Aburiya Raku - West Hollywood


#81

Katsuo - Bonito
Meaty but super tender, the inherently strong flavors paired well with the raw garlic. Thanks for the rec @Chowseeker1999

aji - spanish mackerel
The ultimate #fishstick

Ask them to fry up the bones, because who doesn’t want some crispy fish chips and some head.

Oyaji Tofu
I’m not sure why i’ve never ordered this before but wanted to give it a try after seeing @Chowseeker1999’s report. It was delicious and right up there with their agedashi tofu. I loved the texture and spiciness from the chili-garlic sauce.

asajime chicken breast wrapped with chicken skin

asajime chicken thigh

asajime chicken teba wing

pork intestines
Ate the shit out of these intestines, so good.

kurobuta pork cheek

tsukune

hamachi belly

foie gras with glazed soy-based sauce
Awesome, silky and smooth, the foie gras really de-livered.

chicken livers
Poor man’s foie gras.

wagyu rib cap kushi
A special for the night and they were delicious, super tender and juicy with a little bit of fat. They were pretty much the opposite of their “kobe” beef skewers on their regular menu, which i think are just okay and not as flavorful. @Chowseeker1999 try these out if they’re being offered.


#82

I hate seeing these reports on Sunday because they are fucking closed on Sunday’s so immrdiate gratification is impossible.


#83

Hi @PorkyBelly,

Thanks for the rec! I’m craving Raku again, darn it!!! :slight_smile:

Ah! The Wagyu Rib Cap is on the specials board, no wonder I don’t remember seeing it before. :wink: And they had Hamachi Belly when you went! Nice.

Great pics and thoughts as always. :slight_smile:


#84

sashimi marinated in soy and fermented Bonito guts #nogutsnoglory

sashimi moriawase - bluefin tuna, salmon, ikura, shima aji, kanpachi
It’s ridiculous how good the fucking sashimi is here.

Santa Barbara uni
are my 'nads showing?

Oyaji Tofu

Enoki Mushrooms Wrapped with Bacon

Asajime Chicken Breast wrapped with Chicken Skin

Pork Ear

Tsukune - Grilled Ground Asajime Chicken

Asajime Chicken Thigh

Asajime Chicken Teba Wing

Duck with Balsamic Soy Sauce

Kurobuta Pork Cheek

Salmon belly

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Corn potato
Thanks for the rec @Chowseeker1999, really good.


#85

What is balsamic soy sauce?


#86

Hi @PorkyBelly,

SO GOOD! :blush: Great pics, and the Santa Barbara Uni looks so fresh and amazing! Why is it Sunday when I see these pics?! :cry: :slight_smile:


#87

Idunno, they probably meant a balsamic vinegar and soy sauce glaze.


#88

Sounds odd, but okay. I’ll do a little home taste test and see how it comes out. Thanks!


#89

Some interesting recipes - wondering about this one:


#91

Poached Egg with Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe, Okra, Mushrooms, and Mountain Yam
Slimier than Rod Blagojevich on an episode of Double Dare.

Oyaji Tofu

sashimi moriawase

kampachi kama

Ken2 salad
How hot does it have to be for me to order the salad? oppressively fucking hot

Enoki Mushroom Wrapped with Bacon

Asajime Chicken Teba Wing

Kurobuta Pork Cheek

Portabella stuffed with Asajime Ground Chicken


#92

So good! :slight_smile: Nice pics and report again @PorkyBelly. You didn’t want to get the Kamameshi? :wink:


#93

Sashimi moriawase
Excellent as always, the shima aji and otoro were outstanding.

grilled oyster
Super fresh and tender perfectly cooked with a nice smoky flavor from the grill.

agedashi tofu

salmon belly
This salmon had so much fat it got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Get this.

:pig: cheeks

bacon

tsukune

fillet with wasabi

chicken thigh

teba wings

foie gras
Force-feeding never tasted so good

cheesecake


#94

#Truth


#95

I know the trend here is to share photos (I generally try not to take photos since I don’t enjoy drawing attention to myself at a restaurant) but since I can’t, here are some of the dishes I really love:

  • Kurobuta Pork Rib with grated daikon radish
  • Iberico pork skewer (if you don’t see it on the specials just ask, they should have it, usually available off-menu)
  • Pork cheek skewer
  • As mentioned by J. Gold and everyone else on earth, chicken tsukune is out of this world. Huge notes of basil hit you as soon as you bite in.
  • Wagyu sukiyaki (also on the specials menu, this one is more occasional, call ahead)
  • Yaki onigiri
  • Udon (this is off-menu… I’m a regular here so might be special treatment and not readily available, but doesn’t hurt to ask)
  • Oh God I forgot to mention: Raku’s Tofu and the Yummy Miso Soup.

One of the major differences between the WeHo Raku and LV Raku is that Las Vegas is very orthodox and shies away from giving the skewers anything more than “just cooked.”

WeHo Raku, on the other hand, isn’t shy about giving you a nice, tasteful amount of char from that binchotan charcoal, and the extra caramelization + texture adds a dimension to some of the richer marinated pork skewers and the sweet-ish tsukune that can really make a meal. For this reason I find the WeHo Raku preferable to the one in Las Vegas; virtually all else being equal, LA’s branch is in some ways better.

I think the degree to which people enjoy or expect to experience Japanese food in particular contexts can differ, and so some people might enjoy an izakaya for the convivial atmosphere, or chasing cheap pitchers of Sapporo by crushing a massive order of skewers followed by some carbs (there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that, by the way). If that’s your goal, I probably wouldn’t recommend Raku. Of course, people will try to do that here, and more power to them. But the dining experience is a little bit more focused and deliberate, the food meant to be thought through, etc. The execution is serious business here.


#96

Awesome observations.


#97

On point observations and cool LV / LA comparison.

You hit it in the nose. Because of the photos, the execution and the sake selections I figured it was more upscale and possibly stuffier than other izakayas - a special occasion place. But when we finally went I was pissed we waited so long. You can have any experience you desire at Raku - a food seekers dream meal, an impressive date night, or a casual night of skewers and beer. The last time we were there the patrons included a gaggle of ladies celebrating a birthday, a group of fat cats having a baller experience, us on date night, and two college students who rolled up in their hand-me-down car for skewers and beer.

I :heart: this place!


#98

That is an excellent and very useful comment. So many times the ambience of a place is ignored in reports. It helps to know what kind of experience one might have or expect at a certain restaurant. Formal, casual, fun or focused?


#99

Good point!


#100

Great recs. I’ve only had the cold udon with the foie gras custard. do they do a more traditional udon in broth? what do you think of the sashimi?


#101

Thanks! So there is a more traditional udon in broth but it’s off-menu; the noodles themselves aren’t like the typical thick noodles you’d imagine, but rather thinner wheat-based noodles in a hot broth served with the inari and mustard greens (? don’t quote me on this) which I believe are used in a different application, only with a dashi-shoyu-based broth that is out-of-this-world refreshing. As far as I know it was a dish they made for me one time when I went there with a cold and I always ask if it’s available every time I go, and I’d say 4/5 times it’s fine.

Also, disclaimer: Pretty sure I receive favorable treatment not because of my vocation, but simply because I go here so often. I had to itemize my restaurant visits the other day and I’ve probably been to Raku ~16 times in 2017, which works out to a little bit more than once a month.

Re the sashimi: All the fish I’ve had is certainly above a baseline of fresh befitting a decent sushi restaurant, but I can be picky sometimes which types of fish I prefer in this particular application. Sometimes you will receive a whole fish’s spinal column which can then be fried, I believe this was mentioned earlier in this thread. It’s a great appetizer and if your sake selection warrants it, it’s more than up to the task.