Best Japanese Restaurant - 2007
Parkland is placidly rich horse country. You can drive for miles and never see much beyond green paddocks and the occasional glimpse of a McMansion lurking behind electronic gates. But you have to hand it to the moneyed: They don't skimp when it comes to feeding their nags (beet pulp, soy oil, molasses) or themselves (uni, toro, caviar). Chef Kevin Lee had the good sense to plunk down his fashionable fusion restaurant in the place most likely to attract the Taverniti and BCBG set, and he woos them with kobe steak, foie gras, and port wine reductions creatively twisted to resemble traditional Japanese fare. It's L.A. by way of Kyoto. A plate of tuna tataki comes dabbed with duck liver and American paddlefish caviar, a seafood salad tosses octopus and crab with mango, and "duck two ways" drizzles grilled duck breast with hoisin lime sauce and sets it next to a little trio of the most delicious flash-fried minced duck meat egg rolls you'll ever burn your tongue on. Of course, the place is a madhouse, with the pretty people lined up three deep at the bar. Make a reservation, and be sure to touch up your highlights.