an afternoon on the west coast

I feel like I was hit by a bus. Yesterday I flew to LA in the morning for a client meeting then took the red-eye home. The body is not meant to travel in and out to California in one day and tonight can’t come fast enough. I have coworkers that do this all the time and have no idea how they seem to function perfectly the next day. I really can’t complain though, because I did get to enjoy sunny Santa Monica (Third Street Promenade) for a few hours and a fabulous dinner at Matsuhisa.

Matsuhisa is basically the original Nobu in Beverly Hills, started by Nobu Matsuhisa many years ago. My one coworker, a true foodie, has dined there several times and was somehow able to get us in last night. On past visits, she said she’s seen Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Robert DeNiro and Macaulay Culkin. Yesterday, I was fully hoping to see a few stars and kept trying to look without looking like I was looking, but no luck. I thought I saw Mischa Barton in the bathroom and was pretty excited to go home with at least one celeb spotting, until we left and I realized it was actually the hostess.

If you’ve been to the Nobu in NYC, then you know it’s a truly stunning restaurant. This one, not so much. It’s old and a bit dingy. Some might even say a hole-in-the-wall. That just adds to its character and to the history of his very successful restaurants. The only thing that bothered me were the shadows painted on the wall. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye and get a little freaked out by it.

So while the decor definitely doesn’t mirror that of his other locations, the food does and was spot on Nobu perfection.

Since I was feeling a little under the weather, I passed on anything raw, which normally I would jump at. My coworker, however, try several raw goodies and seemed impressed with each bite. For everything else, we shared several plates, including the soft shell crab roll, signature black miso cod, shrimp in a spicy lemon sauce and sweet potato and broccoli tempura. For dessert, I tried mochi ice cream (coffee flavor) for the first time.

As usual, every bite was just as good as anything I’ve had at Nobu. The black cod with miso was perhaps my favorite and prepared exactly the way I’ve had it in the past. This dish is consistently good. My other favorite of the night was the soft shell crab roll. This was so enjoyable that we ordered another one after dinner. I also became a mochi fan last night, which is a small ball of ice cream wrapped in a Japanese rice cake, and can’t believe I’ve never had this before. The rice cake literally melts in your mouth. I really enjoyed the texture and was glad I saved just enough room to try it. Actually, since it’s so small, it does make for an ideal dessert.

Despite the insane travel, it was a nice day and a good meeting. Next time I’m out there though, I hope it’s for a bit longer. It seems like every time I’m in LA, it’s in/out. One of these trips I’d really like to explore the city. The last time I did that I was 15, and thankfully my tastes have improved since then.

9 Comments

  1. Russ
    Posted April 10, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I dunno, I haven’t seen any “unnamed Mischa Barton projects” in the works, so maybe she’s supplementing her OC pension.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy your restaurant reviews. While ice cream mochi is delicious, mochi itself refers to only the pounded rice that covers the ice cream. Traditionally mochi is placed in soups or filled with sweet beans. Incidentally, you can find ice cream mochi at Trader Joe’s.

  3. Hot Coffee Girl
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re right about the one-day thing…it gets easier though if you do it more often. Or maybe the body just gets used to hurting!

    But for good sushi…almost makes up for it!

  4. michelle v
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Russ: too funny! Maybe you’re on to something.

    Anonymous: Thanks for sharing. Now I want to try other things with Mochi.

    Kelly: I think the body can adjust, but you need to be under 25.

  5. mocmoc
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I was just going to say that you can get mochi ice cream at TJ’s but “anonymous” beat me to it. you can also get the same mochi ice cream at Tink Holl, the asian market on 36th street.

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