Bar Hayama

Despite living within walking distance of Bar Hayama, I finally went for the first time last night for dinner. The outside is unassuming and easy to miss, but inside is a nice spacious shelter from the traffic on Sawtelle. The seats around the large fire pit were already taken, but we nabbed a table near it and it was just as pleasant without having to face a roaring fire.

Bar Hayama

We started with some sake samplers: the Legacy and the Classic. Each sampler (about $15) included 3 different sakes in 2 oz. cups. This was perfect for a sake newbie like me to taste different types without breaking the bank.

Bar Hayama

The BF ordered the tofu cheese, which is a misnomer; it’s just a tofu salad with firm blocks of tofu. The dish was refreshing, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t make ourselves at home. The BF thought the dressing tasted like generic bottled dressing.
Bar Hayama

Next came the monkfish liver pate. The pate was rich without being too salty and went well with the small pieces of toast they provided. It also made one of the sake I ordered taste completely different and delicious. I was confused with balsamic reduction used to decorate the plate. It looked nice, but it tasted strange paired with the pate. I know it’s garnish and all, but I would expect them to use a garnish that added to the dish at least.
Bar Hayama

The highlight of my meal was the organic beef tartare. It comes with a quail egg on top and some chopped onions,tomatoes, and capers on the side. It was seasoned perfectly and melted in my mouth. The addition of the quail egg added a nice richness to the beef.
Bar Hayama

I also ordered a grilled salmon with some sort of mayonnaise with dill on top. It was okay for what it was, but didn’t really blow me away. The sauce was tasty and creamy, which was great because I don’t think I would have enjoyed the dry salmon below it without the sauce.
Bar Hayama

The waiter was nice enough to ask the chef if he could make the BF (vegan) something since there weren’t that many vegan options on the menu. What came out was a potato salad (with veggie mayonnaise) and some veggies as well as a hijiki salad (not shown) that was just right. The hijiki was tender and had a great smokey flavor.

The food, other than the beef tartare, wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, which is disappointing considering the prices on the menu. Our meal (with a dish or two that I left out because I didn’t take any pictures of them) including tax, tip and sake ended up being around $100. Our waiter was incredibly nice and accommodating even when we had to send a couple of dishes back because they weren’t macrobiotic even though the menu said they were. In that way, the cost of the meal was worth it just to have an understanding waiter.

While I wouldn’t go to Bar Hayama all the time, it’s nice to know it’s close by when we want some sake and snacks.


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Bar Hayama
1803 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

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