Location: 244 San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Date: December 1, 2022
Hansei is Chris Ono’s debut concept presented by the historic Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC). Hansei, meaning self-reflection, Ono explores his roots as a fourth generation Japanese American to champion the cuisine and culture of Los Angeles’ Nikkei community. At Hansei, Ono brings years of kitchen experience from Michelin starred restaurants across the globe with each dish constructed on a Japanese philosophy adding a personal and contemporary touch that reflects growing up in Los Angeles. A beverage program centers around premium sake with wines from California-based Japanese American winemakers, and locally-crafted beer. Hansei’s three-part dining experience transitions courses throughout the center’s breathtaking new Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Center and historic James Irvine Japanese Garden, a tranquil oasis hidden in the middle of Little Tokyo.
You enter through the tranquil Japanese garden downtown at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.
Finally, arriving here:
First we began in this lounge area.
The sake menu.
We all brought Champagne.
Mushroom dashi with a bit of yuzu. Warm and very pleasant on this cold evening.
Oysters with ponzu jelly. Tasty.
A selection of squashes. Not really my thing as I don’t like squash.
Foie gras balls. Really tasty lumps of foie with some crunchy coating.
Then we moved into the sushi bar area.
Totally coincidentally we ran into Kirk and Edith!
A modern California Role. Crispy nori with crab, cucumber, and uni. I put the lemon on top right away and this overpowered the very lovely mix.
Buri sashimi with ponzu and grated daikon. Fish was great. Didn’t absolutely love the daikon.
The main course spread.
A bracing herb salad. Pretty nice.
Teriyaki beef with cabbage with miso. The meat was fine and the sauce a bit sweet but yummy, but the real winner was the cabbage. Awesome baked or roasted cabbage-crunch.
Rice. I love good Japanese rice, but I didn’t really like this one. And it was totally cold.
Pickles and radish. The radish was raw and unaltered and quite nice. The cucumbers were great.
Coconut Pana Cotta with Passionfruit. Not very sweet. Lovely though with a very dense coconut cream with tangy passionfruit.
Apple Cobbler. Pretty sweet. I just had a little because of the sugar.
Green tea crisps. Not my thing.
Green Tea. Very nice.
With the chef
Hansei was a unique and enjoyable experience. The food was quite good, but subtle. It wasn’t huge. If it was the old days (before my diet) Erick and I would have gone for second dinner, but I restrained myself. The whole garden thing was very interesting.