The buzz about chef David Myers' (Comme Ça) two month old Hinoki & the Bird has been low and slow. It's deep inside Century City — specifically, inside a residential tower — which has made it something of a destination restaurant.
The name sounds at once romantic and rock 'n' roll; it's unusual. And the menu reads like something a chef only like Myers (openly obsessed with Japanese culture; trained in French technique) would create. And now, in a new edition of Good News/Bad News, here's a look at what the critics, Yelpers, 'hounds and commenters across the internet are saying about Hinoki & the Bird.
The Opening Time Weirdness: "the strange thing about this place is that it opens at 5:30pm but doesn't start seating until 6pm. so there was a crowd of people waiting at the bar. maybe this is to entice us to spend money on drinks?" [Yelp]
The Skate Wing News: "Sambal skate wing seems to be everyone's favorite, as it's a beautiful and impressive preparation of the white fish and the sambal elevates the flavors." [Yelp]
The Modern Dining News: "This is a very modern restaurant, very much in the current LA Zeitgeist. It's a little reminiscent of Ink. The traditional sort of fine dining, ala Sona or even Melisse seems to be on the outs. " [All Things Andy Gavin]
The 5-Star News: "This restaurant makes me want to make all my other five star reviews into 4-star ones." [Yelp]
The Great News: "Great meal tonight and even better service! Very impressed!" [Facebook]
The Comparison to Sona: "Hinoki & The Bird has only been open a month, but it definitely shows potential. While I am not sure if I will ever love it as much as Sona, I think it is one definitely worth considering if you enjoy small plates restaurants." [Yelp]
The Not Too Compelling News: "All of it was very good, although I can't say that anything blew me away. My favorite dishes were the lobster roll (which is flavored with green curry and thai basil), kale salad, and the rice cream. I loved them while I was eating them, but I can't say that I'm compelled to return for more." [Chowhound]
The Beef Tartar News: "Yagi's beef tartar, quite simply, may very well have been the best I've ever had. I loved the Asian-y slant of the dish, with its supple, springy chunks of steak expertly highlighted by the use of Parmesan and quail egg, while the jalapeño added a spicy, piquant contrast that lingered just on and on. It was a perfect mélange of flavors, gorgeously set on some wonderfully crusty, toasty pieces of bread." [kevinEats]
The New York Times News: "The menu is all over the map, in the best possible way. A meal might open with oysters that capture a freshwater-saltwater convergence in the Chesapeake Bay; pay tribute to Morocco in a salad and Japan in a main course; and recall a tropical Vietnamese beach for dessert." [New York Times Magazine]
Jonathan Gold Talks Lobster Roll: "Half the new restaurants in Los Angeles are riffing on the New England lobster roll these days, but nobody's version is as surprising as Myers': lobster salad — a bit of citrus, a licoricey hint of Thai basil — tucked into rolls of a surpassing blackness, made with charcoal-enriched flour, which gives the sandwich a pleasant, mild grittiness." [Los Angeles Times]
About those "Fun Bites": "The "Fun Bites" portion of the menu has several sure winners... think of the Salt & Pepper Marinated Calamari ($13) with tomato jam... or Crispy Marinated Chicken ($14), with a lemon aioli, perhaps the best chicken morsels on the planet. Scallops ($16), Marinated Tuna ($16), Oyster from the raw bar ($18), all are enticing choices. I have a passion for Fried Oysters ($12), here served with a black garlic aioli, perhaps the best I have ever had." [Jay Weston]
·All Hinoki and the Bird Coverage [~ELA~]