Given the slew of positive reviews by fellow FTC’ers, I decided to splurge and dive right into it. Up to 8 lucky guests are served each night and service begins at 7:00PM. However, Chef Go is sticking to a max of 6 people for now to test things out.
Pro Tip: For those of you looking for parking, you may park on Alameda for free rather than paying for parking inside ROW’s parking lot as long as you don’t mind walking an additional 100 feet or so.
Note: Course info were adapted from @PorkyBelly’s review while adding my own info in terms of different ingredients and what not, but credit goes to him!
Welcoming sake. Light and fragrant but what do I know about sake?? Zero, zip, nada.
First course coming up!
Chef Go was pleasurable to chat with and super informative. There were intriguing conversations throughout the night between the chef and the 6 of us.
Course #1: santa barbara spot prawns, fava beans, okra, rice vinegar dashi jelly
Super light and refreshing starter. Crustacean was grilled to perfection above binchotan. Perfectly springy and snappy. Dashi jelly, on the other hand, was smokey with great acidity to complement the spot prawn, fava beans, and okra very well.
I wish I could’ve sat closer to Chef Go!
Course #2: corn, hokkaido scallop and mitsuba kakiage tempura
Incredibly light and delicate batter with fantastic crunch. Corn was bursting with sweetness which was countered by the savory scallop that was fried to perfection.
Being the glutton that I am, I’m salivating again looking at this preparation…
Course #3: aji bo-zushi
Spectacular! Nori had great crisp. Rice had good texture and was nicely seasoned. Aji was vinegar-y which cut through the richness of the fat nicely. SUPER YUM!
Course #4: dungeness crab suimono with junsai and baby turnip
Perfectly cooked sweet crab was infused with its brain. Dashi was light and smokey which played a nice background note to the crab. Yum.
Course #5: tai / sea bream and bonito / katsuo sashimi, myoga, shiso
Delicate and mild flavor with the Tai while the bonito had a stronger flavor that’s meatier and fattier.
Did I tell you how much I love abalone?
Another code red highlight alert!
Course #6: abalone with liver sauce and abalone stock jelly
This was a beauty. Steamed abalone had such a beautiful texture, striking the perfect balance between the inherent abalone snappy chew and softness. The accompanying liver sauce has a deep flavor that is reminiscent of a tide pool while the abalone stock jelly had a tremendous depth of umami flavor. FANTASTIC!
Course #7: nodoguro / blackthroat seaperch and burdock root**
GLORIOUS! Nodoguro was grilled on binchotan with a bit of salt resulting in yet another perfectly cooked masterpiece. Skin had a light crisp. Fish was smokey, super juicy, flaky, and moist. The accompanying palate changer in burdock root was earthy, sweet, and equally smokey. Most importantly, it gave the dish a third texture that’s quite unique. It was supple yet chewy at the same time.
Gossip #1: Chef Go’s favorite sushi? He said he doesn’t really eat sushi in LA, but his favorite is Mori.
Gossip #2: Chef Go’s favorite Italian restaurant? Angelini Osteria
Course #8: anago tempura with thickened dashi and ume
This was the only miss of the night to my palate. The anago, even though its texture was spot on, was underseasoned so it took a backseat to the dashi even though the broth was already really light.
Course #9: amadai / tile fish nabe, bamboo shoots, chrysanthemum greens, mitsuba, and shiitake
Perfectly cooked protein was the story of the night and this course was no different. Very homey and comforting with dashi acting as a backbone. Amadai’s texture resembles a cod but isn’t as fatty and has a sweeter and more mild flavor.
Chef Go showcasing the final course
x3 Course #10: kamasu / baby barracuda kamameshi, mitsuba, pickled cucumber and daikon(?) , miso soup with baby corn
Comforting dish but didn’t reach the height of earlier courses. Koshihikari rice was cooked with dashi while grilled kamasu and chopped up mitsuba were mixed and scattered throughout the rice. Rice was cooked well with a bit of chew, but wasn’t at the level of Benu’s cooked rice based on my preference of how toothsome a bowl of rice should be. The rice was slightly crusty which enhanced the flavor a bit and gave each bite varying and contrasting textures (think of Hong Kong’s bo jai fan?).
I had 3 bowls but felt bad so I didn’t ask for more. Two other guests had 5 bowls each.
Not your average salty mess of a miso soup
x3 Course #11: andy’s orchid yellow peaches with sake jelly
Refreshing! These chilled peaches were on the more acidic side which were rounded out by the sweet sake jelly.
Simplicity is the name of the game. However, just because each dish is simple doesn’t mean that they can’t be elevated to greatness. Every course was cooked to perfection regardless of techniques applied with the exception of the underseasoned (FWIW) anago tempura. Overall, I had a great time and a strong meal at Hayato.
If I have to nitpick, I would say that portions can be bigger in each course given how light the meal is. I was hungry again a few hours later but it could just mean that I’m a hopeless glutton.
RECOMMENDED! Head over to Resy and make your reservation NOW!
1320 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021