Hayato’s bento box comprises 16 different components, including black cod saikyo yaki, seared duck breast, chrysanthemum greens with sudachi citrus, dashimaki tamago and koshihikari rice with root vegetables.
In an era of Insta-food, it’s rare to find a dish that’s so thoughtfully rooted in tradition, yet eye-poppingly camera-ready as well. At Hayato, chef-owner Brandon Go’s beautifully composed bento boxes are just that, with each component being a dish that not just stands, but shines, on its own—both in terms of flavor and presentation. Go painstakingly plates each box at the Tokyo-style restaurant, and after speaking with him about the process it takes to make them—from years of research in Japan to perfecting dashi and mastering the varied cooking methods for each delicate bite—you’ll realize why they warrant the $50 price tag. This is not the average ekiben that you’d find at a train station en route from Tokyo to Kyoto. It’s more along the lines of osechi ryori, or traditional celebratory New Year’s food that’s reserved for special occasions in Japanese culture. At his own ROW DTLA restaurant, Go also offers a nightly $240 omakase, a show in and of itself. 213.395.0607
Photography by: katie gibbs