Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great View and Sushi at ONYX in Westlake Village

Opulence at ONYX in The Four Seasons Hotel

Life is good when you dine at Onyx, a luxurious Japanese restaurant inside the equally luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, a peaceful incorporated community of Thousand Oaks.

Surrounded by beautiful Japanese art and antiques, fancy chandeliers and a behemoth of an electric-blue saltwater aquarium, Onyx offers pure escapism through ambience. Its name, after all, could well be derived from the semi-precious stones which glitter from wall panels in the dining room. For those who prefer a wide-open view of the resort’s majestic waterfall, there is even seating available on the terrace.

Although the prices for most of the menu items here are just as you’d expect them to be at a luxury resort—high—Onyx does feature “Sushi on the Rocks,” otherwise known as Happy Hour (from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on each night that the restaurant is open). In this specially priced section of the menu, nigiri starts as low as $4 for an order of two pieces, such as the robustly red “big eye tuna,” which can be enhanced with the pure and authentic wasabi that is served (one would find the imitation powder-based version of the green stuff blasphemous in such an upscale dining establishment, right?).

Get ready to be really happy during this hour: for only $5, you can choose a Crunchy Shrimp and Jalapeno roll, or opt for the trite, yet tried-and-true California roll, which at Onyx contains real snow crab, again demonstrating they accept no imitations here.

A few choices of sake and beer, as well as appetizers like dumplings and vegetable tempura, are also less expensive during this hour.

Now for the pricey stuff: $22 for the decadently delicious, soy-paper-wrapped Lobster Tempura Roll with avocado, yamagobo, sprouts and cucumber, which is served with a tangy garlic-and ginger-infused aioli. A leafy green salad, which could be dismissed as nothing more than garnish, forms the centerpiece of this eight-piece order. The most expensive item appears in the "Yakimono Grill" section of the menu: the Whole Pacific Snapper, which comes with bok choy, macadamia nuts and Chinese black vinegar, costs $45.

Although I have to concede that a better Miso Black Cod can probably be found at Nobu, Onyx did blow me away with a spicy scallop gunkan-style sushi that was seared to smoky, crisp perfection.

Four Seasons Hotel
2 Dole Drive, Westlake Village