It's gigantic, modern, spacious, airy, and just beautiful. Money oozes from the architecture alone, not to mention the high-end retail occupying every store.
The top floor of Santa Monica Place is the Restaurant Deck - a food court with glass panel wall and7 "chef-driven" restaurants.
(Note: please excuse the lower quality of these photos - some were taken on my phone, the other my point-and-shoot; I did not have my dSLR at the time)
Santa Monica Place is an upscale mall - that much is clear not only in its vendors, but the prices at its restaurants. The exteriors signal this bluntly.
Ozumo features a quiet fountain decorated with 'floating'
lamps - all outside the actual restaurant.
They're not the most expensive by any stretch, but not exactly cheap eats.
Ozumo, though, between 3 and 7 p.m., has great deals on Happy Hour appetizers (I don't know if this is true of other restaurants).
Seeing that each menu item was tempting, I took a random gamble and settled on Ikatem ("spicy miso marinated Monterey calamari"), Yasai Maki (avacado, asparagus, cucumber, and kaiware [daikon sprouts]), Gyu (washyu steak with shishito), and Sake (salt-grilled salmon).
Definitely some incredible choices.
The calamari was (were?) perfectly cooked -
chewy but not rubbery. The batter
was delicately flavorful, not
quite as crispy as it could have
been but good. The sauce
carried a hint of chili heat.
Some of the best vegetable sushi I've
had, and I eat a lot of sushi. The
crunch of the cucumber and asparagus
contrasted perfectly with the softness
of the avocado, kaiware, rice, and nori.
Cleansing and refreshing.
Gyu (foreground) and Sake (background)
The stars of the show.
Farthest back is the slaw - miso/soy/ginger
dressing, mild and crisp.
Roasted jalapeño divided the
meats...something I didn't figure
out until I wondered why the
seeds were so spicy.
It's hard to pick a favorite of the two.
The beef was perfectly cooked,
the embodiment of 'melt-in-your
mouth.' The sauce was
subdued but delicious.
The salmon was perfect.
It takes a lot for me to say that
but it was so well done.
I have never thought of salmon
as buttery until now.
I'm at a complete loss of words
to describe the sensation. So well
cooked and seasoned.
My only complaint would be that
they were a little cool -
a bit warmer and I would
have needed more.
Subtle is the best word I can use to describe Ozumo's food, which struck me as odd for Happy Hour, though I can't say if they would pair well with alcohol.
If you can spend the cash on a full dinner, I have full faith you won't be disappointed. But if you're looking for something quick, rather cheap, and fun, the Happy Hour menu is the way to go. I'm already excited to go back and try more.