Bashan

I have a little secret. Well, some people know about it, but not many. I have no idea why.

Bashan. It’s an intimate, casual fine dining restaurant in the hills of Glendale, just around the corner from Montrose. Although I’m fairly active on Yelp, foodie sites and publications, we heard about it from a friend. I think people in the know don’t want everyone else to know about it!

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We were seated by a lovely french door that brought in beautiful natural light. Since it was our anniversary, our server Bryce brought us two glasses of champagne from the restaurant to celebrate. Lovely touch. We also received an “amuse bouche” of mango puree, salmon roe, cucumber and micro cilantro. Pretty presentation and surprisingly refreshing in taste and texture.

The menu had so many enticing dishes that we uncharacteristically started with two appetizers. The hamachi sashimi was prepared with a blackberry and grapefruit chutney, mint, green onion, shaved almonds, chile oil and a quail egg – a very unique pairing of flavors. The fruit provided sweetness and acidity, while the quail yolk added richness to the raw, buttery fish. The freshness of the mint was the perfect finish. I would have liked a little less of the chutney to allow the delicate flavor of the hamachi to come through a bit more.

The Maine lobster risotto was my favorite dish of the night. The consistency of the risotto was perfectly runny and studded with chervil and fresh english peas. Chunks of sweet and rare lobster ran through it, covered by a luxurious lobster jus. I would go back to Bashan just for this dish.

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Our entrees were visually stunning and larger in portion than we expected. The roasted duck breast was so tender it virtually melted in your mouth. The red quinoa was warm, comforting and anything but boring with cashews, pickled kumquat and romanesco. Duck jus and smoked paprika oil finished the dish. The Kurobuta pork tenderloin was served on a crispy rice cake with charred shishito peppers, unagai (Japanese-style eel), pickled ginger puree and apple kimchi. It was an unexpected combination that was interesting and delicious in it’s components.

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Dessert? Who could after a meal as rich as I’ve described? We could and we did. It was our anniversary after all. Creme fraiche cheesecake over streusel with dulce de leche and mocha almond fudge ice cream. Gorgeous, though you’ll have to use your imagination as my picture didn’t do it justice. Or you’ll have to go there and try it for yourself. Really, it’s worth it. Have the french press coffee with it.

Chef Bashan’s background is impressive. His culinary training is Southern Californian which is visible in his use of local and seasonal ingredients. His impressive resume includes The Lobster and Michael’s in Santa Monica, as well as Providence in Hollywood. His dishes are prepared with classic french technique and Californian, Mediterranean and Asian influences. His attention to detail in the service, presentation, and originality and flavor of his dishes makes Bashan a uniquely exquisite dining experience. Just don’t tell everyone …

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