I had guests visiting from out of town (Taiwan) this past weekend.
Lunch @ Sushi Roku in Santa Monica.
Lunch was good. Yellowtail sashimi with ponzu, chili sauce. Tuna sashimi with avocados. (not enough tuna) Braised cod with yuzu butter sauce. Salmon skin salad. (chunky, oily, big bits of skin with tuna attached, yum.) Tuna cigare springrolls. (always a crowd pleaser)My 13 year old cousin had the beef teriyaki/ tempura lunch special and the sushi lunch special. Everything was good except for the lunch specials. The beef came in a very small piece, the tempura was surprisingly quite crisp and light, but the sushi was like mini nigiri. It was very small nigiri. It did not taste bad. But it was like they were trying to save the rice and fish for the real nigiri orders or something. But hey, what do you expect from the lunch special menu? My cousin was very pleased though, especially with the ocean view. Service was very good, from the waitress to the busboys.
Dinner @ Musha in Santa Monica.
Dinner was consistently delicious except the dessert. The tarte crust was too hard.
Be warned, I saw that the restaurant got a C rating and wondered about that.... ummm... and I used to go there a lot...
Table torched saba (mackerel), yellowtail sashimi, albacore salad, grilled salmon kama, steak x2 grilled at the table, aski (mushroom/asparagus), somen noodles (these were a surprisingly good), appetizer sampler including tofu cheese, cold eggplant, harasume, and apple tarte.
My favorite is the table torched saba. The skin becomes less chewy.
Brunch @ Blueberry in Santa Monica.
2 orders of the hungry man, one with blueberry pancakes and the other with chocolate chip pancakes. I normally don't like to eat pancakes but these were soooo good. I like my pancakes thin but they still had a great texture and softness. I thought the chocolate chip pancakes were too sweet...
Tuna melt. This was served on an english muffin instead of regular bread and I thought it was on the bland side, maybe because they use swiss cheese. Bland on bland on bland. I haven't tasted their other sandwiches but I will stick to their breakfast food next time I go there.
Blueberry waffles. These too were quite good, but I prefer the pancakes. Entirely personal.
Florentine Omelette was a little different. I like tomatoes with my eggs and the pesto sauce with eggs were refreshing.
Dinner @ Chaya Venice.
We were supposed to go to Menemsha but we got hungry around 6:30 so ended up at Chaya. The bar area was very scene-y. Our waiter seemed very absent minded. As we would have to ask for wine or water repeatedly. We were also very rushed as well. They were probably trying to turn the tables for everyone coming in at 8pm. Other than that, the food was all right. Not bad. Not bad at all. They are having a garlic menu right now.
Fried calamari appetizer with curry mayonnaise. This was very good. Crispy skin and the mayonnaise really mellowed out the curry flavor.
Seared albacore tuna on top of some onions and garlic sauce. This wasn't bad either but portions were small. Surprisingly, the tuna was not overwhelmed by the sauce.
Cesar salad. Good. Lots of shaved cheese, which I like.
Cod from the garlic menu, this was the best dish of the night I thought. It was topped with some rice crispy like thing which gave it a crunch and nice cream sauce.
Halibut from the garlic menu, I hated this. The sauce reminded me of teriyaki and it came with a side of grey mashed potatoes and bok choy. (I eat bok choy with rice at home when I'm scrounging for something to eat. Bah!) You are warned.
Seared scallops wrapped in steak with mustard cream sauce from the regular menu. The scallops were delicious. THey did not overcook the scallops, thank goodness. I thought the steak seemed superfluous since it was bland, especially with mustard in the sauce. It would have been ok if I didn't have any meat wrapped around my scallop and less mustard in the sauce.
Lamb chops and lamb milanese from the garlic menu. Ok. I don't understand why they had breaded dry lamb milanese with tomoto sauce and then 2 chops. The lamb chops were overcooked so we sent them back. They were very good once we got them back, nice and pink, juicy. Went especially well with the side of risotto. It felt like the chef ran out of ideas for a side...
I would go back to Chaya, it just wasn't that great for the price we paid. At least at sushi roku, if you order one item, for example the cod, it's not really muddled with a bunch of things on the side. Why ruin a good thing? Seems like each entree could have been better if you took away one side, or just pls execute everything at the same level. But I understand Chaya is a different type of restaurant.
Sunday lunch @ Bay Cities:
After all that fancy food, a godmother with the works really hit the spot. Note: I waited for 45 minutes.
So that's it.