (a ham and cheese hoagie); chef rummaging through the deep-freezer, scraping off the ice from a mysterious package, and then serving it (it was good).
hirozen, like india's grill, is also in charge of another restaurant's menu. they oversee the sushi menu at the hot celebreteria white lotus in hollywood. i imagine it's good. i wouldn't know. that's alright. i'll stick to the tried and true.
8385 beverly blvd
los angeles 90048