Generally, a restaurant inside a mall doesn’t always deliver the way I’d like them to, but when it comes to Hamamori, one must overlook its location to see and taste how delightful and innovative the menu is. Chef James Hamamori has brought together his Japanese heritage and married it with some modern day influences to produce eclectic and tasty dishes everyone will enjoy.
I’ve been here a few times, including omakase and happy hour, YES, happy hour. Between 5pm and 6.30pm. drinks and small plates are discounted, and you can relish in signature dishes such as asparagus and Asahi on tap.
Omakase is a prix fixe meal decided by the chef depending on freshness and availability. Lunch is $35 and started with tofu steak with fresh tomato and fried julienned shiso.
Sashimi salad was next with ebi, salmon, taco and scallop on top of a bed of baby greens drizzled with a ponzu vinaigrette. Refreshingly delicious and mouth-puckering tart at the same time. Just lovely!
Next came the asparagus wrapped in okaki, a crispy rice snack similar to arare. When you order it during happy hour, there are three jumbo asparagus in one order served with togarashi salt. So crunchy and delicious — addictive!
Course four was three pieces of nigiri sushi and a small mound of pickled ginger. I would’ve been happy with 10 pieces of this and nothing else.
When it came time for entrees, you had a choice of fish or beef. Everyone at the table ordered beef which was a filet mignon topped with asparagus and mushrooms including shimeiji and King oyster. Tender beef in a succulent au jus is not only satisfying but so flavorful.
Dessert was ice cream and there are a few flavors to choose from. My red bean was perfect to finish the meal off with.
If you visit for happy hour, my other suggestions include Shiitake Mushroom Frites ($6) topped with fried salsify.
Or, alternatively, Salmon Skin Rolls are only $7 during happy hour and is rather good with a beer or sake.
No matter what time of day you decide to visit, Hamamori is good for a leisurely meal or a special occasion. Don’t let the fact that it is situated inside a mall deter you from visiting.
3333 Bear Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626