Malama Pono

Malama Pono, a Pan Asian restaurant in Sherman Oaks, serves an outstanding array of inspired dishes that are sure to satisfy discerning tastes

The best things about best friends is meeting up for dinner. Even though it had only been a few weeks since I’d seen Sara, it actually felt like months. Mainly, because I’d spent a week in Japan within the time we’d last seen each other.

After enduring the struggle to find parking, I made my way to the restaurant. My first impression of the interior design was that Malama Pono is beautiful. The blue and gold tones paired well with the green plants that hung everywhere.

To start, I ordered the DROP BABY DROP (lichiko / Yuzu Juice / Yuzu Svrup / Li Hing Mui Rim) because the waitress said that it was the most similar to a lemon drop. When it arrived, I must admit that it was the most fresh tasting, citrus forward and truly refreshing citrus based martini I’ve enjoyed in a while.

We started with the SPICY YELLOWFIN TUNA CRISPY RICE (Ikura / Pickled Shallots / Scallions). First off, when it arrived, I was thoroughly impressed with the presentation. Upon first bite, I was in love. Unlike the tuna with crispy rice bites I had at ChoLon Downtown in Denver, Colorado, the fried rice in this appetizer was absolutely perfect. It was not too hard and firm at all. It was fried perfectly, with a melt in your mouth consistency that made both of us smile.

Honestly, I think the tuna and crispy rice dish at Malama Pono is better than the comparable dish at the original Sushi Katsu-ya in Studio City.

It is – indeed – that good.

Next up, we shared the SEARED ALBACORE CARPACCIO (Shoyu Marinade / Sea Asparagus Salad / Chili-Garlic Oil / Buttermilk-Yuzu Vinaierette). Again, I cannot stress the levels of flavor within this dish. Every layer of ingredient worked together for the brilliance of the dish. It was absolutely delicious.

In preparation for our main dishes, I ordered the POG-TINI (lichiko / Passion Fruit / Orange / Guava). This delicious creation fully tastes like what it’s named after, the Hawaiian drink that’s a combo of passionfruit, orange and guava juices.

So, when my SEARED AHI TUNA STEAK (Blood Orange Ginger Miso / Tomato Mango Chutney / Salsa Macha / Fingerling Potatoes) came out, needless to say it went very well with my drink.

I also enjoyed tasting Sara’s order of HORSERADISH CRUSTED MAHI MAHI (Pineapple Beurre Blanc / Blistered Tomatoes / Roasted Pineapple / Scallion Relish / Shovu Syrup).

To conclude dinner and celebrate my birthday, we ended with the INSIDE OUT YUZU CHEESECAKE (Fresh Blueberry Yuzu Compote / Ginger Streusel). Which was – wait for it – simply delicious. The blueberry compote simply melted with the cheesecake, creating such a rich decadence on the tongue. Served in a jar rather than traditionally on a plate, it was a nice, clean and unique presentation.

As I blew out the candle, I had the same, deeply personal wish I had at La Paix in Tokyo, Japan.

As we said goodbye, I absolutely loved how Malama Pono took the best flavor profiles from various pan Asian influences and placed them squarely so close to me, in Los Angeles. The night was a lovely experience of connection and friendship over outstanding food.

Because Malama Pono is located in a rather high traffic area of Ventura Blvd, parking absolutely sucks. But, it is so, so, so worth it.

- -

Malama Pono

13355 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, California 91423
Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.