January in Paradise Cove

Restaurant: Paradise Cove

Location: 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265. 310-457-2503

Date: Jan 16, 2011

Cuisine: American

Summary: Great place to spend the day. Food is fine but hardly inspired.


Sunday morning rolled around, January 16, and the temperature was in the 80s. The hardships of Southern California — so what to do?  Go to the beach!

We headed up the Malibu coast to Paradise Cove. This joint isn’t my usual fare food wise, but they are superbly located in a quant beachy cove in Malibu, and they have tables on the beach and public chaises on the sand. A word of warning: if you go on a nice day, be prepared to wait. Sometimes as much as two hours for an outside table!

“Pineapple, Tequila, Mojito.” Gimmicky, yes. Tasty yes. I did wish the “glass” was bigger, really not that much volume had been hollowed out.

New England Clam Chowder.” I was a sucker for Clam Chowder long before I went to Boston for grad school, and I still am. This was a respectable contender in the arena. Not amazing, but lots of cream and butter.

Fish and Chips,” for the boy (2 years old). He was highly preferential to the chips.

Veggie Burger and fries.”

“Iced Seafood Sampler.” This was me. The concept is good, the execution wasn’t perfect. Certainly edible, and the fish was fresh. It was soaked fairly liberally in what seemed to be Italian dressing — not sure what I thought of that — and it isn’t the most exciting specimens. Small scallops, frozen king crab, octopus. Still, I enjoyed it.

Cocktail sauce and louis dressing.

Strawberry ice-cream,” came with the kid’s fish and chips. My son was much appreciative.

This is what you really come for. Umbrellaed and available chaise chairs.

On a gorgeous beach!

Food as Art: Sasabune

Restaurant: Sasabune [1, 2]

Location: 12400 Wilshire Blvd Ste 150 (South Carmelina Avenue) Los Angeles, CA 90025, (310) 820-3596

Date: October 29, 2010

Cuisine: Japanese

Rating: Excellent as always.

Today I went to one of my usual lunch spots, Sasabune. This is one of LA’s many top sushi joints. It’s an culinary descendant of the Nozawa school of “warm rice” sushi making. The best way to enjoy these places is with Omakase. I opted for the “Japanese Omakase” which means more “squirmy creatures,” and hence more fun for me.

The appetizer here is some kind of giant mollusk. It was served with pepper/yuzu relish and 10,000 year old sea salt. The clam has a taste similar to scallop, but with a firmer texture. Although salty (no duh) it’s very nice with the yuzu and salt.

Big-eye tuna (Maguro) and Toro. As is typical at this school of sushi place many of pieces already have sauces, and do not need soy sauce. If you are a sushi neophyte you should know that Toro is the fatty belly of the tuna, which means it tastes better. The Japanese rank Toro into different grades of honorability. This is fairly normal Toro (some get almost white with fat), but it melted in the mouth like butter.

I believe this was Tai (red snapper) and another white fish. The little bits of seasoning are customized to each fish and add a nice zing.

Oyster done two ways: raw with vinegar and spicy radish, the other baked dynamite. The later is richer, but the first has the pleasant briny taste of fine oysters.

Salmon with the traditional sesame and the sheet of seaweed stuff (which I love). A very nice Hamachi (yellowtail), with a little yuzu for kick. Giant clam, and sweet shrimp (raw). This last is sweet and soft and melts in the mouth.

Orange clam and two kinds of mackerel, Spanish and Japanese.

After a brief trip to the fryer, the sweet shrimp head makes a return appearance, tempura style. You eat the whole thing, the heat has denatured the chiton in the shell into a softer more sugary form (chiton is a quad sugar organic construct like cellulose).

Waste not, want not. The shrimp roe returns too, marinated in a nice tart vinegary ponzu.

My brother groaned at this from across the table, but I love both. Very sweet Ikura (salmon eggs), which pop in the mouth to release their sweet/salty flavor, and a very nice sweet Uni (sea urchin) — from the taste I would assume from Santa Barbara.

Ankimo (Monk fish liver) and sea eel. Yum! The liver was in a miso sauce. The eel of course is BBQ, with the sweet sauce.

Probably red snapper again? and maybe another cut of yellowtail.

Japanese sea scallop, with salt and yuzu. This is SO good.

This is actually an eel roll my brother ate. But we each got the blue crab hand roll before it. However, the Sasabune blue crab rolls are SO GOOD that we gobbled it down before I remembered to grab the camera and snap a picture. If I hadn’t been full I would have ordred another.

Don’t miss my detailed post comparing the American and Japanese Omakases. CLICK HERE.