Saturday, July 5, 2008

MA'KAI, Santa Monica, CA

When we choose to visit a restaurant that is potentially "blog-worthy" the decision is usually made in advance and relies on a careful and calculated process involving checking reviews on Zagat and Yelp, browsing the menu on the web, and generally going out of our way to eat at a particular place. Not so with Ma'Kai, a relatively new Asian-fusion restaurant and lounge on Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica. Suni's cousins from the UK were in town and we stumbled upon this hip place while trying to find a place to dine by the beach. And of course, the food looked good too.


Creamy Rock Shrimp Tempura
with a creamy spicy mayo sauce
Spicy Tuna & Crispy Rice
crispy sushi rice topped with spicy ahi tartare

Unfortunately we gobbled up both of these starters so fast that we forgot to take pictures. But the rock shrimp was especially tasty, with a nice satisfying crunch balanced with a spicy, creamy sauce. Definitely a winner.

marinated in sake & organic miso with sauteed vegetables
If you are a frequent visitor to our blog you will know that I always order Miso Black Cod when I see it on a menu. It's one of the most delectable dishes and I highly recommend trying it if you are ever at a quality Japanese restaurant. Ma'Kai's version didn't disappoint, and the presentation was exquisite.

green tea noodles with fresh seafood in a garlic yuzu sauce
Rich shrimp, lobster, shitake mushrooms, and green tea noodles swimming in a citrusy yuzu sauce. Great combination of flavors

with coriander sweet potato fries and sambal dijon aioli

Suni's Kobe skirt steak was cooked perfectly and smothered in a flavorful shitake mushroom sauce. And of course, who doesn't love sweet potato fries?

served with an asian potato au gratin

This was the only disappointing dish of the night. The chicken was simply bland and boring. The gratin potatoes did almost save it though, as did the pretty presentation.

Ma'Kai isn't a restaurant that we would go out of our way to return to, but it was a nice find among the busy Ocean Avenue restaurant scene. By the time we left, the sun had just set and the lounge had turned into a loud and happening party scene. Maybe stop by for a drink, some apps, and of course, some miso cod.