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In Santa Monica, from behind walk-up takeout windows, Chef Makoto Okuwa has opened his Japanese fast-casual concept Edobox by Makoto. Situated at 2912 Main St., Edobox offers a “fully modular bento box experience that showcases the chef’s greatest hits,” according to a press release Thursday. Its “dining room” is an outdoor courtyard that makes the restaurant “ideally suited for this era, while service and ambiance remain rooted in enduring hospitality.”
Okuwa is best known for his eponymous restaurant “Makoto” in South Florida’s Bal Harbour — which he owns in partnership with Stephen Starr and consistently ranks among the top-performing independent restaurants in the country — and for Makoto outposts in Mexico City, Sao Paolo, and Panama.
Edobox, launched by his own Meiso Hospitality company, is the chef’s first fast-casual service. True to Makoto’s signature style, the menu includes a mix of modern Japanese and equatorial influences, with favorite recipes and techniques developed throughout his career, along with debut dishes. Boxes start at $28 with upgrades available for items such as uni and toro. When ordering, guests will be prompted to design their own box by selecting from a range of categories including salads, sides, proteins, noodles, bowls, and sashimi. A beer, wine, and sake program will launch in the coming weeks, including Makoto’s own signature sakes.
“At Edobox we’ve worked to develop a multi-course tasting menu in a box, paying special attention to all elements of the experience,” Okuwa said in the release. “My goal is to create a hospitable environment and menu that works now, and in the future, and brings something new, fresh, and exciting to the neighborhood.”
The 40-seat courtyard (reduced to 20 for now to meet social distancing standards) is tucked away from the street behind a horsetail bamboo hedge wall and beneath a canopy. A stand-alone takeout structure was made over in indigo to match banquettes, and a custom mural by local street artist Bobby Z Rodriguez. Guests enter through a large shou sugi ban gate that leads around the dining area.
The restaurant will open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. It replaces Cowabunga Republic.