If you've caught yourself driving by the old location of Sona on La Cienega since chef-owner David Myers closed it in May of 2010, thinking wistfully of the Japanese-inspired dishes that Myers and former Sona chef de cuisine Kuniko Yagi dreamt up in that late, oft-lamented kitchen, you maybe need to get yourself to Century City soon. Today Myers will at last open his much-anticipated new restaurant, Hinoki & the Bird.
No, that's not the name of some lost Haruki Murakami novel.
It is instead what Myers and Yagi, who is executive chef at the new restaurant, have dreamt up to showcase their Japan Meets Southern California cuisine, in this case hinoki-scented black cod with sweet potato and pistachio (hinoki is the name of a Japanese cypress); braised Kurobuta pork with radish and mustard greens; and lobster roll with green curry and Thai basil, among others.
As for the bird, that's both food and metaphor. There are dishes (crispy marinated chicken with lemon aoli; cured duck leg carbonara) that are literally birds -- and there is, in the words of his publicist, "David's passion for travel." Traveling being what Myers has done much of since the closing of Sona, particularly to Japan, where Myers has two restaurants in Tokyo, and where he's spent time looking for culinary inspiration for both this project and a long in-the-works cookbook.
Hinoki & the Bird is a collaboration between Myers and the real estate firm Related Companies, and has been designed by Milo Garcia's Los Angeles-based MAI Studio, which also designed Gjelina. The cocktail list is curated by Sam Ross, and there are wines and sake available by the glass.
Hinoki & the Bird is located on the ground floor of the Century City luxury condominium tower The Century. Not a little pillbox on a busy L.A. street, as Sona was. But not Tokyo's swank Ginza either. Maybe pretend you're a Murakami character: Follow the clues and the animals, and see what happens.
Hinoki & the Bird is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, from 5:30 -10:00 p.m. Lunch service will begin in the spring.
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