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Birthday at Bar Hayama...suggestions please???

Hello fellow 'hounds,

I have decided on a Xmas Eve birthday dinner at Bar Hayama on Sawtelle (followed by karaoke). I have heard/ read pretty good things, but I have never eaten there.

Can you please suggest what to order?

Any "can't miss" items or "must avoid"?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I remember most things there were quite good. The poke was over marinated, perhaps, but I enjoyed tofu steak, lobster dynamite, among others. We mostly ordered from the seasonal special menu, which would most likely be different from you - but they do things well, I think most things would be safe.

    1. If they are still making their amazing lobster bisque, that is a "must have"...

      1. Thanks! I will definitely report back!

        2 Replies
        1. re: LAGirl

          If you like beef tartare, they have a very good version (or did the last time I was there). The one thing I would steer away from is a blue cheese and tuna dish. I'm not sure if it's still on the menu but it was as odd as it sounds.

          Here's a review from when I went with a group of hounds a couple of years ago:

          1. re: mollyomormon

            Funny... The blue cheese and tuna dish was my favorite when I went. I thought it was great (and surprising). Different tastes...

        2. Beef tartare and lamb chop

          1. Thank you both for the recs (and the warning)!

            1. It's a really cool space, but I thought the sushi was very mediocre. One piece (can't recall what it was at the moment) was so fishy that I actually spit it out. Not a fan of the food there. Sorry.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Snoopy

                Thanks, Snoopy. Maybe we'll stick with the cooked dishes.

              2. I like this place but admit that you can go wrong. Definitely don't try to make it a sushi experience. If they offer something fresh/special it's usually excellent. For example, I had some uni from the Channel Islands area that was top notch. And they'll sometimes have something special for sashimi. Incorporate that into the meal. I 2nd the beef tartare rec and they usually do nice vegetables. Seaweed salad is good. Try to mix it up and trust the staff. They have a nice sake selection and do flights which will be fun for a group. Overall I'll bet you'll have a good meal and a good time.

                1. I don't eat sushi, and eat at Bar Hayama all the time. I've had one great meal after another. Their steak is insane.

                  1. Thanks! I can't wait! (And will report back)