Yoya Takahashi is the new sushi chef at Hamasaku in West Los Angeles, joining recent addition Wonny Lee, the executive chef (and Bazaar by Jose Andres alum) who has brought modern touches to a revitalized Japanese-California menu. Joining dishes such as black cod with pine nut praline sauce and bone marrow with shiso gremolata are Takahashi’s sushi: trumpet fish garnished with its liver and uni topped with seared scallops, for example. Takahashi, who was chef de cuisine at Sashi in Manhattan Beach and headed the sushi bar for Makoto Okuwa, is bringing a traditional sensibility (with some modernist twists) to the sushi restaurant popular for its star-catering rolls.
What’s coming up next on your menu? [I’m] going to change the rice to haiga mai. It’s rice with the germ left. It’s between brown rice and white rice. Haiga means germ in Japanese. It has the nutrients of brown rice but texture of white rice.
Latest ingredient obsession? Micro shungiku (chrysanthemum leaf).
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? The Gorbals. I like their small plates.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Dehydrator.
What’s your favorite breakfast? Traditional Japanese breakfast. Natto (fermented soy beans), egg, grilled fish, miso soup and haiga mai rice.
Hamasaku, 11043 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 479-7636, www.hamasakula.com.