Cheat sheet

This Week's Review, The Condensed Version: Hinoki and The Bird

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Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

click to enlarge The bar at Hinoki and The Bird - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • The bar at Hinoki and The Bird
This week, the restaurant review considers Hinoki and the Bird, the new Century City restaurant from David Myers. We urge you to read the full review, but you can read the vital-stats-only version below:

Food: Myers is presenting a fascinating mashup of California and Japan on this menu. From the review: "There's no doubt that what they've come up with is a California restaurant, through and through. But there are elements borrowed from the Japanese traditions of kaiseki, omakase and izakaya -- highly stylized, ritualized dining meets choose-your-own-adventure tasting menu meets casual pub food. It's a Western restaurant with Eastern sensibilities, and an Eastern attention to detail." The menu is broken up into five categories: raw bar, fun bites, simply grilled, inspiration, and vegetables and grains. Must-try dishes: Hinoki-scented cod, mussels in green curry, lobster roll.

Drinks: Hinoki's are some of the best cocktails in the city right now, with a cocktail menu developed by Sam Ross of New York's Milk & Honey. The wine list is also a thing of beauty, and has some especially great aromatic whites, which match perfectly with this food.

Looks: One of the defining elements of Hinoki is that almost every detail has been thought out and attended to. That absolutely extends to the look and feel of the place. From the review: "From the moment you step in through the large, heavy door (after the triumph of locating the restaurant, which is under a luxury condo tower on a road off of Avenue of the Stars that no GPS can find), your experience has been engineered, every visual and smell considered. You arrive on a platform that looks out over the brooding dining room, with seating tucked between the bar and a glowing, open kitchen ...You'll detect a sweet, smoky wood in the air -- that's the hinoki, the Japanese cedar with which Myers has become somewhat obsessed, and the scent permeates the restaurant. It's used everywhere: in the bathrooms, which smell like a cedar chest; and on the walls; and in the decor of the fantastic patio, where you'll most likely end up sitting, which feels like a stylish, rustic Japanese log cabin's serene garden."

Service: Casually impeccable. From the review: "... get up to use the restroom and notice how seamlessly doors are opened for you, how easily you float through this restaurant on a wave of quiet hospitality. Timing -- the precision of how and when food arrives, the speed with which your needs are met -- is impeccable."

Takeaway: 4 stars (excellent). There's a lot here that looks kind of familiar: cocktails, fried bar snacks, kale salad. But dig a little deeper and you'll find something so well-calibrated, so thought out, it's a grand accomplishment.

Read the full Hinoki & The Bird Review here.

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