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Oct 28, 2013 06:07 PM

SoaG, Shunji, Zo, Go, Tar & Roses

Son of a Gun
Bulgarini Gelato HQ
Shunji with PeterCC and chrishei
Maison Giraud
Kobawoo (posted in DotM)
Sushi Zo DTLA
Four Seas
Sweet Rose Creamery (posted in PeterCC's thread)
Go's Mart with PeterCC
Tar & Roses with Ciao Bob
Freddie Small's

Son of a Gun: I had planned on the chicken sandwich, but confronted with the menu I couldn't make up my mind and asked my server to send out some dishes. The mini lobster roll came on warm, fluffy brioche, with crunchy crisps, but sadly the lobster itself was overshadowed by the sauce. PeterCC's observation is spot-on: delicious, but would probably have been better naked. Gem lettuce salad was a shining example of how to do it right: just the four ingredients listed on the menu - leaves, beets, creme fraiche, bread crumbs - but all of them working together. The shrimp toast was very deceiving: tiny on the plate, but seriously filling. Here, the runny, slightly sweet sriracha mayo was the star. Then some really fresh dungeness crab wrapped in daikon, like mini spring rolls, with a delicious yuzu sauce. Finally, the frozen lime yogurt, also wonderfully light. And I'm a real sucker for meringue, which they smear on the edge of the bowl and toast. I wouldn't say this was as mind-blowing as my Animal visit, but enjoyable nonetheless. Many thanks to George for taking such great care of me.

Bulgarini Gelato HQ: There's no indication from the outside of the wonders that lie within. After I explained to Jose (where's Leo these days?) that I was from out of town, he insisted that I sample everything, which I dutifully did. I was *floored*. The flavors were striking - everything tasted of its true underlying ingredient. I settled on a first round of chocolate orange, salted chocolate and macadamia and a second round of blood orange and pear. The two chocolates were entirely distinct, so rich, but balanced with the macadamia. The fruits were crisp but sweet, and so fresh. At no point did any of it become too samey, as many ice creams do. Absolutely terrific, and well worth it. No photo of round two, too busy chatting with Jose about the shop.


Son of a Gun
8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Bulgarini Gelato
749 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

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  1. Shunji: After all the jokes about this place being like Cheers, I thought it appropriate to ask some regulars along for dinner. And since I had mostly sushi on my last visit, I thought a full-on omakase was in order. So nearly a month ago I called up Yuko-san and booked the counter for PeterCC, chrishei and myself. Shunji-san pulled out all the stops for this one. We had a zensai of bleu cheese balls, dense ankimo, tako, roe, and persimmon; a beautifully fresh dungeness crab with its innards; lobster tartare on a base of crunchy radish; a dobin mushi with delicious matsutake; and - kevin may want to sit down for this one - the legendary truffle gohan, a dish so wonderfully fragrant that I closed my eyes and banged my fist on the counter a few times for lack of any other way to express my appreciation. And who can resist a round of Shunji-san's nigiri. Sanma, oki-aji and iwashi, each with its own beautiful knife work and perfectly formed shari. What makes everything even more special is how much work and love goes into even the smallest piece: the slices of ocra, the cut of the tako, the little block of roe, the decoration on the ankimo, the flakes on the lobster. When JGold wrote "You do not expect the same care to be taken with a carrot", he nailed it. Shunji-san cares about every detail. And of course Yuko-san was as welcoming and accommodating as ever, always checking on us and sharing a laugh. If you're not already breaking down their door for a meal, you should be. Many, many thanks to them for another outstanding dinner, and the highlight of my trip yet again. And thanks to Peter and Chris for sharing the experience with me (bunch of darned enablers!). They'll no doubt have much better photos and details, so I fully expect them to post up.


    Shunji Japanese Cuisine
    12244 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

    7 Replies
    1. re: stravaigint

      Congrats on getting that gohan!

      Banging good indeed.

      1. re: Porthos

        And I still gotta get my grimy, pudgy little hands on some truffle gohan.

      2. re: stravaigint

        Damn, I really missed out. It looks really fucking great.

        And Pete I guess you are off the hook now since someone else has reported on the dinner. :)

        1. re: kevin

          We tried to get you to come!

          And he's not off the hook - he takes much nicer pictures and writes way more eloquently than me.

        2. re: stravaigint

          That truffle gohan was amazing, as was your itinerary and experiences. Glad to have shared it with you! Will get around to writing about it this week. Too bad I couldn't join you guys for Tar & Roses - I'm sure that was great too.

          1. re: chrishei

            Oh, and I forgot to say thanks for the beer! That was a nice change from the nama biru.

            1. re: stravaigint

              My pleasure. I thought it went pretty well with what we had.

        3. Luckily, I was sitting down for it rather than having my eyes glued to my not so smart phone while walking.

          Oh, man. And you got the lobster tartare with shaved truffles too.

          I'm speechless and envious. Kicking myself right about now.

          1. You guys hit up the black truffles in the truffle gohan right ?

            What was the ensuing damages ????

            1. Maison Giraud: It is criminal, absolutely *criminal* that there aren't lines out the door at this place. J.L. mentioned it in my last trip report and, expecting to do the SF thing and line up, I got there at 7:45am only to find it empty. But this place gets it. This is how you make a croissant. Flakey on the outside, unbelievably rich and buttery all the way through, delicious filling, and in a manageable size, i..e., a proper French pain au chocolat. Giraud is a genius. And call me old fashioned, but I appreciated the white linen, the properly attired waiters, and the pastry basket. I went slightly overboard and ordered a brioche and pear and apricot pastries too, with the latter being divine. Thank you so much Ethan for the service and J.L. and everybody else who recommended this!


              Maison Giraud
              1032 Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Plsds, CA 90272

              1 Reply
              1. Sushi Zo DTLA:

                Late to the party as always, a month after J.L. went and two days after KevinEats. My dinner progressed in much the same fashion, so not too much to add here, except that I seemed to eat more than either of them :)

                I love the new place. His stone counter is gorgeous and the all-steel "case" is a nice touch. And the crockery is beautiful, each plate a work of art. If I'm nit-picking, then maybe it's a touch too bright in there, and some dimmer, ambient lighting on the customer side might help, but otherwise they've done a great job with the space.

                I was lucky enough to be seated directly in front of the great man himself, with Toshi working on his right and Masa on his left. Throughout the meal, he was warm, gracious and smiling. And he's genuinely funny too: when the couple next to me asked how they prepared the tako, Masa said they spank it, at which point Keizo-san chimed in and said "10 times on top, 6 times on bottom!".

                Regarding the food itself, everything was wonderful, and I'll just mention some highlights.The aforementioned tako is absolutely fantastic, and I agree with the other reviews that this is the best tako nigiri I've had. It is steamed and beautifully soft but not mushy. The double-decker uni was delicious, and his engawa was just the right texture. And that baby squid noodle with uni, wow!

                There is a lot of truffle salt, but that's how he works, and I don't mind it at all. And his shari is of the warm variety, but not overly so, and nicely packed compared with that other place *coughcough*.

                Service was wonderul, and Mami-san was the consummate host, really charming and helpful. Overall a true delight.


                Sushi Zo
                334 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

                5 Replies
                  1. re: chrishei

                    I saw his knives come out, and I saw him use them, but whether he used them on *my* neta I can't say for sure.

                    BTW I just realized I'm missing a chutoro temaki photo! It was served after the anago, right before the bonus rounds.

                    PS are you reading CH while eating 101 Express :P

                    1. re: stravaigint

                      What's neta ?

                      Another word for sushi ?

                      And can you list the price for this meal as well as Shunji ?

                      Thanks bro.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Wikipedia says:

                        "Nigirizushi (握り寿司, "hand-pressed sushi") consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping (the neta) draped over it.

                        Neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori, most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). When ordered separately, nigiri is generally served in pairs.

                      2. re: stravaigint

                        Not today. But I did eat some of the leftovers for dinner last night, and have enough for dinner tonight as well :)