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Rodell Flings Four Stars At Hinoki and The Bird; Johnson Pained By Pinot Provence

Hinoki's signature black cod

Hinoki's signature black codPhoto: Kevin Eats

This week, good 'ol Anne Fishbein catches the precise moment at Hinoki and The Bird in which the cedar slowly smolders on top of your black cod, offering a visual aide to Besha Rodell's evocation of the full-sensory pleasures to be found at David Myers' new restaurant. Though the critic thinks, "It would be easy to view Hinoki...as another flash-in-the-pan L.A. hot spot," she tempers her impression of the noisy bar and packed dining room with the observation, "That would be missing a lot of the point...when you stop to notice its subtleties, it's hard not to end up slightly awed by what Myers and Co. have achieved" at this "Western restaurant with Eastern sensibilities, and an Eastern attention to detail." Rodell finds so many must-try dishes here that she recommends repeat visits, before stating,"Texture is king on this menu. The chefs' attention to the sense of touch is clear in the melting softness of that black cod, in the silken beef tartare, in the wetness of the chili crab toast matched with the snap of cucumber underneath...if you slow down and really consider this food, there's a distinct carefulness and intent." Endowing Myers' new place with a rare four stars, she concludes, "It takes an extreme level of dedication to create an experience this flawless. You won't just taste it; you'll also see it, feel it and breathe it in." [LAW]

Down in O.C., Brad A. Johnson hardly feels as though he's been transported to the City of Lights at Patina's Pinot Provence, admitting that he feels, "strangely unsettled when I'm the only person (or one of few) eating in an eerily empty restaurant." From the frozen fries to the unpleasantly sticky frog's legs to the escargot lost in "stale pastry shells," the critic deems the French dishes the least successful here, bemoaning the understaffed service and "a time when Pinot Provence felt important...Like a faded chateau that's been left to gather dust, there is still so much potential for a rebirth here. But empty restaurants speak volumes, and convincing diners to return to a place they long ago gave up on is always a challenge." One star goes to the self-proclaimed "Best French Restaurant [in] OC." [OC Register]

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