S. Irene Virbila makes her monthly pilgrimage to Orange County, this time coming across Izakaya Zero from chef Takashi Abe, co-owner of Newport's Bluefin and "one of O.C.'s best chefs." Abe and partners took over the former Red Pearl Kitchen in Huntington Beach space for their take on a Japanese pub. The bustle, the vibe, she likes the whole affair, and doles it out in typical straightforward fashion:
It's sociable and fun sitting at a booth here, nibbling on this and that. It takes only one or two dishes to realize that at Izakaya Zero, Abe has elevated izakaya with very clean flavors and top-notch ingredients. He's definitely taking it up a step in terms of style and setting as well as food. His cooking is polished and precise. And it's not just the cooked dishes: The sashimi is on a level with the best sushi restaurants, which in his case would be Bluefin.Zero gets two stars, surprisingly on par with Grace, Josie, Orris and Nobu. Today the "S." stands for "self-explanatory." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE in the Blogosphere: An Urasawa newbie relishes every single bite, with excellent photographic evidence; Pho Saigon isn't the best, but works in a pinch; dim sum at Ocean Seafood; and DineLA stops at All' Angelo, Napa Valley Grille, Circa 55, and Simon LA.