Jason Park’s connection to culinary ingenuity began before he was even born. His grandmother, a native Korean, began experimenting with blending Japanese and Korean cooking styles after she studied in Japan. She passed on her techniques and recipes to her daughter, who did the same to a young Jason.
From a young age, Jason showed his affinity for gourmet food by dutifully watching international cooking shows and sounding a trumpet whenever he bit into a perfectly salted popcorn. During college at UCLA, he dabbled in biology and psychology before returning to his true passion for cooking. After spending the next few years honing his skills in the kitchens of restaurants in Los Angeles and Osaka, he opened the doors of his own establishment as the executive chef.
At Maru, Jason draws on his grandmother’s principles of culinary fusion as he blends the flavors and textures of French and Japanese fare. He assembles dishes that range from Mediterranean risotto to sushi rolls using an ever-changing assemblage of seasonal ingredients, which he hand-selects each week at the Santa Monica farmers' market. He also has fresh fish flown in overnight from Japan’s seafood markets.
To complement Maru's continent-spanning dishes, sommeliers assemble balanced lists of local California wines, imported French blends, and Japanese sakes.
From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Mushroom Medley - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and Chicken Karaage. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, grilled ahi tuna, or chicken with basil sauce until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
Fresh, flavorful sushi is only half of the story at Japon Bistro. The other? Carefully paired pours from an artisan assortment of sake, stocked by owner and sake expert Clarence Wong, also known as Koji. His seasonal selections complement unique rolls, such as the spicy, jalapeno and-salmon-filled Southwest, or the New Age, featuring tuna, salmon, and albacore topped with a secret-recipe sauce. A selection of noodles and teriyaki entrees satisfy diners who prefer their raw food cooked. The drinks and dishes unite to create a dining experience that has won a recommendation from the Michelin Guide, and been named amongst the area's best by Citysearch.com and Pasadena Magazine.
Culture 22 stocks its carnivore-pleasing menu with porterhouses, bacon-topped burgers, and seafood. Peppercorn-crusted 12-ounce new york steak au poivre bathes in a cognac sauce, and a dozen oysters paired with inventive dipping sauces from the raw bar set taste buds out to sea. The signature New Mexican–style green-chile burger imbues a half-pound of beef with piquant Southwestern flavors, accompanied by french fries that, like wooden boards in a martial-arts studio, are hand-cut. As diners divvy up jumbo cocktail shrimp, servers ferry cocktails and beer to ebony four-top tables set aglow by chandelier and candle lighting.
White is the traditional color of an artist's canvas. At Zushi Restaurant, however, the canvases come in shades of aquamarine, cobalt, watermelon, and lemon yellow. It's onto this colorful collection of dinnerware that chefs plate sushi in startling shades and variations, with garnishes such as orchids, orange slices, and wasabi "leaves" completing each still life. The rolls themselves range from simple to elaborate. The standard list includes sushi with a single element, such as quail egg, scallops, or sweet shrimp. By nature a minimalist art form, Zushi's sashimi nevertheless demonstrates inventiveness with the lemon tako—alternating layers of octopus and lemon, accompanied by a blossom-shaped dish of sesame oil for dipping.
It's with the more complex rolls that Zushi's chefs really flex their creative muscles. The addition of heat to the preparation of baked and tempura maki adds contrasting textures and temperatures to the table. The deep-fried california roll sports a cloak of crispy batter. The warm outer layers of the baked barbecue beef roll mask the cool fresh tuna at its core. Heat is also prominent, twice, in the spicy barbecue pork, or once in the shrimp teppan yaki. House saki—served hot or cold—can extinguish or augment the fire in one's mouth, accordingly.
From the deep-fried popcorn lobster to the banana tempura dessert, A'Float Sushi's menu is a ripe with Japanese dishes prepared with creative flair. But sushi rolls are where the chefs really excel, from classic California or spicy tuna rolls, to green mussel rolls and rolls made with honey walnut shrimp tempura. Entrees, meanwhile, are a bit more traditional, featuring choices such as deep-fried pork tonkatsu served with salad, rice, and soup.