Monday, October 18, 2010

K-ZO (DineLA)

My next DineLA adventure was inspired by His Majesty, King Arthur.  He spoke great things about Chef Keizo and his extraordinary sushi skills.  Too bad King Arthur wasn't around this time to foot the bill to his pharm rep buddies.  Lucky for us, the DineLA menu offered 3 courses at $44, which actually still  amounts to a significant amount of $$ after tax, tip, and drinks.   As long as the food isn't atrocious and the portions bitesize and I am dining in good company, you won't find me bitching and moaning at the end of the night.

Bouillabaisse seafood soup, sashimi grade scallop, green mussels, shrimp, white fish, salmon
I was expecting something more exciting from this dish.  It was served as bowl with the seafood, and the broth was served table side out of a giant teapot.  The presentation was a step from the ordinary, but the soup splashed a bit and was on the tepid side.  And the seafood?  Well don't they look sad and lonely?  One shrimp.  One clam.  One mussel.  One white fish.  One salmon.  The broth didn't taste as authentically French as proclaimed.  I tasted a hint of soy sauce?  It did have a really rich deep flavor, but nothing that knocked my socks off.

Rokuten Mori (clockwise from top left) kobe beef tataki, whitefish tempura, tako yawarakani, albacore onion, oyster half shell, crab cucumber sunomono
Lo-Ma Linda and Bighead Talksalot (2nd oldest in the Talksalot family and brother to Dairy Queen) enjoyed the 6 mini delights.  I did not get to partake in these since I ordered the bouillabaisse, but I had a taste here and there.  They both seemed happier with their dishes than I with mine.  

Sauteed Striped Bass with Crispy Skin ratatouille, truffle sauce
The bass was notable for its perfectly crispy skin.  The flaky and crispy textures found balance in the soft sauteed vegetable textures from the ratatouille.  I love a good ratatouille with tomatoes, eggplant, onions.  Overall the dish was solid but nothing remarkable. 

Braised Short Rib steamed vegetables
Bighead Talksalot made a last minute switch from the sushi plate to the braised short ribs.  He said it tasted like something he had just last week.  It was not too different from a Chinese style beef stew.  I'm not sure if it was as fatty as it looks.

Purple Parfait vanilla ice cream, red beans, mochi balls, fruit, roasted almonds, Okinawa purple potato sauce
This was probably the dish that everyone seemed to love.  What seemed like your run of the mill parfait, was actually a layered concoction of Japanese flavors and textures.  The red beans, mochi balls, and purple potato sauce really elevated the dessert to a new level.   The regular sweetness you expect in dessert was uniquely tempered by the taste of unfamiliar ingredients like purple potato and red bean.  So simple, yet so lovely.

Chocolate Fondant Cake vanilla ice cream
Two things you will never miss on a DineLA menu is some variation on beef short ribs and chocolate cake.  I can't fault restaurants for this tactic.  The point of DineLA is to bring in the masses, and the masses like simple beef dishes and chocolatey sweet cakes, a la mode of course!   Well, this was just more of the latter.  Pretty standard, nothing bad, but nothing good.

Double Caramel Mousse chilled caramel mousse, caramel sauce
I've been on a bit of a caramel binge, salted caramel to be exact.  I guess it's to the point where now I see the words salted caramel where they don't even exist, because I could have sworn this dish was supposed to have salted caramel in it.   Alas, I had to just settle for the regular kind of caramel.   The mousse lacked that extravagantly luxurious texture you expect from whipped up sweetened fat.  It still had a subtle hint of caramel taste that was nice.  The caramel sauce was also a bit too heavy and thick.   None of this stopped me from almost finishing the whole thing.

So although I enjoyed K-Zo much more than The Water Grill, I still felt slightly disappointed.  The food was not bad, but it wasn't amazing.  I would definitely come back to try the sushi by Keizo himself, since that was really the subject of King Arthur's wild rantings.  

9240 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

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Tuan at October 18, 2010 at 7:40 PM said...

oy. his highness ranted about the sushi and yet you get a soup/broth thing, and the striped bass? i got the six dish appetizer thing which was pretty good, and the sushi entree, which tasted great. the fish was fresh, the eel was terrific (best i've had). i agree that the purple parfait was probably the best dessert option. it was seriously a party in my mouth--crunchy with some slivers of nuts, chewy with some mochi, and the smooth texture of the ice cream/purple stuff. and there were even two little sticks of poki!

Lynn at October 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM said...

i was in the mood for hot food!

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