Tuesday, April 27th was a special night for a friendly and fabulous feast at the hip and happening Gonpachi. Hollywood celebs, politicos and other guests were invited to a unique tasting celebration. Tonight’s star was Five-Star Executive Chef, Chris Behre, who cooked up a variety of his delectable Japanese cuisine.
A special guest was Los Angeles City Councilwoman, Jan Perry from the Ninth District. She presented Gonpachi with a special commendation honoring the authentic, rich, Japanese culture and tradition that is so vital to Southern California.
Entering the restaurant, visitors pass through the 100 year old “moon gate” and enter an authentic Japanese garden, complete with romantic bridge, running brook and Koi pond. Stopping briefly on the walk to watch the fish and absorb the delicate splendor surrounding you, is essential for appreciating the stature of beauty and tranquility in Japanese culture.
Entering the restaurant places you in a greeting area with the bar to the right. For this gala the bar was “open” with our hosts providing plenty of sake and California wine. An immediate left turn and the restaurant opens up as you enter the tri-level main dining area, which has both private booths or casual tables, closer to the bustling cooking center.
In the main room, the crowd was sampling an assortment of robata treats, including individually skewered salmon, chicken, steak, shrimp and mushrooms. Roving waiters provided an endless flow of additional goodies like oysters on endive, tomato-basil canapés, crab, tuna and octopus ceviche and bacon wrapped roasted tomatoes.
In another room,up half a level from the main floor, was a sushi bar, where guests chose from platters of salmon sushi, spicy tuna, yellowtail, California roll, and even okra sushi.
To help you digest all thesescrumptious bites, there was a sake tasting area with five different kinds of sake. They even had sake shooters with a raw oyster at the bottom.
The dessert choices excelled as well, and we found the chocolate mousse particularly nice with the raw fish pairings, each followed by one of those sake shooters. Sake to me!
We want to give an appreciative thank you to Chef Chris Behre and Sushi Chef Kikuichi Sin for their excellent food preparations and presentation.
The event was sponsored by Rivera & Rivera FineARTBlue Angel Vodka, Vermeer Dutch Liquor and Hint Water. It was delightful and delicious for all the guests, including some of Hollywood’s notables and Los Angeles’ officials.
Grazing around the rooms, and apparently enjoying the party fully, were actors Kevin Farley, James B. Sikking, Alex Donnelly, Alice Greczyn and Rachelle Carson-Begley, film producer Kevin Strom, celebrity stylist George Blodwell, comedienne Michael Colyar and actor/producer Hal B. Klein.
In between bites, ‘ Cougartown’s ’ Carolyn Hennessy exclaimed, “This sushi is amazing -- so fresh, so delicate!” The handsome heartthrob, actor Sean Kanan was really into the food and the atmosphere, ‘Gonpachi’s cuisine is really quite special and delicious and the ambiance and architecture is stunning! I just heard that Gonpachi’s sister restaurant in Tokyo was used in ’Kill Bill’ – how cool is that?!”
Also in attendance were the Honorable Soussan Bruguera, the Honorable Jack Goertzen, Dr. Susan Stafford, Beverly Hills socialite Gail Dauer…and let’s not forget, Marilyn Anderson, author of Never Kiss a Frog and co-author of this article. She was accompanied by aging heartthrob, Dennis Lanning, who sampled each delicacy, many times over. Together they walked upstairs to the private balcony dining area for a sensational view of the festivities below.
We don’t know what Gonpachi means in English, but on this night, it translated easily to: “Great food, great fun, and great folks!”
Gonpachi Beverly Hills
134 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211