5 Haruki Murakami Titles That Would Make Great Restaurants

5 Haruki Murakami Titles That Would Make Great Restaurants
Random House

Even if you're not a student of linguistics or etymology, the topic of naming things is kind of fascinating. Your kids. Other people's kids. College bowl games. And, of course, restaurants.

You can name your restaurant after yourself, which, although unimaginative, makes both remembering it and googling it a lot easier. You can name it after a farm animal, which seems almost required if it's a gastropub or you're an English celebrity. But the recent and long-awaited opening of David Myers' Hinoki & the Bird in Century City, a name which could appear a) whimsical, b) perplexing, or c) truly silly, seemed to some of us more like the title of a Haruki Murakami novel than any of the above.

Which got us thinking -- see: the transitive principle of ridiculous things -- about actual Murakami titles that would indeed make great restaurant names, and, for that matter, dining concepts. Turn the page for five of them, listed in order of book publication.

5. A Wild Sheep Chase:

A pop-up farm-to-table restaurant, quite literally, in which the chef sets up his movable feast in a field adjacent to the sheep in question. OK, so maybe it's now a table-to-farm restaurant. Whatever. Whole animal butchery (an on-site demo, extra charge, with wine pairings) is followed by a quick set-up in the mobile kitchen. Lamb tagine. Lamb bolognese. Salted mutton shoulder. Lamb-liver paté. Sure, all those things take a long time to make, but this is Slow Food at its finest. Tents and lanterns available for a surcharge.

4. Norwegian Wood:

A 4-seat temple of Nordic cuisine, with dishes featuring ash, pine espuma, spruce-infused cocktails and foraged greenery. Located in a former espresso stand, the restaurant takes neither reservations nor telephone inquiries. The menu is categorized by tree, printed in beet juice-infused sap on paper made from pressed wood sorrel, and is in both Norwegian and Latin. Open on alternating Tuesdays during the months of March and April, or when the chefs return from stages at Noma or algae-pulls with the Nordic Food Lab.

3. South of the Border, West of the Sun:

A Oaxacan-influenced ramen shop. Sure, mole might not sound like the first thing you'd want to put into a bowl of tonkotsu ramen, but once kimchi tacos sounded pretty stupid too. Options include 28 kinds of mole, to be paired with miso, shōyu, shio or tonkotsu broth, and page after page of various toppings. Choose the temperature at which you'd like your egg cooked, and for how long. Griddle your own tortillas. (Immersion circulators and comals on every table.)


2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle:

A rotisserie chicken joint where you can order on iPads at the restaurant, via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, iPhone or Android app from your car or office or via Snapchat so nobody has proof that you're ditching school again. Once cooked, the whole Jidori chickens are taken off the rotisserie by robots and put onto a revolving belt that circles the tables and from which customers can grab their dinner. (The location was previously a questionable sushi restaurant.)

1. 1Q84:

A gastropub with bone-crunchingly loud acoustics, a playlist that shuffles between Purple Rain and Thriller, and a staff that dresses in suspenders and fedoras in blissful disregard of both taste and era. Press releases emphasize that because the high-ceilinged loft space was once a bank, on weekend nights there is bottle service in the vault. Three identical (sort of) locations.

And in somewhat related news:

- Hinoki & The Bird Opens Tonight: David Myers' New Century City Restaurant

- Fat Cow? Fat Chance. Gordon Ramsay's New Grove Restaurant Disappoints

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Hinoki & the Bird

10 W. Century Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90067



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