This quiet, opulent place, decorated like the home of a well-bred Upper East Side matron, doesn’t have the flash and buzz of L.A.’s foodie hot spots, but you’ll eat as well here as you will anywhere. Chef Akira Hirose knows his way around a kitchen, having trained with Joel Robuchon and cooked for such places as Citrus and L’Orangerie. Some of his simplest dishes are the most dazzling, like the grilled Chilean sea bass with a miso marinade (a dish he made for the Emperor of Japan), or the rack of lamb with rosemary sauce and potato mousseline. He stretches a little more with the starters, like the warm smoked salmon with lentils and micro greens in a ponzu-pesto vinaigrette. The kitchen sometimes falters and overcooks things a little, but otherwise this is exceptional cooking, rivaled only by Craig Strong’s over at the Huntington. The Sunday brunch is spectacular.
713 E. Green St., Pasadena, 626.796.9501, maisonakira.com, French/Japanese. L Fri., D Tues.-Sun., brunch Sun. Beer & wine. AE, MC, V. $$$$