Anyone tried Izakaya Zero in Huntington Beach?
This is Abe's new place just off Main Street near the HB Pier, where Red Pearl Kitchen was located. Walked by it last night, but I had already eaten dinner. Anybody eaten here yet? Curious to find out if it's more fish-fusion focused like Bluefin, or more traditional izakaya like Kappo Honda or Honda Ya
re: kevin h
We went last night. They have been open for 8 mos. The menu is huge and we had the following from Chef Abe san. Edamame were hot and I believe they were fresh and not frozen thawed. Great mohito as well as Tangerine Tini that was a perfect foil for some of the starters. Seaweed salad was picture perfect with alot of great colot texture and tastes. Most of what we had presented the eater with new and interesting textures over and above fresh fresh and exciteting tastes. Hamachic-Kama was a huge piece of Hamachi cheek(collar) slow baked with great sauces and dashi sprinkle ons. The bones were sucked clean with lovely white meat and great skin. Zero Fried rice was great, lots of veggies and assorted seafood bits. Also the table soy sauce is not too salty so you still can taste the food. Fried chicken was moist and succulent. I think they use panko that has been ground up super fine. "Crab Cigar "were two huge eggroll shaped tubes of scallop and shrimp with lots of veggies fresher than fresh. You can see the individual shrimp pieces and scallops. This dish as all others came with three different sauce /dip dishes. Textures were great. "Shrimp Shumai" was a great new texture. Cross between the lightest matzo ball you ever had and what you think Shumai usually looks and tastes like. There were two huge dumplings with a great soy/mustard sauce. The pork belly skewer was a collection of lovely pork belly jewels with grilled veggies. It too came with its own unique sauce combo. Nice balance of skin to meat to fat. Dessert was 2 big scoops of Lychee Sorbet. Again great texture with little hidden gems of frozen lychee fruit to enjoy. There are Dinner plate 2 item specials ,as well as the huge appetizer/small plate items. We really wanted everything we saw everyone else ordering so we look forward to a return trip.The room itself is a huge improvement over the previous restaurant space, for Red Pearl
It is lighter and brighter, natural woods,it is quiet and you can talk and be heard.Seating is great anywhere in the room. Nice use of organic materials and shapes. The globe light fixtures made from fish line cast a great texure over the walls. There is a small area in the back where you can sit/eat/drink and watch the chef. Banquets have cushions and nice back rests, the place was busy but we were not rushed at all. 2 Hr free parking in the main street promenade garage. Bring your ticket to validate at the restaurant. Huntington Beach locals (id required 20% off (not drinks) Tuedays. 50 % off drinks Sunday-Thursday. You could go back 5 times before you ate through the menu. There is no big bar area anymore so the focus is on the food and it shows.
I just went there for dinner today (I didn't realize they had opened until I read your post). I haven't been to Bluefin, but it's primarily fusion with a few traditional dishes on the menu. My girlfriend and I tried the following:
1) Yellowtail with jalepeno, cilantro, and a citrus sauce. The flavors were balanced and worked fairly well, but the presentation was somewhat lacking, with a big clump of cilantro in the center. Maybe the issue is that the cilantro looked just a bit limp.
2) Grilled japanese eggplant with a sort of a crab and sesame sauce topping (wasn't described on the menu, except as grilled eggplant).
3) Kobe beef carpaccio with capers and white truffle oil.
4) Tempura shrimp with udon
5) Braised pork which was suggested to complement
6) Brown rice risotto (served tableside out of a huge chunk of parmigiano-reggiano)
The eggplant showed a great layering of flavors and textures, and the pork just melted in our mouths with amazing flavors. All of the dishes were really good, but those two stood out above the rest. The meal, plus about 2 drinks each, cost a total of $108 including tip.
Living a couple of blocks away, I had lamented the loss of the Red Pearl Kitchen (an oasis in the foodie wasteland that is downtown HB), but Izakaya Zero seems to be a reasonable replacement.