Santa Monica: Sushi and More at Maru

Maru in Santa Monica

Maru in Santa Monica

 

Maru in Santa Monica has been closed for renovations but plans to re-open mid November. Just in time to enjoy more sushi and sashimi. But there’s plenty more at this modern restaurant headed up by Chef Jason Park who also does the desserts at the sweets shop, Ramekin in Los Feliz.

octopus

octopus

I was invited to a tasting which included this wonderful octopus dish to start our meal. The octopus was so fresh and had a good bite to it.

sashimi

sashimi

 

Chef Jason acknowledges he has great sushi chefs but one in particular earns his praise. The sashimi we were serve was impeccable. My favorite was the uni served in its spiky shell. The blue fin tuna was fantastic as well.

sushi

sushi

 

Would it be too greedy to ask for more sushi? But of course I didn’t knowing we had many, many dishes to come. Fresh, pillow-y, soft, vibrant are adjectives that all come to mind. Each piece had so much personality. I fear my greed for sushi will haunt me as I think about the scallop and mackerel pieces again.

sushi

close up on the aji (mackerel)

 

Ah, yum.

cherry tomato salad

cherry tomato salad

 

I love tomatoes and I really enjoy cherry tomatoes. Yet, I was still surprised how wonderful the cherry tomato salad was. The dressing of house made ricotta, shiso pesto and sherry vinaigrette was the best.

Alaska black cod

Alaska black cod

 

Chef Jason mentioned being Asian meant enjoying broth-y rice dishes. And I knew exactly what he was talking about. It reminds me of the times my grandmother and mother would add hot water to the rice pot to enjoy the last crispy bits. The Japanese has a breakfast with this concept except they use hot tea and eat the “porridge” with pickles. Thinking about this concept, it’s no surprise the Alaskan black cod worked so well in the Meyer lemon broth and half-browned rice. All I needed was a spoon.

 

crispy duck risotto

crispy duck risotto

 

To continue the theme, we also had the crispy duck risotto which some may recognize as Chef Jason’s signature dish he had at his restaurant in the Santa Clarita Valley. The duck confit is paired with a risotto cake and tomato sauce. I thought it was very modern and something you’d see at a high-end restaurant in Japan.

filet mignon

filet mignon

 

The plating for the filet mignon was so precise and lovely. It was like a painting and I was almost afraid to move the sauces around but you do because you want to taste the beef with the various glazes. This was very filling and good for friends who might not want only seafood.

pork belly

pork belly

 

The other option for meat eaters is the pork belly. I enjoyed the kale with this dish but was now in dire need of a digestive. I probably ate too much! Sake to the rescue! The booze also helps with cutting the fat.

panna cotta

panna cotta

 

My favorite dessert was then the light buttermilk panna cotta with the beautiful Wong Farms mango. I really enjoyed the subtle flavorings as well.

peach tart

peach tart

 

But knowing how much I liked the pastries at Ramekin, I couldn’t resist a bites of the peach tart and berry cobbler.

berry cobbler

berry cobbler

 

The renovations should be done at Maru in a couple of weeks. They took over the old Sasabune space so it’ll be neat to see how they personalize it to Maru’s distinctive character. And get more sashimi, sushi and desserts!

Maru

12400 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025  —  (310) 820-7240
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