Back for another visit, mainly because we started looking for great Braised Pork Belly since some of us on FTC got hit with some mediocre versions of this recently.
Oyaji Tofu (Raku’s Homemade Tofu with a side of Chili Garlic Sauce, Japanese Mustard Greens):
Their other 2 Homemade Tofu dishes are excellent, but it had been a while since we had the Oyaji Tofu. It arrives simply plated, with the Green Onions, Chili Garlic Sauce and Japanese Mustard Greens in 3 simple mounds.
You mix it together:
And it transforms this simple dish into something fantastic! Their Homemade Tofu’s texture is more appealing than the one we had at Kinjiro. The Chili Garlic Sauce, Mustard Greens add a massive depth of flavor: It’s a beautiful pungency from the Chili & Garlic mixture, and the Pickled Japanese Mustard Greens adds some pop and a nice slight crunch from the vegetables. Refreshing and delicious.
Masumi - Yumedono “Mansion of Dreams” - Daiginjo Sake (Nagano, Japan):
Taking a sip: There’s an almost delicate fruit note on the palate, it’s clean, and has a nice smooth finish. Fantastic Sake! Thanks @beefnoguy for the recommendation. I can see why this is a called “Mansion of Dreams.”
Asparagus with Bacon Skewer:
Light smokiness, perfectly cooked Asparagus and crisped Bacon. Lovely Bacon. (You can order this without Bacon as well.)
Popeye Salad (Spinach Salad with Sauteed Mushrooms, Bacon, Cashew Nuts):
As good as before. I think we like the Ken2 Salad more, but this is quite delicious, with its warm Mushroom Dressing.
Asajime Chicken Breast Wrapped with Chicken Skin Skewer:
In honor of @paranoidgarliclover’s visit. Crisped Chicken Skin on the outside, moist, tender Chicken Breast on the inside. Love this skewer!
Salmon with Ikura Oroshi Skewer:
In wanting to try something new on the menu, we tried a Salmon Skewer from their Robata grill. Sounded intriguing - Salmon roasted over Binchotan Charcoal. It was OK. Slightly overcooked (still moist), it had a nice smokiness from the Charcoal, but we’d skip this next time.
This looks rather plain, but they are so good! Don’t miss out on delicious, slightly crunchy, gelatinous, crisped Roasted Pig Ears over Binchotan Charcoal.
They have such an attention to detail, they even include the ideal condiment to match the Pork Ears, Koregusu (Okinawa Island Peppers with Awamori (Okinawan Sake)):
Make sure you sprinkle some of the Koregusu condiment over the Roasted Pork Ears: It adds a nice tart spiciness to the delicious fatty, crunchy Pork Ears.
Tsukune Grilled Ground Asajime Chicken Skewers:
Our favorite Tsukune (Ground Chicken “Meatball”) Skewers in L.A.! Totally juicy, moist, wonderfully spiced Asajime Free-Range Ground Chicken. Their Tare Sauce is spot-on, lightly sweet, but savory. Must order!
Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewer:
Teriyaki Kurobuta Pork Ribs:
Juicy, smoky, lovely Pork Ribs roasted over Binchotan.
Kobe Beef Silver Skin Skewer:
This is normally cut away from most cuts of beef, but it’s separated and roasted as a skewer here. The Kobe Beef Silver Skin has a slight chew, but is quite tender and juicy, and there’s an interesting, unique beefy quality.
Kurobuta Pork Belly:
It had been a long time (maybe a year) since we last ordered this dish. After the mediocre Pork Belly Kakuni from Tsubaki, and the disastrous version from Kinjiro last night, off we went to Raku for their version this evening:
Luscious, melt-in-your-mouth lean and fatty portions of long-stewed Pork Belly. This was mouth-wateringly delicious, with a fantastic depth of flavor from being long-stewed. Highlight of the evening!
@PorkyBelly we have a winner.
Kobe Beef Tendon Skewer:
Just awesome and so good as usual, crisped outside, lush, buttery inside!
Takana Inari (Fried Tofu Pouch Stuffed with Rice Mixed with Japanese Mustard Greens):
We have never ordered this dish at Raku before. As one of our dear friends calls it, the “football” is usually seen as a humble, throwaway item at various non-specialty restaurants offering some type of Sushi platter / combo. But we wanted to try something new, and decided to order it.
I’m so glad we did!
Leave it up to Raku and their outstanding staff for serving a fantastic Inari: The Fried Tofu outer shell is almost meaty in its texture (in a good way), well-seasoned. But it’s the inside that makes this sing:
Fluffy, wonderfully cooked Steamed Rice, mixed with their Housemade Takana (Japanese Mustard Greens), that this subtle, nice flavor (and some crunchiness with each bite). Wonderful! (and something @MaladyNelson would probably like.)
Oyako Bowl - Asajime Chicken and Egg:
If you’re craving a bowl of slowly Simmered Chicken and Egg, in a lightly sweet-salty broth, with Onions and Green Onions over plump, wonderful Steamed Rice, look no further than Oyako Bowl made with Asajime Chicken and Free Range Egg.
This was really satisfying and a great way to finish up the evening.
Aburiya Raku continues to deliver some outstanding dishes and Yakitori skewers and more. In the search for great Pork Belly Kakuni, this is a dish not to be missed (along with a bunch of other items that the FTCers have listed above).
521 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Tel: (213) 308-9393