When CAA (the most prestigious talent agency in Los Angeles, and therefore the world) announced their new “culinary” division, we secretly wanted to send a job application for one single reason: to be able to spend every lunch and dinner at the next-door restaurant Hinoki & the bird. You enter through a large door that opens to an even larger room (nicknamed “Bond-villain lair” by Jonathan Gold) overlooking a buzzy open kitchen. When booking your table, remember to ask for a table on the patio, which was decorated with reclaimed wood by Studio MAI. This is where you will most enjoy sharing Japanese and/or Californian small plates: lobster roll in a black charcoal bun, perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts (the best in town yet, because the crunchiness of its raw core balances the crispiness of its charred leaves), a burrata-kabocha toast with miso sauce, or a black cod that smells like hinoki, the Japanese cedar tree. Hinoki is also the name of a German Shepherd that belongs to Kuniko Yagi, the chef chosen by David Myers (ex Sona) when he opened the place. Time has passed and teams have changed, but the spirit remains untouched: the new chef Brandon Kida was born in Los Angeles to a Japanese-American father and fourth-generation Japanese mother. The talented chef, whose lineage describes the menu better than anyone else, decided to set himself a weekly challenge: ICHIBA. Every Wednesday morning, chef Brandon visits the famous Santa Monica Farmers Market and picks his favorite ingredients. Then, he only has a few hours to improvise a five-course tasting menu, paying tribute to the seasonal fruits and vegetables. His Ichiba menu (the word means “market” in Japanese) is a perfect example of the “farm-to-table” movement — almost literally.
Where? 10 W Century Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90067
When? Monday 11:30AM-2PM, Tuesday-Friday 11:30AM-2PM and 6-10PM, Saturday 6-10PM
How? (310) 552-1200 or OpenTable
Style: Japanese / Californian
Price: Small plates $11-25, Entrées $21-38
Neighborhood: Century City
Best for: Power lunch, Dinner