Aburiya Raku - West Hollywood


#123

sashimi marinated in soy and fermented Bonito guts, soy bean salad

Dried Tatami Sardine Salad
Japanese caesar salad. I love it when my salad stares back at me

The croutons have eyes

Aji

Head

White asparagus, black truffle
Surprise highlight of the night. The asparagus was so white, it made barry manilow look like james brown.
It was tender, sweet and had a great smoky flavor, underneath was an awesome creamy, truffle-y, egg yolk, fish guts sauce. @Chowseeker1999 and @TheCookie try this out.

Belly

Pork cheek

butter sauteed scallop with soy sauce

Teba wing

Portabella stuffed with Asajime Ground Chicken

Takana Inari


#124

Deliciously hilarious.

Gotta’ have the guts.


#125

Hi @PorkyBelly,

Nice report as always! :slight_smile: Thanks for the heads up on the white asparagus! Looks amazing and with your recommendation I can’t wait to try it out. :grin:

All the dishes look wonderful as always, and that Sashimi is so pristine. :slight_smile:


#126

So it’s been about 1 1/2 years since this exchange and we’ve finally made it to Aburiya Raku - I’ve regretfully neglected my family by not getting here a lot sooner.

The sake menu is over the top. Nihon-shu list is overwhelming. With help from our a waitress, decided on Oka Dewazakura ginjo. Medium dry, lots of fruit and very smooth. I relish shu that throws fruit aromatics at my nose and palate. Went very well with almost all the food.

As for the food, the menu is deceptively long and potentialIy complex, so I was leaning hard toward the omakase. I was voted down 1-4 - oh well. Instead, we ordered:

Aji (Spanish mackeral) two ways - sashimi and grilled. Supremely fresh, prepared simply, nice knife work, visually pleasing presentation and so good.

Sashimi moriawase. Like the aji, just amazing. This and the aji sashimi are the best sashimi I recall having in a long long time.

Shigoku oysters. Aside from one of the oysters having a few chips of shell, these were delicate, sweet with a subtle taste of the sea.

Oyaji tofu. Definitely homey of all the dishes. The delicate subtleness of the housemade tofu was a great foil for the three completely different but complementing condiments.

Popeye salad. Refreshing with a nice balance of umami, subtle sweetness and salt, bitter, and very satisfying. My son asked why “we” can’t make salads this good at home. I responded with, “you” will have to try then.

Here’s the rest of the items we enjoyed.

Kobe fillet stone steak
Steamed foie gras chawanmushi
Buta kakuni (kurobuta pork belly)
Chicken thighs
Chicken Teba wings
Asajime chicken tsukune
Duck with balsamic reduction
Pork intestines
Grilled foie gras
Okra
Enoki mushroom with bacon
Fried shrimp
Oyako donburi

The use of foie (and cognac?) in the chawammushi was amazing.

Stone steak was perfectly medium rare - eat that ASAP as the stone is very hot and will continue to cook the beef.

The chicken items were supremely juicy and flavorful. Raku knows the bird.

While not common in Japanese cuisine, duck is gradually becoming a menu item. Raku’s duck preparation (and the late great Morinoya’s duck) should convince other Japanese eateries to work with duck more.

The oyako donburi was too good to be remind one of “Mom’s” version. Again, the chicken (and egg) were so good, as was the plump flavorful rice and broth.

Pork intestines were the controversial item, as it was either loved, disliked or passed on. To me, it was exactly as the versions at robota and yaki joints in Japan. Immaculately cleaned, grilled to a slight crisp, chewy and fatty, glazed with tare. Son and girlfriend enjoyed it but son said he picked up on that offal smell. Wife took one bite and didn’t care for it. Daughter totally passed.

The fried shrimp is kind of a sleeper item - these are not only a deal, but deliciously and entirely edible. I left not an eye, antenna or tail left to waste.

Aburiya Raku scores high on my family’s list. We will be back. Thank you for the tons of great info.


#127

Hi @bulavinaka,

So happy you enjoyed Raku! I didn’t realize you hadn’t been yet after all this time! :slight_smile: Isn’t it just awesome? It’s my favorite yakitori / izakaya in the city right now.

Keep an eye out for specials and don’t forget their amazing Kamameshi (off menu) next time. I’ve listed all of the off-menu / specials in my old FTC thread over the years.

And totally agree with you that the intestine kushi was fantastic (and I don’t even like offal normally). :slight_smile:


#128

This place would make homesick Nijonjin far less so. They could easily open another unit elsewhere. Obviously they could but quality and chef skills have to be accounted for.

Our visit was kinda last minute. I actually wanted some sushi, but carnivorous daughter seems to actually be a child of Park & Rec’s Ron Swanson.
She seems to consider seafood to be less like protein and more like produce section fare.

So we “compromised” on Raku. They were full up except in their enclosed patio right at their opening at 6PM. I scratched my seafood itch and she got to quell her meat lust. Another plus was sabertoothed daughter actually enjoyed almost all of Raku’s seafood dishes. So she will either be more amenable to more seafood, or will be ruined by Raku’s quality.

Between posts & pics by you and PorkyBelly, I am guessing that Raku owes a fair amount of business to the both of you. Thank you!


#129

glad you finally made it, have you been to the original in vegas? sounds like you had a great dinner, love that aji and sashimi, did you notice any notable specials?


#130

Last trip to Vegas was 2007-2008 - I think just before the food Renaissance there. Seems I’m missing a lot.

Nothing notable in terms of seasonal specials. Still, this place is worthy.


#131

My family and I were actually at Raku at the same time as @bulavinaka, just tucked away in the alcove to the left of the entrance.

Because we love Raku’s fish specials, our meal was mostly off of the specials board with a few regular menu items to round things out.

Houbou (Sea Robin) - Sashimi & Fried Carcass
We ordered the whole Houbou as sashimi which was superb (especially the crispy grilled skin pieces), and after we finished, the carcass was taken to be cut up and fried (head, fins, and all).


Kamasu (Barracuda) - Whole Grilled
This one was one of the favorites of the evening. Tender flesh with a slight bit of fish oiliness complimenting the smoky char on the skin.

Mebaru (Black Rock Fish) - Half Grilled/Half Fried
Complete contrast to the kamasu…firm and flaky flesh that was buttery rather than fishy.


Hotaru Ika Karaage
Crispy, creamy, chewy. These were perfect bites that perfectly captured the beauty of firefly squid.


Other specials not ordered (excluding the specials mainstays like maguro, kanpachi, shima aji, etc.):

  • Ishimochi (White Croaker)
  • Kodai (Sea Bream)
  • Soft Shell Crab
  • Isaki (Three Line Grunt)
  • There was also huge abalone on ice that was not listed on the specials menus.

#132

Great post.


#133

That looks amazing. I love whole fried fish.


#134

@PorkyBelly, if this is what you were inquiring about, I apologise. I assumed you were asking about the PorkyBaller specials.


#135

FYI, the black rock fish looks like it’s fried, but it was ordered as half grilled. When Raku does the “fried” option, they actually cut up the fillet into pieces, fry them, and then drop them into a dashi with mochi, chili daikon, and chives.

Maybe you can ask them to just deep fry and serve it straight up, but we’ve never tried that.


#136

It looks great the way you had it, so I will trust the chef. :slight_smile:


#137

I’ve always thought about ordering a whole fish, but never have. How much are they generally?


#138

Depends on the fish and the size. I think the price is the same regardless of how you order it (i.e. all sashimi, half sashimi/half fried, half grilled/half fried, etc.).

Houbou - $30
Kamasu - $32
Mebaru - $25

Based on past trips, they run between $25-35. (e.g. higesoridai - $28, ishimochi - $30, mejina - $30)


#139

Very reasonable actually.