99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Hinoki & the Bird

photo by Anne Fishbein

A year after opening, David Myers’ Japanese/Californian restaurant Hinoki & the Bird hasn’t changed much. The menu is basically the same as it was upon launch, and the room, tucked away in a Century City condominium building, feels no less vibrant. But these things wowed originally and they wow still — that hinoki-scented cod is still one of the best dishes in town, the fish so tender that it seems poised on the precipice between fatty liquid and silken solid, the skin blackened and sweet. The lobster roll, with its sweet flesh set against a black charcoal roll, is still as exciting as before, a triumph of subtle spicing and bold conception. The crudo dishes are still delicate, complex and surprising. Vegetables, from salty grilled mushrooms to a decadent baked yam, show off the chef’s mastery of doing things simply and well. And the patio portion of the dining room is still one of the most magical places to eat in town, like a darkly enchanted dream.

-- Besha Rodell