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Yamashiro palace, located in Japan’s Yamashiro Mountains. A stunning property with beautiful grounds and captivating views of L.A.’s vast cityscape, it really puts the city in perspective. It is truly a perfect place for a date… or a potential wedding! Quite the genius, Executive Chef Brock Kleweno

elevates the restaurant’s food to a whole new level by fusing his roots in traditional Japanese cuisine, contemporizing it for the ever-evolving Los Angeles palate. It was quite the honor to have Chef Brock per- sonally present us with a tasting menu, which I can tell you will be long-remembered. Dinner got off to a smashing start with an opening duet, a re-imagined Poke, yellow heirloom tomato, macadamia nut, soy- sesame marinade with wasabi aioli and the Cobia Ceviche topped with a Serrano-lime-bell pepper puree and fresh avocado on a corn tortilla. Next came an ultra-modern sashimi trio consisting of Truffle Hamachi, Charred Albacore andPistachio Salmon. A delightful whirlwind of flavors, I was completely

taken by the sexy presentation and flavors of the sushi sampling plates, Forbidden Rice Roll, Spicy Yellowtail Roll, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice Roll and my personal favorite—the Spicy Lobster Roll. Outside- the-box and oh so delightful were theKurobuta Pork Carnitas, scallion risotto cake and Chinese honey mustard, followed by the inventiveGlazed Black Cod with mustard greens, Maitake mushrooms, wasabi mashed potatoes and soy-daikon sauce. The finale was the scrumptious Dessert Sushi

Platter, delectably presented as a strawberry and kiwi hand roll, melon and citrus sushi, a strawberry- mascarpone sushi, offered with shaved melon posing as ginger and green tea whipped cream disguised as wasabi. Yamashiro is located at 1999 North Sycamore Avenue in Hol- lywood. For more information or to make a reservation call 323.466.5125 or go to


AND SPIRIT ROOM Located in the basement of Fullerton’s historic

Villa del Sol, The Cellar was originally conceived and built in the 1960s as a luxurious French restaurant— reminiscent of Old Europe, the workmanship and interior detailing is unparalleled. If you’re a fan of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean, you might be interested to know that The Cellar was built by the ride’s same artistic craftsmen. We were completely taken by the romantic and

well-appointed main room defined by its cavelike walls, arches and intimate dining areas. Once seated, we were thrilled to find out that we had been placed in the very booth in which Richard Burton proposed

the cellar

to Elizabeth Taylor—for the second time! Our server Nicki is a nine-year veteran of the place

and when I described the straightforward menu as “new-old school,” she whole-heartedly agreed. Chef Brandon Stein’s modern twist was evident in the Spicy Jumbo Tiger Shrimp Brochette with sweet chili sauce, vermicelli noodles, cucumber, carrot, mint and chopped peanuts and his Prince Edward Island Mussels with fennel, white wine, garlic, shal- lots and herb butter—so very good. Next came what I can only describe as the very best Lobster Bisque around, due to the crème fraiche, chives and cognac, which set it apart. A Bone-In Ribeye followed as our next entrée, presented with roasted gemstone potatoes, sautéed spinach with a compound butter medallion; a simply delectable cut of meat. A most unique dessert followed; theMaple Bacon

Ice Cream Sandwich, maple blondie filled with house-made bacon ice cream, bourbon and maple sauce. An immoral Chocolate Mousse Torte fol- lowed, dark chocolate cake, milk chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis. A perfect spot for LGBT weddings, which the man- agement enthusiastically encourages! The Cellar is located at 305 N. Harbor Boulevard in Fullerton, for reservations call 714.525.5682 or go to

IL CIELO Time and time again Il Cielo, which translates to

“abode of God and angels,” has been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in L.A. Owner Pasquale Vericella insists that patrons feel

at home, surrounding guests with natural beauty and magic while indulging them in Tuscany-inspired

il cielo

cuisine. Daughter Cristina, who long-term regulars remember as a little girl, is now the day manager and a big part of creating the unique experience. Once seated, our tall, dark and very handsome

waiter, Luca Kahn, who hails from Serbia, started the process with wines in the form of a lovely Trefethen Chardonnay for my friend and for me a blissful Bai- leyana Pinot Noir from Edna Valley. With to many enticing options, choosing from

the vast menu was next to impossible. We settled on an order of Insalata di Calamari; grilled calamari with frisée, butter lettuce and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with lime citronette. John savored his entrée choice; Ravioli ai Funghi Porcini; butternut squash in browned butter and sage sauce. I ordered the Bolognaise; long flat pasta, topped with fresh meat sauce, wonderfully vibrant in color and taste. Dessert followed in the form of aTrio of Sorbets, vanilla bean, lemon and mango, so refreshing and oh so comfort- ing and Il Cielo’s bit of heaven on earth; the house- made Tiramisu. More intimate dining rooms are available, so if you

want to sweep your lover off his or her feet, choose the “Romantic Package.” A 24” taper candle with fresh rose petals atop your table, with a signature heart-shaped flourless chocolate cake layered with dark chocolate mousse, fresh raspberries and with a personal message of your choice as the finale. Arrive before sunset and enjoy the vibe as the

evening falls and Il Cielio transforms into a sensual oasis of amore. Il Cielo is located at 9018 Burton Way in Beverly Hills, for more information or to make reservations call 310.276.9990 or go to

FEBRUARY 2014 | RAGE monthly 65

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