Ainoko joins the growing number of specialized chef counters that are popping up all over Los Angeles. Located inside Petite Taqueria, the Mexican-inspired omakase multi-course experience is served at a small angular bar at the back of the restaurant.
Chef John Carlos Kuramoto created the menu, which has two seatings for 10 diners a night. Kuramoto has worked at some of LA’s top restaurants including Providence, Michael’s, and Campanile.
As we were seated, Kuramoto explained that “Ainoko” translates into “half breed,” and the menu reflects a fusion of Mexican and Japanese flavors.
We began with a soothing cup of Oolong tea and Ainoko’s specialty cocktail, a Japanese Highball, which was refreshing blend of citrus, whiskey, and sparkling water.
Next we sampled a Banchan course of small bites of roasted pumpkin with pickled persimmon, Tokyo potato salad, and Persian cucumbers pickled with tsukemono. Next came charred white corn soup, a small Ahi tuna tostada with avocado and chipotle soy sauce, and a serrano chile escabeche.
The subsequent courses included a nori blini with smoked roe; oyster and Hawaiian shrimp in a green chile sauce; Hamachi with hot oil and citrus emulsion; a pork and garbanzo taco with hummus; grilled octopus and miso aioli on a tortilla; a duck confit slider with chicken pate; and a sukiyaki Japanese Wagyu taco.
Dessert was a refreshing green tea ice cream topped with mocha donut churro balls and a black sesame seed topped caramel budino.
We loved the combination of flavors in this unique Mexican-Japanese omakase menu. Kuramoto changes up the dishes every few weeks so while the dishes on offer could be different than we experienced, we can return soon for an entirely new experience.
Shockingly we haven’t round up the nation’s top fusion restaurants, but here are the top Mexican restaurants.