Hayato - ROW DTLA


Chef Brandon Go has been making excellent takeout bento boxes for the past 7 months and is finally opening his kappo ryori style kaiseki restaurant, Hayato, for dinner. Hayato is pretty small and intimate with only 7 seats at the counter and a four seat tatami room planned for the future.

Chef Brandon trained under Ishikawa-san at his eponymous 3-star kaiseki restaurant in Tokyo. This is a true kappo style restaurant where everything is cooked right in front of you. Each course begins with a tray of ingredients brought from the back by one of Brandon’s two assistants. Brandon-san will then slice, cut, cook, and plate each dish and was eager to talk about everything from the finer points of japanese kaiseki cuisine to where to take his mentor, ishikawa-san, when he visits LA (i believe the consensus was Langer’s).

The almost all seafood menu is very light, clean and seasonal. With the exception of the frying oil there were no extra fats or oils used. Brandon-san showcases all of the japanese cooking techniques–grilling, steaming, frying, simmering and sashimi.

live santa barbara spot prawns, fava beans, okra and shiso flowers in tosa zu jelly
served cold, light and refreshing

corn, hokkaido scallop and mitsuba kakiage tempura

wild aji bo-zushi
holy aji, i could eat 30 more of these. highlight of the night, softer than the lakers’ defense. chewing is optional.

live dungeness crab suimono with junsai and baby kabu
another favorite. the soup showcased a golf ball sized dumpling of sweet dungeness crab infused with its own brains, delicious #brainfood

wild tai (sea bream) sashimi

steamed central coast abalone with liver sauces and broth jelly
tender but not too soft, that abalone jelly was a surprise umami bomb.

binchotan grilled nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch), gobo
simply grilled with a hint of smoke, crispy skin, and flaky flesh

anago tempura with ginger ankake and tokyo negi


aka mebaru (rockfish) nabe with bamboo shoots, chrysanthemum greens, mitsuba, and shiitake
delicous dashi and fish

kamasu (baby barracuda) kamameshi, mitsuba, pickles, miso soup

rice x3

miso soup


chilled farmers market peaches in ginjo sake

not toto

Overall a great experience. It was a pleasure to watch and converse with Chef Brandon and I admire his passion and dedication. the food is as traditional and expertly prepared as you can get without having to get on a plane to Japan.

1320 E 7th St
Ste 126
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 395-0607

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Pre-dinner snack @ Rappahannock Oyster Bar

central coast oysters

bay scallops, yuzu, burnt orange, poppy seed, tarragon

uni-corn - sea urchin, corn, piquillo hot sauce, cotija, smoky mayo

not toto

Rappahannock Oyster Bar
787 Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(323) 435-4004

Tasting Menus
ISO Saba-Zushi

Nice post! Cost? Looks like I might leave a bit hungry? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


No. My fantastic dinner at Hayato (my writeup here is pending) left me sated.


It’s $200 plus tax and tip. Yes, unless you fill up on the rice course you may require a second bang. Even with my pre-dinner snack and three helpings of rice, I could have gone for an after-dinner ERB burger if it wasn’t so late but I’m a glutton.


The junsai in the Dungeness crab soup was something I’ve never had before.
It was also one of the highlights of my meal


I should mention they are still in their soft opening, so maybe things will change. I’m hoping they’ll add a meat course and maybe larger portions.


yeah that was unique, but didn’t add much of a flavor more of a slimy texture if anything.


Yeah, I liked that whole dish and the junsai was an element that I wasn’t expecting, might not have added a lot of flavor but the texture was very interesting to me


Wow congrats LA and LA FTC, legit kappo kaiseki! Look and feel reminds me of places like Goryu Kubo and Aoyama Ichita in Tokyo.

Might be interesting if he eventually adds on a pricier course featuring more expensive (imported) ingredients like they do in Japan. I can see a bunch of ballers bringing in their Salon, Jacques Selosse, Krug, Pierre Peters, DRC, and maybe that guy from Yelp with his Pomerol, Latour, Born Chogin or Dreams Come True, and Juyondai with this stuff.

Great report and photos, thanks! Delicious looking aji bousushi too! Awesome grin by the chef’s assistant pouring the soup.

(Would also love to see what their sake list looks like, if someone who is going soon could take pictures and post :slight_smile: )


Still being curated. Chef Go asks that the list not be released yet. I shall respect that request.


No problem, though eventually people will upload pictures of their bottles (BYO or not) on social media. Can already see the Dönnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling 2007 in two of the pictures above :wink:.


@PorkyBelly Is it true that Chef Go is part of the Koi Restaurant family from Seal Beach? I think I read that somewhere when his magnificent lunch bento boxes debuted.


You are correct. Koi is his father’s restaurant where he worked before training in Japan.


That’s amazing! I frequent Koi a couple of times a year for my omakase fix. I adore it. I’ll have to make a point of trying Chef Brandon’s place downtown. Thanks!


Yes indeed.


That was one of the best bites of the year for me. Loved how the negi was mixed into the sushi rice.


That’s because before Hideki Ishikawa, Goryu Kubo also trained Chef Brandon! In fact, Kubo-san opened the door for our chef to apprentice under Ishikawa-san. A majority of the ceramics now used at Hayato also comes from Kubo-san. In more than one way, Hayato would not be here without Kubo-san.


Goryu Kubo is one of my top favorite places in Tokyo. If you haven’t visited yet, please consider doing so. Awesome place and excellent service, very intimate. Doesn’t matter to me that they are 2 star (vs 3 for the others).

Though I haven’t been to the likes of Ishikawa and Kokaku. Some say that once you’ve had the best of the best in Kyoto (e.g. Ogata) you will find Ishikawa to be not quite up to par, and Goryu Kubo is one of few places in Tokyo that supposedly can satisfy that, and is far more accessible and easier to get into than say, Kyo Aji. Seizan is supposed to be pretty good too, but you will have to pull some strings to sit at the counter though for the best experience.


Good to know. I went to Kohaku, thanks to help with Chef Brandon for the reservation, and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal but I’ve yet to try the top tier kaiseki in Kyoto.

Michelin stars don’t mean much to me in Japan though, I’ve had some mediocre starred meals and some amazing hole in the wall meals.

BTW I went about two weeks ago as well, excellent food and execution with the same menu. I’m eager to see how it will evolve over time as I hope to see him become more creative as he settles into his space and gains more confidence in his customers trust.


So true. Many of the truly stellar chefs in Japan neither want (nor need) the recognition.