Monday, March 27, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha House

There is nothing budgety about this entry (does the tip to park in the covered parking just north of the restaurant instead of valeting to save you a couple bucks count?) but our night at Geisha House was just so damn good that I just wanted to write about it.

When B was in town last time in February, Les and I gave him our deluxe-on-a-dime LA experience; In & Out outings, a by donation yoga class at Brian Kest’s Power Yoga, lots of Manhattan & Venice beach time and the previously blogged Bodega de Cordova wine bar. Although no amount of good time was sacrificed by our thrifty hosting skills, I felt I owed him at least one outing to a hyped-up Hollywood hotspot during his stay this time around.

I’ve been Geisha House several times before and reckon it’s one of the handful of ballyhoo’ed Hollywood spots whose food & scene live up to all the ballyhoo’ing.

Inside, the luscious Tokyo-pop décor—a curved photo-mural of the Tokyo skyline, padded kimono-print walls, a red, triple-decker center tower of stacked fireplaces warming up the dining area—made for a fun and visually stimulating backdrop for our sushi-eating.

With a menu made for sharing, our party of four ordered a bunch of hot and cold plates and sushi to split. We started off our dinner clinking our uni-shooter glasses, toasting to “yummy dinners”; the slippery-smooth texture and briny taste of the sea urchin mixed well with the sweet and peppery vinegar concoction. The double order of spicy tuna-topped crispy rice cakes satiated my current obsession them (the best—and original—are from The Valley’s Sushi Katsu-ya restaurant). We also filled up with spicy-fried calamari, crispy wontons with tuna sashimi, fuji apple and unagi sauce, Chesakpeake Bay soft-shell roll, ‘911’ jalapeno-topped spicy tuna roll and albacore garlic roll with tobiko. The Mongolian lamb chops weren’t as good as I recalled—a tad overcooked—but the filet mignon steak with seasame dipping sauce was way tastier and tender than I remembered so we evened out.

Although stuffed, it wasn’t really an option not to get dessert. The soufflé-like molten chocolate cake was rich without being too sweet and although Jess picked the velvety-smooth coconut crème brulee, I think I ate most of it.

The place ended up being pretty busy for a rainy Monday night, but we decided to skip Geisha’s bar area and call it a night after dinner. Including a bottle of sake and a cocktail, our night set us back $70 each but our happy night of great food with new and old friends was totally worth it.

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