My friend Cindy wanted to spend a day shopping, eating, and getting our nails done, so we chose to spend our day in the neighborhood around Robertson in Beverly Hills. Robertson is paparazzi central during the day with numerous stores and restaurants which attract both celebrities and their stalkers; tourists get can a taste of the Hollywood lifestyle here and for an out of towner like Cindy, it added an element of entertainment to our day together.
We went to Chaya because it had been nearly a year since we have gone there and they have since remodeled and hired a new chef; it was like going to a new restaurant in a familiar location. The remodel took away the outdated rattan fans and replaced them with a bamboo and white muslin garden, creating a relaxing atrium space in the center of the restaurant. It felt clean and peaceful and the food was as clean and fresh as the new space.
Nice crusty bread was offered with an olive tapenade as we sat down.
Cindy chose to start with the roasted beet salad with oranges, mizuna, goat cheese, and campari for $9. She adored the detail design of the goat cheese and delighted in the taste of the campari.
I began with the tuna tartare for $16. It was a great rendition of this classic, with lightly dressed fresh sashimi on an avocado base. The tasted bread accompaniment was a nice touch, adding a hearty crunchiness to the delicate tartare.
Cindy chose the tuna, tuna, tuna as her entree, with spicy tuna, tuna sashimi, and tuna tataki on a bed of mixed greens for $18. She asked for pickled ginger to accompany her dish, but enjoyed her salad without the accompaniment. She said it was the best tuna combination she has ever had (and she has had a lot of tuna).
I chose the soy glazed black cod with sesame soy dressing, bok choy, steamed rice, and a side of fried shittake mushrooms for $20. I love how Chaya Venice does their fish, and this branch is just as deft in their handling of fish; it was perfectly cooked and the sides were a nice contrast of textures with the crunchy tempura shittakes and the tender steamed bok choy. Although only the fish was soy glazed, the sides really did not need any sauce since the glaze on the rice added a nice accent without overpowering the main flavor of the fish.
We had no room for dessert so we paraded ourselves around Robertson, but no paparazzi were interested in photographing us; no matter, we preferred being happy rather than being famous anyway.