thank you all for your recommendations for my girlfriend's and my LA trip. we ended up going to Koi and had a really wonderful experience! the spicy albacore with crispy onions and spicy tuna w/crispy rice were particularly memorable. server's sake recommendations were spot on and introduced us to a range of sakes we had never experienced.
on the downside, we inadvisably followed a stranger's recommendation and ventured to Moonshadows in Malibu. so very bad in every conceivable way! we were hoping for a memorable, romantic meal at the shore and, instead, were introduced to (relatively) expensive Olive Gardenesque fare!
had a great time, nonetheless! thanks again.