Hayato Restaurant: Pick up Bento

What: Bento at Hayato Restaurant

Price: $50 for a bento. Worth every penny.

Where: 1320 East 7th Street, #126, 90021. Drive up Alameda and enter the parking lot on Bay just north of the produce market.

What to order: The bento box. The restaurant is not open for dinner yet

What makes them different? The best bento box in Los Angeles.

What else is there to do in the neighborhood? There are other businesses open in ROW DTLA. Other than that, this stretch of Alameda is mostly wholesalers and manufacturers. But the center of DTLA, the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, and Chinatown are close.

I was more than a bit skeptical about kaiseki in a pick-up bento box. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese meal served in courses on beautiful plates. It’s as much a culinary experience as it is an aesthetic one.

The bentos have to pre-ordered or reserved at least 24 hours in advance via the restaurant’s website. Pick up times are Tuesday through Friday at 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm. Hayato is located in ROW DTLA adjacent to American Apparel.

The Bento comes beautifully packaged in a wooden box. Underneath the box is a diagram of the dishes. Even the wooden chopsticks are extra special. They’re made of elegantly tapered bamboo. The whole package is given to you in a boutique bag.

There are at least 16 different different dishes in the bento. Some come in multiples of 2. So the total number of items is about 25 or a little more.  Every component is cooked with skill and care. It’s the kind of cooking that makes even the most cynical diner happy.