The Corner Office & I have a funny, on-again, off-again relationship (chronicled here). We flirt, we have a good time, then we hit a sour note, then I avoid it for awhile, then I ease back in one day on a whim & the cycle continues.

Or so it did before the arrival of exec chef Will Cisa. With a solid talent like him on board I feel so safe & warm inside…But never so excited as when I bit into the Downward Dog.

Here’s what it is: 2 snappy, juicy New York dogs; a spunky combo of spicy mustard, sweet soy & Kewpie mayo; plus nori, pork fu & housemade tsukemono on a buttered, toasted, split top bun. I’m not a frank fiend, I suppose because the range of variations is generally so limited, beginning & ending with some sort of tangy sauce &/or some form of chili or chile. But this here’s a whole different ballgame with its Japanese flavors & array of textures, from the feathery, flaky fu to the poppy pickles.

By the way, here’s what else usually bores me: fish tacos.

And here’s why Cisa’s didn’t, aside from the smooth, fritter-like crunchy batter on the healthy chunk of mahi mahi: lots & lots of condiments that blended together into a vibrant, squirting, dribbling mess: excellent, smoky red salsa, guacamole & what some (not me for sure) might deem too much crema, plus citrusy slaw.

The Corner Office, like Second Home, is part of the multi-state Sage Restaurant Group, which has a flair for realizing visions that feel organic, not corporate. So I was psyched to discover that they’re working on a new concept, slated to open this fall: Kachina Bar, a neo-Southwestern eatery in the Westin Westminster. Bring on the sopaipillas.