I'd given David Myer's Sona around 4 tries - once by sharing plates with friends, the next 3 times were all with chef's tasting menu.
And none of those plates were bad. They were aways good, just never great. Which is how I felt about "The Bird". Snapper grapefruit and limeleaf. Quite pretty on the plate, and it was a little boring. When I think about it - comparing apple to oranges, but in this case I'm comparing raw fish dishes - that any of 10 course from Mori would have stand out more. Or as a better comparison - the crudo plate at Il Grano. Or The Vin Bar at Valentinos. A bit too subtle which can then border on the bland. And that's the problem I had with everything at Hinoki Bird.
Lime leaf Beef tartare, pickled Al jalapeno, parmigiano. My date said "It's better an Angelini." Sure it's not the same thing, but if you spin a classic, it should be as good. Actually, it should be ever better. Speaking of conventional or classic preparations - why change something unless it is as good or better? If you don't, it's just a disappointment.
Salt & pepper fried calamari. Best thing here and the most conventional.
Chili crab toast, spicy cucumber, coriander. Not bad, okay I tried it, didn't love it. What else do you have?
Miso clam chowder, lardon, celery leaf. On paper - this should be great. It had all the ingrediants to look like a str and-out, stellar dish, but it wasn't. The clam chowder at the A frame - clams in lemongrass broth with coconut milk, green curry and pancetta made me want to lick the bowl clean. Seasalt Fish Grill - an upscale fast food place - had better New England chowder (actually, their chowder - tried once - was pretty good. A few days later I had the New England clam chowder at Blue Plate Oysterette - not so good. Hinoki/Bird's was especially creamy, but just felt like a guilty pleasure without the pleasure. And I'm a bit of a sucker for heavy and rich (I'll make beef stroganoff in the summer), the flavors just didn't meld into a stronger sum.
Lobster roll, green curry, thai basil Pumpkin toast, miso jam, goat cheese. Again - where's the beef? Or rather, the lobster. My lunch date suggested that curry is not something that enhances the subtle taste of lobster. Not sure if this is the problem, but a lobster roll is hard to screw up. And this one was a little bland. The jet-black great was interesting, but only that. Is it a bread I would crave? No. Any breads off Joel Robuchon's bread cart were better. Or Guy Savoy's bread cart. Or anyone of a dozen restaurants I can think of (Melisse's bread tray, or the baguette at Maison Giraud). All kind of breads can make me near salivate when thinking of them. Not this black bread (which really was black, not a dark brown!) either. Interesting though. (Maybe they should bring in Noubar from Maison Giraud and see what he could do with making coal-black bread).