Best Japanese Restaurant Orange County 2009 - CafĂ© Hiro
Readers' Choice: Matsu
There are as many subgenres of Japanese restaurants as there are kinds of Japanese food: izakayas, sushi bars, teppanyakis, yakinikus, ramenyas—and that's just naming a few! Then there's Café Hiro, a 7-year-old local anomaly that not only defies classification, but also rises above them. The only thing you need to know is that chef/owner Hiro Ohiwa trained in France and Italy and worked a stint at LA's Matsuhisa. So, do not expect teriyaki or sushi. Do count on everything being exquisitely prepared with a light Japanese touch and a few of its ingredients. His risotto is stirred to become silky. His spaghetti has sea-urchin roe worked into the sauce. For dessert, he does a green-tea blancmange that possesses an unexpected depth and complexity. Still confused as to how to classify this place? Mull it over while staring at the big painting of Jimi Hendrix, which dominates one wall. Call us when you figure it out.