Duck into Sa’Moto next door to the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood and exhale. Surrounded by a blend of famed Los Angeles art deco and Asian pacific design, enveloped in modernized funk music, and you cannot help but expect an evening of intersections. It comes as no surprise, given Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s track record of effortlessly blending eastern and western flavors.
Sitting at the bar we were greeted by engaging and excellent service and began with two of their amazing cocktails recommended by our amazing bartender, Al, – a “Picnic” and an “In the Grass”. Both remarkable but I’m sure you cannot go wrong with their drink menu.
For our first course, we finally settled on Hamachi Tacos ($18 for two) and an order of edamame ($6). The tacos were a great aperitif – very light, very clean, and an amazing fusion of Asian and Central American flavors. The edamame was great and certainly more than enough for two.
From the sushi menu, we decided on the Lobster Tempura Roll ($24 per roll with 6 large pieces) and the Softshell Crab Tempura Roll ($16 per roll with 6 pieces). The lobster roll is elegant with butter lettuce and asparagus that compliments the lobster well. The crab roll was the fan favorite, though, also with butter lettuce and cucumber – it’s a great way to get your soft shell crab fix without the mess!
On recommendation from our server, we got Chef Morimoto’s Signature Buri Bap ($32) which we easily split between the two of us. The dish is served in a searing hot bowl and the yellowtail in the dish is seared on the side while the server mixes in the egg (optional) in with the rice, sauce, and vegetables. It was a remarkably fresh take on the rice dish and highly recommended.
We finished with another staff favorite: the tofu cheesecake ($12). Topped with a green tea sauce, the tofu cheesecake had an amazing consistency and was reminiscent of green tea mochi filling (Trader Joe’s Green Tea Mochi fans, this is a must-try).
For those looking for a new take on pan Asian cuisine, Sa’Moto is for you. The atmosphere is swanky and modern but relaxed and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable. The icing on the cake is that, upstairs, the nightclub opens at 10 – with a light dinner and some amazing cocktails it is a great way to either end or start the night.
* A partnership between Sam Nazarian, Founder, and CEO of sbe and the new Disruptive Restaurant Group, and Chef Masaharu Morimoto, take-out will be available soon on C3’s Go by Citizens app and C3 platform.