FOOD SCOOPS: HINOKI & THE BIRD

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LA CANVAS had the exciting opportunity to attend the grand opening of Hinoki & the Bird, the latest venture from Michelin starred Chef David Myers. More exciting is what Myers and executive chef Kuniko Yagi prepared for the evening.

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Hinoki & the Bird boasts a beautifully curated menu with a unique, yet very California flavor. “Fresh” and “complex,” two adjectives befitting California itself, proved to be the most succinct descriptors of the cocktails and bites featured that night.

Trotted out on platters by the friendly, attentive staff, we sampled from across their dinner menu: BBQ pork, drunken duck breast (with persimmon), lobster roll, and chili crab toast. Our favorite bites were the beef tartare (with pickled jalapeno and parmigiano, topped with quail egg yolk), pumpkin toast (with miso jam and goat cheese), and the raw oysters topped with a pear mignonette. Normally, my pallet is not so adventurous, but the oysters were unexpectedly refreshing—the mignonette brought a delightfully surprising sweetness—and I haven’t been able to get my mind off them since.

 

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Not to be overshadowed by the dinner menu, Hinoki & the Bird’s cocktails were superb. We tried their specials, the Nakatomi Plaza and the Seasonal Fix.

The former featured Yamakazi whisky with a Choya plum wine and pressed green apple, and tasted tart yet sweet, like a candied apple. Seasonal fix featured either gin, rum, vodka or tequila (in our case, tequila), served with fresh lemon over muddled seasonal fruit. Our fruit was strawberry, yielding a flirty drink that had a surprisingly smoky finish.

 

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As a testament to thought and skill, the sweets offered, though largely simple, held their own among the rich pallet of savory treats and flavorful drinks. We tried their madeline (can a soft, buttery dessert be refreshing?), cream puff, and the green tea matcha doughnut balls (my favorite); the latter adding the lightest touch of a savory earthiness paired with a warm, fried, and buttery texture. Sublime.

 

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Hinoki & the Bird itself is nestled in the base of The Century, and manages a complex balancing act in its architecture and design. It is graceful, elegant, comfortable, warm, modern, and rustic all at once. The interior is sandwiched between the bar and kitchen, with rows of couch-like benches and chairs. The exterior is an enclosed patio, partitioned by an open fireplace lined with candles, creating both an open and an intimate outdoor space. All of this makes Hinoki & the Bird an ideal destination for a special evening for two or a charming space for a celebration.

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10 Century Dr
Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30pm to 10:00pm
310.552.1200
www.hinokiandthebird.com