West Hollywood: Japanese-Mexican Tasting Menu at Ainoko, Petite Taqueria

sake

 

Ainoko is the new tasting menu counter inside of Petite Taqueria. Ainoko translates to “half-breed” which Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto takes pride in being both Japanese and Mexican. He learned to cook from both his grandmothers and this menu is his ode to that background.

They have a couple of seatings a night and the reservations are separate from Petite Taqueria. The tasting menu is reasonably priced for all the courses you get.

banchan course

 

We started with the banchan course. The small bites included Tokyo potato salad, pickled persimmon, pickled Persian cucumbers, roasted pumpkin and radishes.

Ahi tuna tostada, the Slide

 

Immediately biting into the tuna tostada, I was in foodie heaven. The fish was marinated in chipotle soy and hugged a piece of avocado. It was one of my favorite bites. I also liked the slide which was nori blini with smoked roe.

 

Ramune

 

I decided to go non-alcoholic for dinner and had a Ramune soda. But I thought it was fun to drink it out of a cool glass.

charred white corn soup

 

Usually I say goodbye to good corn and tomatoes after summer is over but this charred white corn soup made me a believer in fall/winter produce.

market lettuces

 

We also had a nice salad of market lettuces, beets, sea beans served with labneh.

beau soleil oyster, Hokkaido scallop

 

The hits kept coming. The Beau Soleil oysters was awesome with Hennessy mignonette. And I loved the leche de tigre and aji amarillo flavors with the raw scallop.

garbanzo taco, pork toro

 

We had a few different tacos through out the tasting menu. The garbanzo taco was another winner. I could have sworn there was meat or lard in taco for the intense flavor but Chef John-Carlos said it was vegetarian all the way. It was garbanzo three ways; crispy, braised and as  hummus.

On the flip side, we had the pork toro which he said was his homage to the Night + Market pork toro. The pork rested gently on lettuce with a Fuji apple salad.

aguachile

The shrimp aguachile was another favorite bite. The aggressively green curry was a nice variation on the spicy as heck sauces I’ve had in the past.

hot oil hamachi

I remember the first time I had hamachi (yellowtail) and it’s still one of my favorite things to get at sushi. Here Chef John-Carlos pours hot oil and togarashi peanuts on top of the beautiful fish. I also liked the counterpoint of the citrus emulsion.

tako taco

 

Although the languages of Japanese and Spanish are not at all similar, they almost sound the same sometimes. And the tako (octopus) as a taco was a punny play on words. The miso aioli is a great addition to the taco.

duck confit banh mi-torta

 

There’s probably a sandwich in every culture. At least that’s what people who call hot dogs sandwiches would argue. Is this sandwich a banh mi or a torta? Why not both? Stuffed with duck confit and pate, who cares? Just eat it and be happy.

A5 Wagyu for the DIY taco

 

For the final savory course, we got in on the cooking action. We were given a few strips of A5 Wagyu beef to do our thing with a mini sukiyaki pot.

steaming pot for the Wagyu beef

 

We swished around the beef for a few seconds. Really, you don’t want to overcook the beef.

A5 Wagyu beef taco!

 

And then you make your own tacos. I was so full but I ate every last bit of it!

dessert

 

To finish off the meal, we had a simple scoop of ice cream.

Ainoko is easily in my top 10 meals for 2017.

 

Ainoko at Petite Taqueria

755 N La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069  —  (310) 855-7185

© The Minty 2017

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