Monday, March 31, 2003

chaya venice

Consider Chaya Venice. Its bar scene is definitely reminiscient of a Hal's 30something meet market. It's restaurant area is an upscale grill and fish menu. I can't decide if I like it or not. This was my third voyage there. Not feeling like doing a heavy steak, I instead did the three-appetizer thing that I sometimes like to do. Which meant a caesar salad (okay, nothing special), popcorn shrimp (fried, tasty but uninspired), and lobster enchilada (finally, something delicious).

The key to Chaya is to get sequestered in one of the booths in the back. You bypass much of the loud noise, you cozy in with your group, and you're given a good perch to people watch. And there are people to watch, oh yes.

My favorite neighborhood sushi place is Hirozen, over on Beverly Blvd, across the street from Mandarette. It doesn't have the glitz and bridge-and-tunnel pick-up scene of Sushi Roku. It doesn't have the fascism of the "eat this or else" Sasabune. And it's reasonably priced and better sushi, compared to Cafe Sushi, it's nearby neighbor.

I went there Friday night, and while waiting for my friend to arrive, outside on the little benches, I made small talk with another waiting customer, former Ben Stiller Show/Newsradio star Andy Dick. He described Hirozen as his neighborhood cafeteria. Nice guy. Good taste in sushi.