Orizume by Hayato (Downtown L.A.): A Pictorial Essay

In the last nine or so months of the pandemic, L.A. chefs have risen to the challenge time and time again with ever more refined and innovative takeout fare. Well, with the Orizume by Hayato, it seems the bar has been raised yet again. An orizume is typically a box to be shared with friends for a special occasion. I was fortunate and honored to be able to try it during its “Soft Opening” phase.

Here, Chef Go has created an assortment of tastes for two to four people to partake. Every presentation comes with a unique calligraphy menu scribed by Hayato’s able and ever-affable hostess, Yuki-san - Just another example of the small flourishes which demonstrate the thoughtfulness in everything Team Hayato does.

The box is meant to be paired with sake. My selection of this evening, the Sohomare Tokubetsu Junmai “Karakuchi” (Tochigi), proved to be a reliably solid partner in pairing with our dinner, bringing out beautiful notes and revealing lovely nuances at many turns. Again, I’d very much advise everyone who visits Hayato for the Orizume to grab a bottle or two from their curated sake list as well.

The food in the Orizume box is prepared with a tad more sweetness than the usual washoku food from a classic Hayato kaiseki. The reason lies within the need for preserving its integrity, as these bites were meant to be kept around for a bit longer. This is much akin to the osechi fare served during the New Year celebrations in Japan. Every single item in each compartment, without fail, was pure and excellent. I could almost see the kitchen team striving for new heights as I savored every bean, every morsel of soulfully grilled fish, every spoon of fluffy gohan.

We often speak of great food as being made with love. And while this rings true with pretty much every dish I’ve ever tried at Hayato since my first visit, I also sense in this marvelous new Orizume assortment not only love, but also tremendous devotion weaved into its crafting. All the components in these boxes blend together as a supremely delightful concerto of colors, textures and flavors.

Perhaps the ultimate compliment I can give the Orizume by Chef Brandon Go and his superb team at Hayato is that it brought my family unbridled joy on a day when we weren’t necessarily expecting it. It made sharing an ordinary weekday dinner something truly special. And in an unprecedented period of uncertainty in our mad world, the simple act of smiling together over a wonderful meal proves to be a most welcome reminder of a brighter future.


Orizume by Hayato
1320 E. 7th St., Suite 126
Los Angeles, CA 90021