Today is: Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hamasaku Restaurant Review
Hamasaku, a new restaurant just opened last September, is a refreshing and invigorating dining experience. Its verdant walls and floral-theme décor evoke the
spirit of new growth, while the elegant artistry of its Japanese culinary presentations and fresh ingredients translate the feeling of spring to the taste buds. The ceiling, with curvaceous lines and chandeliers of blown-glass champagne bubbles, white leather banquettes and organically shaped sushi cocktail bars encircle the ethereal room.
The menu is blend of the familiar and the unexpected, with staples like Chicken Teriyaki and Veggie Tempura sharing space with Jalapeno rolls and Chilean Sea
bass. An exceptional collection of sakes complete the crisp, clean flavor experience.
The new Hamasaku Restaurant is a breath of fresh spring air amidst the chain restaurants and service shops that surround it on Melrose and is a gem worth
investigating. This bright and cheerful new restaurant is a welcome addition to the dining options in the area, making it
a popular destination for lunching office workers and local residents. Since
opening in September 2008, Hamasaku has earned itself a loyal clientele who
flock to the restaurant for its refreshing and refined cuisine, its inviting
atmosphere, and the elegant artistry of its culinary presentation.
Hamasaku is saturated with sunny seasonal warmth. Walls the color of new leaves
and cherry blossom centerpieces evoke the spirit of new growth The décor expertly blends the traditional with the modern, the result is a warm and charming atmosphere that makes the quaint restaurant feel cozy and inviting, yet unfailingly stylish.
Upon entering we are greeted warmly by the staff in an unfamiliar tongue, creating
an ambience that is as welcoming as a neighborhood haunt but with all of the allure
and fascination of a foreign getaway. To the right of the door near the back of
the restaurant, a sushi chef concentrates on his work as he deftly and swiftly
slices sections of fish behind the honey-colored sushi bar. Enclosed in this
wooden “island”, he works with a Zen-like calm and expert precision that is mesmerizing. The dining room tables seating small groups of two and four
are arranged neatly in the main body of the restaurant. The thoughtful
organization gives the restaurant a surprisingly spacious feel,
creating intimate and individualized dining niches.
The menu is eclectic, offering familiar sushi and Japanese dishes as well as a variety
of about 60 creative rolls and rare ingredients. Standard fare like Veggie Tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, and Spicy Tuna Rolls share the spotlight with Soft Shell Crab appetizers, Broiled Yellowtail and inventive rolls featuring jalapenos, lobster,
and salmon tempura. Hamasaku offers a variety of options for both traditional
and iconoclastic palates, making selection a delightfully daunting task.
Fox Hand Roll
Upon being seated at our booth, we are immediately brought a starter of a selection
of appetizers and rolls. The mouthwatering, savory scent of the ambience wafts through the air. The Addie Roll, with rice cake, avocado, crab and lobster was
divine. It is a simple, yet deeply gratifying beginning to our meal: the slightly salty, slightly sweet, and utterly umami taste whets our appetite for the coming feast.
As dish after beautiful dish arrives at our table, we are awe-struck by the artful presentation of each culinary creation. Four enormously plump, another roll arrives
the Roger roll, with spicy yellow tail, also we tried the Creamy Rock Shrimp
Tempura, this is no ordinary Shrimp Tempura: upon biting into these massive
battered gems we discover that the shrimp meat has been finely diced, battered,
and reformed with a shrimp tail handle, giving it both an unexpected tromped l’oeil effect and a deliciously smooth texture. The tart, almost pickled flavor of the rich
sauce well accents the buttery tempura batter and the sweet shrimp meat. A
drizzling of sesame seeds over the plate adds a satisfying grit, yet another
deliciously surprising texture in this complex dish.
Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura
The M Roll lives up to its name: its colorful construction stretches languidly on the plate next to a sandy-colored sauce, evoking a vibrant tropical sunset over an exotic beach. Each section of the roll is layered with a bright red smear of crab, eel, avocado, diced almost to a pureed silkiness, with a thin slice of jalapeno and a
of sriracha chili sauce crowning every piece. The Fox Roll with tempura shrimp tails and the luscious green of avocado peek out seductively from between each segment, hinting at the
rich bounty bound within the white rice walls of the roll. The
roll is a shrewd manipulation of flavor complexity, layering the fresh sweetness of
the ahi and
shrimp, the creamy richness of avocado, and the lingering heat of the jalapeno
and sriracha. A dip in the sauce mixture, a blend of pungent hoisin and
sweet, delicate, cream sauce, adds a new level of flavor juxtaposition
that further excites the palate. It is a nuanced and novel dish that, as a special of the evening
and not a regular staple of the menu, is as ethereal and fleeting as a dream.
Although the Lobster Roll diverges greatly from the light and airy M Roll, its presentation on the plate retains the suggestion of paradisal escapades.
Delectable panko-crusted lobsters are carefully placed on the rice and
suggesting the same vacation feel evoked by the Lobster Roll.
Cod Fish Saikyo Style
Another wonderful sample of their menu is the Cod fish Saikyo Style; marinated saikyo muso shrimp mousse tempura, sautéed spinach an dred miso sauce, a
delicious and light dish that opens up your appetite! Each possibility
transforms the fish, creating a Janus-like personality for the dish.
Japanese Mushrooms With Grilled Mackerel
As accompaniment, we are treated to a sample from Hamasaku’s extensive and well-selected wine collection. The Pinot Noir we taste is smooth and light with a hint of floral backgrounds, devoid of the sweet or acidic notes that pervade other sakes.
This light and clean-tasting wine amplifies the refreshing taste and discreet
complexities of each fish, both uniting and distinguishing them from one
another on the tongue. It is a sophisticated and memorable pairing.
Chrispy Soft Shell Crab
The Chrispy Soft Shell Crab with zucchini Tempura and the Hamasaku Dynamite were also light and very rich at the same time, we loved the presentation on
these dishes and the flavor and aromas were out of this world!
Sautéed Scottish Salmon Teriyaki
Do not miss the Sautéed Scottish Salmon Teriyaki and the Kobe Beef Shio-Yaki, grilled with sea salt, amazing and very, very tender. Another fish we got from the amazing talented Executive Takeshi (“Take” aka “Tony”) Tanikawa was the
Japanese Mushroom Quarter with Grilled Mackerel, served with yusu
ponzu sauce. I must be honest that we felt like being in Paradise, it
was truly one of the most enjoyable dining experiences in a
Japanese Restaurant we have ever had.
Kobe Beef Shio-Yaki
We want to also thank the amazing owner Toshi Kihara, who
brought his magic to Melrose where the short-lived
Kumo Restaurant was located.
20Year Tawny Port
As far as desserts goes, we had an amazing surprise by the chef; A golden, crispy sugar triangle ball balances in the center of a ice cream drizzled plate surrounded
by fresh fruits and fake colored ices that changes colors, this is a wonderful dish
that everyone will look at your table to find our what it is. We giddily break the
sugar crust with our dainty forks, releasing the soft ice cream from its warm
wrapping. Like the surrounding décor, the Ice Cream is a skillful fusion of
East and West, using both Japanese and Western culinary elements to
create an experience that plays with notions of the familiar and the
foreign, the refined and the quirky, and the traditional and the
unexpected. The result is a resounding success.
Remy Martin Cognac
Fresh Fruits and Ice Cream
As we take our leave of Hamasaku I reluctantly say goodbye to this spring-inspired sanctuary. Like an imagined visit to a neighborhood restaurant in Japan, our experience has been filled with all of the welcoming spirit of a favorite local
spot, but with the exotic allure of a vacation abroad. It is a
charming and enticing combination, and one that is sure to
make this new restaurant a favorite.
Special thank to the amazing owner Toshi Kihara for your superb hospitality.
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at www.hamasakula.com
Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
|© 2013-2015 Buzz of Los Angeles (All Rights Reserved)