Date Night #1: Kiyokawa Restaurant, Beverly Hills CA
As many of our readers know, we’re writing this blog from both Los Angeles and Phoenix. So a typical weekend for us might be pick up Kim at the airport, spend time with family and friends, cook and eat with family and friends, and finally drive Kim back to the airport. This leaves little time for us to really enjoy and explore the dining scene in LA and Orange County. So starting with this post, we’re going to start a feature called Date Night were we put down the knives and get out of the kitchen. These posts won’t necessarily be blow by blow reviews of every dish or an encompassing review of a restaurant, but more a glimpse of our dining experience.
The first Date Night destination was Kiyokawa Japanese Restaurant in Beverly Hills. We first heard of this restaurant from Jonathon Gold’s write up last year declaring Chef Satoshi Kiyokawa as perhaps the best unknown chef in Los Angeles because his kaiseki style multi-course dinner rivaled those costing more 3 times as much. Though he didn’t say it directly, we assume he must mean Urasawa, also in Beverly Hills, one of the most expensive restaurants in California.
Kim in her dress and I, in a suit sans tie, walked in early on a Friday night and immediately made a bee line for the bar and sat in front of Chef Kiyokawa. We ignored the thick menu and ordered the Chef’s Omakase ($78) and the Sashimi tasting ($48) menu. So nice and soft spoken, Chef Kiyokawa warmly greets you, asking if you have any food restrictions before beginning his magic. Just watching Kiyokawa prepare you meal was almost worth the price of admission. From the way he molds the sushi rice to how he slices the fish and grates your fresh wasabi, he has a distinct style and rhythm that was fun to watch.
Meticulous to the tiniest detail, Kiyokawa’s sashimi platter on plate ice looked too good to eat. Spanish mackeral perfectly sashimied and presented back on it’ body, toro, abalone, and de-headed before your eyes, Santa Barbara spot prawn, tentacles still twitching…
Platter of cooked dishes highlighted by seared foie gras, marinated uni, kumomoto oyster with caviar and goldflakes.
Shockingly simple in presentation but so full of flavor, this soup was on Gold’s Best 100 dishes of 2009 and lauded it as “worthy of a 3 star Chef.” A beautiful dashi broth with daikon, taro, snow peas, carrot, and crab. Outstanding and well deserved.
We love recycling–especially when it’s the body of the Spanish mackerel and head of the Santa Barbara spot prawn deep fried and brought back to you. Nothing was wasted. The bones of the Spanish mackerel was so thin and delicate I ate the entire thing.
There were several other delicious dishes not presented here included a miso marinated blackcod, scallop and tofu soup, and finish with plate of sushi. We also did not photograph the sushi omakase, but can be seen here.
No dear readers, Date Night won’t mean we’ll cook less and morph into a restaurant blog, but it will mean that at least once a month we will spend an evening exploring good restaurants, spending time with each other outside the kitchen, and keeping that spark nice and bright…