Los Angeles is culturally diverse which essentially influences its cuisine. Japanese cuisine is offered in just about every corner of the city, but knowing which restaurant to eat at is the key to successful dining. Today’s Japanese restaurants offer more than sushi, which makes it easier to go out with a larger group of friends or family since not everyone is into the raw of it all. Robata-style preparation, omakase (a.k.a chef’s choice of interesting combinations of flavors and ingredients) and ramen seem to be what Angelenos are craving. Get ready to go on a Japanese food adventure by checking out the top restaurants in L.A.
13704 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
For traditional Japanese techniques and presentation, Kaiju is a must-go restaurant (Japanese lanterns and origami adorn the space) for sushi, tailored omakase dining and authentic signature Japanese dishes. Master chef Go Nakabayashi and chef Mark Hayashi from Koi bring an intimate dining experience with the highest quality fish. Exceptional appetizer choices include truffle edamame and shishito cevice. Six different types of carpaccio are all palette pleasers, including the seabream plum sauce, yellowtail serrano pepper and the octopus spicy mango salsa. Hot entrees featured are the Japanese umami lamb chops served on a delicious mound of truffle infused mashed potatoes, and the Japanese fried chicken can’t be missed. Custom omakase menus are available, as well as prix-fixe Gozen menus for dine-in or take away.
8445 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Sushi Roku has redefined Japanese cuisine here in L.A. incorporating California inspiration influences and ingredients from Latin America, including jalapenos and more. Cooked over Japanese bincho charcoal (from the Kishu region of Japan since the Edo period), grilled salmon and prime rib eye steak are entrée highlights, along with a flavor favorite uni udon — Japanese-style sea urchin pasta. Of course, Sushi Roku’s sushi menu is outstanding and goes beyond classic by several means — recent menu additions include blue crab tartare with a taste of uni caviar, aji crudo (Jack mackerel with a ginger relish and the Peruvian aji Amarillo), fluke kumquat sashimi flavored with a yuzu vinaigrette and a yellowtail wrapped foie gras hinted by black truffle.
Katana Robata & Sushi Bar
8439 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Katana’s Robata master and Executive Sushi Chef Koji Matuzaki is a perfect representative of the restaurant’s name, which means “samurai sword.” Katana, which specializes in authentic robatayki cuisine, gives guests the fresh ingredients with intensified flavor. Bamboo skewered items — seafood (miso marinated black cod), vegetables (tomatoes wrapped in bacon), meat (Japanese premium beef, Japanese A-5 wagyu beef), and poultry (chicken heart) are grilled over Japanese bincho-tan charcoals that heat up to 1200 degrees. The menu also offers an array of sushi, tempura and noodles,
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Kihon Sushi & Japanese Tapas
5662 E. 2nd St.
Long Beach, CA 90803
Having opened just a year ago, Kihon Sushi & Japanese Tapas is unique and worth a trip to Long Beach for the adventurous diners. Adhering to the fundamentals (Kihon) of sushi preparation and Japanese cooking, the owner and sushi chef Erwin Angeles comes from a five-year stint at Katsuya before branching out on his own. More than California rolls, Kihon showcases its individual chefs’ creativity and style. Menu specialties include smoked octopus, which is thinly sliced and dotted with yuzukosho (a fermented paste of chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt), seared salmon sashimi served with crispy spinach leaves and black sea bream complimented by shiso leaf, lemon and sea salt. New to the menu is ramen, which Kihon cooks for 16 hours, adding soft slices of chashu pork, the traditional marinated soft-boiled egg and noodles.
2123 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Taking off like a chic fashion trend, ramen lunches and dinners are so happening right now. Tatsu Ramen, located in Little Osaka on Sawtelle Blvd., is a modern day noodle house. Seating is first come, first serve around the counter where the chefs prepare the hot vats of homemade Tonkotsu broth or at one of the cozy tables in the intimate restaurant setting. Each ramen bowl is customized to your liking simply by using the iPad ordering system upon walking in. There are so many choices in creating the perfect Tatsu bowl — mild, spicy, bold, veggie, pork and extra noodles. However you take it, you won’t be disappointed.
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