Television viewers might know Kuniko Yagi as a popular cheftestant from this season of Top Chef, but in Los Angeles she's known for her cuisine. And her newest venture is with David Myers at Hinoki & The Bird in Los Angeles' Century City neighborhood. The restaurant melds Californian and Asian styles. "The concept is California cuisine with a touch of Asian flavors," says Yagi. "We wanted to create our own cuisine, not just a Japanese restaurant or an Asian restaurant. We use California products and groceries."
Some of the signature dishes include their lobster roll, which is seasoned with green curry paste as well as black cod served with cedar (a nod to the name Hinoki, which means cedar tree in Japanese).
The open planning and modern décor is part of an attempt to create an environment that feels a world away from the busy Los Angeles streets outside. "We wanted [the] diner to feel that they are in nowhere, not just LA. So we brought a touch of the Japanese feel," says Yagi. "For example, we use denim from Japan but it's the culture of America."
For more, watch the video above and if you're in Los Angeles you can try Hinoki & The Bird yourself!