Went on Saturday for the first time after reading great reviews. Great cozy restaurant with a unique approach. When you sit down they hand you a letter from the owner/chef explaining their ideals and how the restaurant works. No substitutions or modification on anything including drinks. They will take back any dish except for the ramen or fried chicken. First brick n mortar location from the Lime Truck guys located in DT Santa Ana. One of the best beer menus for a restaurant. I tried 4 different tap beers from all over and enjoyed each one. There is no corkage on wine and a smaller wine list.
One of the best meals I've had since Providence. The highlights
pork belly steamed bun with guacamole and radish - best bite of food I've had in years. It blows away the pork belly steamed bun at Momofuku. The pork belly was hard seared on a flat top and well seasoned. Guacamole paired well, the radish added nice crunch to the bite and steamed bun was soft.
santa barbara sea urchin with jalapeno, lime and mignonette - fresh uni from the shell. Uni was much firmer than the type you'd get at a sushi restaurant. The uni was so fresh the muscles didn't break down and soften. Delicious well balanced and lovely uni finish.
kushi oyster from BC - I am done eating big mammoth oysters from the east coast. They don't taste as lovely as the briny creatures from the cold lovely waters of the pacific northwest.
fried chicken - a vinegary version without the traditional crackling crust. A touch of Louisiana style hot sauce. It was a cut cornish game hen all 8 pieces. Some of the most succulent fried chicken ever.
wild mushrooms with soft egg - umami rich lovely earthiness. At the end it started to get a little rich but wonderful for a nice winter night.
roasted cauliflower with cumin - tasted very much like a Mexican influenced dish with the cilantro and lime flavors. It was a lot of cauliflower and there was none left when we were finished.
The only miss was the gnocchi with cauliflower/blue cheese sauce and cabbage. Everything on the plate was great except for the gnocchi. The gnocchi was pan fried with a nice crisp on the outside but dry and way too big. Definitely not soft pillows.
Would definitely recommend. Compares favorably to Animal.