Come with us to Japan, or well…to West Hollywood where Gozen carves out an authentic Japanese dining experience.
We went on an adventure this week in Japanese cuisine thanks to the hand picked dishes selected at Gozen. Gozen – Japanese Sake Bistro is located at 521 N La Cienega Blvd right in the heart of West Hollywood. You’re welcomed immediately and ensonced in a beautiful open kitchen concept dining room. The traditional Japanese art which adorns the walls of Gozen are part of the owner’s personal collection, dating back to 1800’s Japan. The same can be said of the fine china which is used to serve tea and sake. Because we were there to do a media review Gozen very graciously provided us with a specially curated media menu, taking us on a tour de force of the best their menu has to offer. Truly Gozen has something for everyone.
We kicked off our dining experience with Gozen – which is Japanese for five good things, and indeed they were. As you can see below we began with Smoked Duck and Tapenade, Egg Benedict (yes in the egg shell!) topped with Caviar, Dried Persimmon Cream Cheese Sandwich, House-made Avocado Tofu (the consistency reminded us of Flan) and finally for our fifth delight the Cucumber and Crab Salad marinated in Vinegar. Everything was bursting with flavors. Gozen does an outstanding job of combining flavor palettes that not only compliment one another but create a symphony in your mouth.
Below is the Sashimi we were lucky enough to sample. Our favorite was the Toro, but to be honest all the fish were so fresh, the quality felt as if the pieces had been plucked fresh out of the ocean upon arrival.
Next we tried an assortment of traditional sushi, again the quality of the fish was mind blowing. It also included a rather adventurous try of their Uni over rice with Salmon eggs and Gold flakes. Menu’s like this are a delighht because you’re able to try things you might normally never venture to order, which makes for delightful discoveries of new flavors.
The next item we sampled was their Japanese Noodle – Yume. What is that? Well if you don’t know (we didn’t) it is a cold soup which would make for a perfecrt summer dish in our humble opinion. As you can see below the noodle dish is actually Japanese Sōmen noodles in a Tomato sauce with Japanese Mackerel.
After all these delectable flavors we had a mini pause in our dining session to try their Pink Grapefruit Granité which serves as a palate cleanser, moving you into the next course.
This is Gozen’s meat dish Hana. The Kobe beef is sliced so finely it melts in your mouth, it is brought table side as the chef lightly sears it to perfection right before your eyes. This dish is served with a cracked egg as dipping sauce. This style of Kobe beef is called, “Zabuton” Sukiyaki.
This is Gozen’s Rice and Soup Yume&Hana. This truffle rice sent us on a one way ticket to flavor heaven. It is Japanese seasoned mixed rice with Porcini Mushrooms, served with Pickled Egg Yolk and slices of Truffle. The server brings the bowl to you table and flawlessly mixed the fresh cracked egg into the hot rice right before your eyes. This dining experience is worth the trip to Gozen alone. There is something that never ceases to be exciting when witnessing the completion of a fresh dish at your table.
Accompanying these two dishes was the minced shrimp and sea lettuce served in a clear Daishi soup. This was so light, if you love miso soup, you must give this a try, alongside their green tea.
Finally we have come to dessert. We simply can’t pick which one we loved more, but below you’ll see Gozen’s house made Green Tea Basque cheese cake and their Monaka, which is Japanese red bean paste and green tea ice cream sandwiched between two thin yet crisp michi wafers.
Gozen of course is famous for their Sake. Our lovely server Ayano-san was kind enough to tell us the history behind the different type of sake’s and why many of them can be served hot or cold as well as why flavor profiles change based on temperature. You’ll have to go to Gozen and try their many Sake options as we wouldn’t dream of interpreting the level of knowledge and expertise Ayano-san shared with us.