Sa’Moto is the new and hip dinner must at SBE’s Doheny Room in West Hollywood. We tried this restaurant back in early December, just in time for Omicron to hijack all of our foodie plans. Now with the latest pandemic wave calming down, we wanted to bring Sa’Moto and what an incredible experience it was front and center.
What is Sa’Moto? Well, the restaurant opened this past September of 2021 and it is a Japanese culinary experience you haven’t experienced yet (trust us). Sa’Moto is brought to us by the genius Chef Morimoto, who has even snagged a Michelin Star (What? Yes!). If you’re throwing on your running shoes, or grabbing your fob to rush over there, we absolutely understand…it IS that good. The decor is all Hollywood glam, with excellents portraits you’ll wish you could take home. If you’re a photography lover like us we won’t blame you for wanting to go just to check out the superb photography collection they have on display.
We kicked off our dinner with their Spicy Wonton (A MUST). Their wonton consists of ground chicken, mushrooms, and a seasame chili oil that is ready to kick your tastebuds into gear. The appetizer is both filling and flavorful, which is always a ++ for any dining experience. The fine layers of the wonton pair very nicely with the kick it provides.
Our favorite item on the menu was Sa’Moto’s Popcorn Shrimp Tempura. This trio comes in three distinct flavors which make you feel as if you’ve gotten three appetizers for the adventure of one. The shrimp are tossed in sweet gochujang, wasabi cream and finally a saffron aioli.
Where are our seafood lovers? Sa’Moto’s take on the Tuna Tar Tar is a dish you absolutely cannot forgoe if you love seafood. The tuna was so fresh it melted in our mouth, and the flavors! Oh the flavors felt as if they were bursting with freshness, every bite puts the high quality of this tuna to the test as your taste buds will be singing its praises in delight. And of course it isn’t Sa”Moto without a twist on a classic appetizer. This particualr Tuna Tar Tar comes with caviar, and a few condiments like chives to pair your tuna and caviar with alongside dashi soy. The dish is served on ice letting you know that it will remain fresh and chilled throughout your entire dining experience. We repeat: “A MUST.”
It would be criminal to try Sa’Moto and not try Chef Morimoto’s signature dish. We just had to order Chef Morimoto’s signature Buri Bap. The dish is served in a piping hot stone bowl, where the server cracks an egg and mixes it into the food as it slowly cooks in its flavor due to the stone bowl’s ultra hot temperature. The result? A carnival for your tastebuds. If you’re wondering what Buri Bap is, don’t worry we’re getting to that. On a bed of rice you will find fresh yellow tail, daikon, spinach, zenmai, and a sweet garlic soy sauce. These ingredients mixed together with the fresh yolk of an egg (whic miraculously does not scramble but blend) is a treat for any and all tastebuds. Don’t come to Sa’moto and miss out on this dish. It is THE dish to have.
Keeping things casual we knew we had to try one of Sa’Moto’s many varied Baoh-Mi. After quite a bit of back and forth, and intense deliberation (hey this is a serious decision, okay?!) we settled on trying their pork Baoh-Mi. The flavors are melt in your mouth delicious and , the pork belly comes in a panko fried batter within the Baoh-Mi bun.
We paired our meal with a couple of cocktails per our server’s recommendation. If you like drinks on the sweeter side, this cocktail list was custom made for you. As people who generally prefer the spice in life when it comes to our liquor we were pleasantly surprised by Sa’Moto’s “In The Grass”. The ingredients read as if they will be super sweet, but in actuality the drink was crisp and refreshing. “In The Grass,” contains: sake, sochu, plum wine, yuzu, and shiso.
Finally, no Japanese restaurant experience can be considered complete if you haven’t tried their sake. We opt’d for a small carafe of their Junmai Dai-g Injo sake. Be forwarned, this sake is served chilled, but the flavors pair beautifully with all of the available seafood on the menu. This is one drink order we’d certainly come back for time and again.
Sa’Moto is located at 9077 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. We advise you come prepared to valet, or call a ride service, as parking can be scarce in this section of West Hollywood.