The Top 5 Dishes in Studio City

Explore Asian cuisine and seasonal menus in five essential dishes
Half roasted chicken at The Bellwether | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Studio City’s name was inspired by Mack Sennett’s thriving movie studio (now CBS Studio Center). The six-square-mile-plus expanse has added a number of neighboring studios over the years. Hollywood players splurge on good food, and not just at power lunches. Thankfully, Studio City has one of the highest concentrations of destination sushi bars in L.A., and has gained a wide variety of seasonal and international restaurants in recent years. Discover five dishes that help kickstart a Studio City culinary adventure.

Momotaro Tomato with Alaskan snow crab at Asanebo

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Asanebo



Tetsuya Nakao has run Asanebo since 1991 and continues to produce some of the most luxurious Japanese food in L.A. Shaved black truffles and caviar make frequent appearances at the L-shaped sushi bar and surrounding tables. “Signature Bites” include a cubed raft of sweet momotaro tomato floating in a shallow, tangy pool of grape seed oil dressing co-starring dashi, salt, and vinegar. The topping involves a choice of seared Japanese scallops, kanpachi, or our top pick: sweet Alaskan snow crab capped with shiso.

Half roasted chicken at The Bellwether | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Bellwether



At The Bellwether from chef Ted Hopson and front of house partner Anne-Marie Verdi, sharing is encouraged. The big question that the menu poses is whether you’d like to “share a little” or “share a lot.” Their half roasted chicken could easily qualify as a great one-person dinner, and splits easily. Hopson dry-brines a pasture-raised, heritage Emmer & Co. chicken with salt and a three-pepper blend for 24 hours in the walk-in fridge. The bird’s roasted until the skin’s crisp in a combi oven and plated in a long bean nest. The savory sauce combines chicken broth, soy sauce, clove, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and maple syrup. Pickled bok choy and black garlic add punch and complexity.

Steelhead salmon at Firefly | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Firefly



Perry Pollaci clearly knows his way around steak, as he proved at The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse, and continues to prove at ivy-coated, patio-focused Firefly. That said, seafood also thrives under his watch. Steelhead technically qualifies as a type of trout that swims in both fresh and salt waters, sports an array of spots, and is strong on vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. At Firefly, the fish is listed as salmon, but still delivers big flavor. A luscious, vivid pink, well-portioned fillet joins seasonal accompaniments. In summer, we enjoyed the set-up with sweet Brentwood corn, mild roasted piquillo peppers (slices and sauce) and honey-jalapeno cornbread. In winter, possible pairings include winter vegetables, cranberry chutney, and lemon verbena brown butter.

Monkfish liver at Kazu Sushi | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Kazu Sushi



Kazuharu Sogabe debuted his eponymous sushi bar in a strip mall in 1989. He’s still stationed behind the 10-seat bar, surrounded by seven white-clothed tables and black-and-white photos depicting phases of the moon. Kazu Sushi is well known for omakase with rare fish like nodoguro (sea perch) and kinme tai (alfonsino). Most seafood is listed on the menu with the Japanese name and place of origin. Monkfish liver is another “rare delicacy” worth noting. Steamed slabs (tan outside, peach hued at the center) are dressed with tangy ponzu jelly, bursting tobiko (flying fish egg) and spicy wasabi infused tobiko.

Crab khao soi at Khao Soi Thai | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Khao Soi Thai



One of the Valley’s best Thai restaurants, Khao Soi Thai is tucked away in the back of Times Square Plaza. Eric Waisbard and friend Warawut “Woody” Pongpradit serve several regional Northern Thai specialties on the patio and in a dining room with reclaimed wood and corrugated metal. Khao soi, the northern Thai curry noodle soup, gets top billing for good reason. Khao Soi Thai balances their bowls of murky yellow broth with a spicy, top-secret curry blend and judiciously sweet house-pressed coconut milk. Other key elements include egg noodles, a nest of crispy fried noodles, a cilantro thatch, and a choice of six different proteins, none better than tufts of wild-caught crab meat. Garnish to your liking with pickled mustard greens, shallots, crumbled dried chilies, and a squeeze of lime.