A new batch of delicious places to eat in Los Angeles! This last week was my birthday week (29, whoo!), so I got to eat at some spots that are very close to my heart and others that are completely new to me.
Read all about the spots after the jump!
Necco is described as being a Japanese “tapas” (small plate) restaurant. They offer a wide variety of options, many which are vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free friendly. The ingredients are fresh and the plating is gorgeous. As the name Necco means root, many of the dishes have root vegetables incorporated in them! While many of the dishes are very heavily traditional Japanese-based, there were really unique and modern twists in the dishes, too. Jenny and I started with the Necco Salad. Then we got the Albacore Nanban Plate which also had truffle fries, tempura avocado, rice, and salad. The albacore nanban was good but I especially liked the truffle fries and tempura avocado! We also got their gorgeous stacked Hanami Bento. It’s limited edition and this is based on Spring. In the bento there was kale, kabocha, red snapper and tuna sashimi, grilled cod, wagyu beef, lotus root croquette, and sakura rice (rice with cherry blossoms and edamame). My favorites from the benot were the wagyu beef, lotus root croquettes and the sakura rice.
Necco is located in a fairly busy section of Westwood Blvd. It’s sort of unassuming from the outside but the first thing I noticed was how *Japanese* it looked. The exterior and the interior both looked like it was plucked directly out of a hip Japanese district. It was bright and airy inside and while it is more on the small side, there is a decent number of tables. There is a small cash parking lot along the side of the building and you can get your parking ticket validated for up to an hour (or you can park on the street).
Avocado Tempura (tapas)
Truffle Fries (tapas)
As my roommates looove prix fixe restaurants, we made reservations with our friend Rob to try Mélisse right before my birthday so we can get a little fancy! As usual, we went with the biggest menu option: The Ten. We started with these grape gelee which were very good. Next we had a homemade citrus soda which we were instructed to “drink it like tequila.” The amuse-bouche was uni and prawn mousse which was actually really refreshing since it also had cucumber in it. Then came my favorite dish, the egg caviar (poached egg, creme fraiche, and caviar), followed by foie gras terrine, crab croquette in scallion soup, white asparagus with morel mushrooms, black truffle ravioli (this had an insane amount of back truffle on it), wild salmon, prime beef rib eye cap 3 ways, and some cheese tart with more truffle. We wrapped the meal with a chocolate dessert, blood orange sorbet in vanilla yogurt, and another dessert tray with jellies, macarons, and cookies. While I wasn’t blown away by every dish, there were dishes in here that I fell in love with like the egg caviar and black truffle ravioli.
As expected, the service and space were fantastic. I really liked the plush yet clean decor and it was more spacious than I anticipated. The booths were slightly elevated and felt private. I also really liked that their window coverings were with frosted glass so natural light still came in but kept out the hustle and bustle of the busy street outside. There is valet parking behind the restaurant.
Uni and Prawn Mousse
Black Truffle Ravioli
Blood Orange Sorbet
2408 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717
I love Peruvian food but Japanese-Peruvian really takes it to the next level for me. Kotosh is owned by my friend’s family who are Japanese-Peruvian. They use some really great family recipes and serve typical Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado to sushi and everything in between. My favorite appetizers are Tiradito de Atun (Peruvian style tuna sashimi – it’s spicy) and Causa Rellena (whipped potato, aji amarillo, crab mix, and avocado). I love their Tallarin Verde (pasta with a spinach/cheese/basil sauce) and you can get it topped with chicken katsu! Their Chicharron Mixto (fried mixed seafood in garlic sauce) is also delicious and something I enjoy getting. My favorite sushi roll there is the Acebichado Roll (the sauce for this roll is based off their ceviche sauce). For dessert, I love getting Helado Lucuma ice cream (it’s a tropical fruit) and Crema Volteada (Peruvian flan). They even offer traditional Peruvian drinks, sodas, and even beer!
It’s a really low-key location in a small plaza (free parking!). There is a sushi bar and while it looks like there isn’t much seating, there is a back room with more seating so it can actually fit a lot of people.
Tiradito de Atun
Tallarin Verde with Chicken Katsu
Acebichado Roll (sushi)
Helado Lucuma (dessert)
Crema Volteada (dessert)
As Kogi has been around for a while, this review will be less on the food and more on the location. Roy Choi recently opened this as Kogi’s very first brick-and-mortar location. It is in a random plaza (with free parking) and it’s in a corner so it’s easy to miss. The food here is pretty much the same as the trucks (menu-wise, quality-wise, etc.). It’s small inside and it was super crowded during lunch time so while there were seats, it was a tight squeeze inside. It even sort of still felt like you were ordering from a truck – you stood in line to order from the register, then waited in the crowd for your number to be called and they gave you your food in the same paper boats as always. I guess what makes this place special is the fact that you don’t have to chase it down, haha!
Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla
2140 Artesia Blvd. Ste N, Torrance, CA 90504
I am a huge okonomiyaki fan. Okonomiyaki is really hard to translate into English but the best I can do is say it’s a savory pancake-pizza. The base is made of mostly cabbage so it’s super light. My favorite is the pork with extra green onion! They serve it piping hot on a hot plate so it stays warm as you eat it. I love topping it with tons of Japanese mayo. I also really like their omu-yakisoba (yakisoba wrapped in an egg omelette). It’s hard to find good okonomiyaki in LA and this one is actually one of the better locations that I have found.
This is located in a strip plaza (free parking) and can be hard to find since they don’t have Doya Doya written in English but they do have a sign that says Okonomiyaki in English. It’s a smaller place so it can fill up sort of quickly. There are a couple of things that make me sad here: they do not have DIY okonomiyaki (where you can make it yourself) and they do not have an alcohol license. If anyone knows any okonomiyaki restaurants that has griddles in front of you and you can make it, let me know because my favorite one (Gaja) closed recently. 🙁
Pork & Green Onion Okonomiyaki