Fantastic Japanese Tapas (Izakaya) hits West Hollywood - Aburiya RAKU - pictures


Took me a while but finally made it to Raku last night with some friends. Simply wow. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Not a single miss from the many things we tried. Not going to cover everything in detail as there was a lot of overlap in what we ordered and what chowseeker already covered, but the sashimi that this place is doing is simply second to none. We ordered a combination sashimi platter and it was maybe the best I’ve had.

I was really curious to try the Agedashi tofu here as I thought the one I had at Kinjiro was incredible. While Raku’s version was really good, I preferred the version at Kinjiro slightly more. Just felt like it had more umami than the Raku version. Still would not hesitate to order agian.

In terms of the yakitori, the pork cheek was a standout. We got 2nds of that one.

I was high fiving my friends the food was so good.


Hi @tailbacku,

Nice! So glad you enjoyed your visit to Raku. :slight_smile:

Pork Cheek skewers are definitely delicious, as are most of the skewers. Did you try the Tendon or Foie Gras?


Didn’t try the tendon or foie gras skewers. We did get the foie gras egg custard with udon noodles and that was a bit hit.



Most of the dishes have been covered before, so it might be short on the descriptions (we had more friends visiting from out-of-town, that wanted to try Raku and the dishes we told them about). :slight_smile:

Kikusui Perfect Snow (Niigata, Japan):

A chilled, sweet note to start the evening.

Popeye Salad (Spinach Salad with Sauteed Mushrooms, Bacon, Cashew Nuts):

One of the most delicious “Salad Dressings” in town… made of Warm Sauteed Mushrooms and Bacon. :wink:

Tenaga Ebi - Langoustine - Scotland:

One of their daily specials were Langoustine Sashimi. Clean, bright, nice meatiness, their Tenaga Ebi really tasted like a cross between Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) and Lobster Sashimi. Excellent! :slight_smile:

Agedashi Tofu:

Just as consistent as before. Slightly crisped exterior and a soft, delicate interior of their Housemade Tofu. :slight_smile:

Kanpachi - Amberjack Sashimi - Kyushu, Japan:

Our friends were as astounded as we were the first time we came to Raku: That this “izakaya / pub” was serving Sashimi of this quality and level of execution (that was as good as what they’ve had in previous visits at L.A.'s top Sushi joints).

The Kanpachi was so fresh, clean, gorgeously plated and the accompaniments like the Kiku (Chrysanthemum Flower) were spot on again. :slight_smile:

Asparagus with Bacon Skewers:

Enoki Mushrooms with Bacon Skewers:

Delicious! (For those that don’t eat Bacon, you can order the skewers without.)

Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewers:

I think at this point Raku has easily become our favorite place for Yakitori. Their Asajime Chicken (Free-Range Chicken that’s dispatched the same day as needed) exudes a real, wonderful poultry flavor, where so many times Chicken skewers don’t taste enough like anything.

Asajime Chicken Breast wrapped with Chicken Skin Skewers:

Being able to make Chicken Breast perfectly cooked-through, still moist, and with an amazing bit of Crisped Chicken Skin on the outside is something to celebrate. :slight_smile:

Kobe Beef Tendon Skewer:

The fact that they can serve a Beef Tendon Skewer, roasted over charcoal to get this crispy exterior, yielding a gorgeous gelatinous, wonderfully marinated slab of Tendon is nothing short of amazing! This ended up being one of our friend’s favorite dish this evening. :slight_smile:

Foie Gras with Glazed Soy-based Sauce Skewer:

As buttery, luscious as before! @A5KOBE thanks again. :slight_smile:

Juicy Deep-Fried Asajime Chicken:

Steamed Foie Gras Chawanmushi (Egg Custard):

This was my favorite dish for the evening. You can’t go wrong with perfectly steamed, delicate, light Egg Custard that’s been mixed with Foie Gras. It’s silky, supple, yet also has this amazing crave-worthy backnote with each bite! This is fantastic! :heart:

Aburiya Raku
521 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Tel: (213) 308-9393


I had been to this Raku a handful of times before, but tried the Kobe Beef Tendon for the first time thanks to this board.

WoW :heart_eyes:


HI @BlurA14,

Thanks for the report back. Glad you liked the Kobe Beef Tendon Skewers. One of our favs as well! :blush: I’m starting to crave it again LOL.


Just FYI for people, I asked for a sashimi sampler as well. Really good, priced at $25 per person.


I love that chawanmushi. One of the best things I’ve ever had. :slight_smile:


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Nice! Glad you liked it. :slight_smile: Wait… where’s your pics and report on Raku?! :wink:

I’ve been waiting for you try it; so glad to hear that you made it out! What else did you like on your visit? :slight_smile:


Pretty much everything. It was my friend’s b-day, so I didn’t take any photos. :wink:

  • Agedashi tofu: silky, delicate, crispy, salty (in a good way)
  • Sashimi (I think it was tuna served 3 ways + yellowtail? They had run out of a lot of their sushi the night b/f, so they had to do some improvising): excellent (not a developed enough sushi palate to say more than that)
  • Chicken breast w/ skin: border on a high art, and the skin is marvelous
  • Kobe beef on a hot stone (pretty sure it was kobe): Argh. It’s very tasty, but it was also $70 for a few slices. Not worth it to me. Would rather just have wagyu at Wadetsumi. There’s an obvious taste in difference btw the two, but I can live w/ the inferior (but still very good) version to save $50. And I think wagyu and kobe might just be too fatty to me to truly enjoy (hangs head ashamedly).

I think we had a few other items, but I can’t recall what they were.


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Great report, thanks. :slight_smile: Glad you enjoyed your dishes. And yes, that Asajime Chicken Breast w/ Crispy Chicken Skin Skewer is so delicious! :blush:


Update 5:

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. :slight_smile:

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! :slight_smile: Thanks @beefnoguy for the recommendation. I can see why this is a called “Mansion of Dreams.” :slight_smile:

Asparagus with Bacon Skewer:

Light smokiness, perfectly cooked Asparagus and crisped Bacon. Lovely Bacon. (You can order this without Bacon as well.) :slight_smile:

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! :slight_smile:

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.

Pork Ears:

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. :slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

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! :slight_smile:

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! :heart:

@PorkyBelly we have a winner. :slight_smile:

Kobe Beef Tendon Skewer:

Just awesome and so good as usual, crisped outside, lush, buttery inside! :blush:

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.) :slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

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). :wink:

Aburiya Raku
521 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Tel: (213) 308-9393


Have you tried their salmon belly yet? I prefer it to the salmon, it’s crispy, salty, and so fatty it’s almost impossible to over cook.


Thanks for the shout out. :wink: Was going to ask if the pig ears were served w/ a dipping sauce b/f I saw the next pic. The one time I had pig ears (some place in Little Tokyo), I felt like having some sort of bright, acidic sauce was a must…

Such mouth-watering pics. :slight_smile:


Hi @PorkyBelly,

That looks amazing! How did I miss this?! :smile: I must try this next time.

Thanks for the tip!


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Thanks. Yes, definitely order the Roasted Pig Ears next time you go, and add some of that Okinawan condiment. So good! :slight_smile:


Thanks for tagging me in your meal, @Chowseeker1999. How did you know that I’m a takana fiend? The oyaji tofu and takana inari look right up my alley. I so envy your meals!


Hi @MaladyNelson,

I knew it, LOL! :slight_smile: Their Homemade Takana is delicious. I just realized I haven’t been that good in documenting Raku’s menu items that are safe for you to eat, but some of them include:

  • Homemade Agedashi Tofu
  • Homemade Oyaji Tofu
  • Tofu Salad
  • Sashimi Salad (Spinach Salad with Chef Selection Sashimi (which is always amazing!) and Crispy Onions)
  • Dried Tatami Sardine Salad
  • Yellowtail Carpaccio
  • Sunomono - Rice Vinegar Cucumber & Seaweed
  • Daily Special - Ohitashi
  • Crispy Fried Shrimp
  • Agedashi Kama or Fish Belly

Robata Grill / Skewers / Kushi

  • Hamachi Tare - Yellowtail
  • Robata Kama or Belly (Tare / Shio)
  • Butter Sauteed Scallop with Shoyu
  • Asparagus Skewers
  • Tomato Skewers
  • Mushroom Skewers
  • Eringi Mushroom Skewers
  • Okura
  • Nasu!

Rice / Noodles / Soup

  • Ikura Don
  • Takana Inari - So good!
  • Yaki Onigiri - Grilled Rice Ball (Ume (Japanese Plum) or Grilled Salmon)
  • “Yummy Miso Soup” :slight_smile: (their words - I need to order this next time to see what this is like!)


  • Melting Chocolate Cake
  • Green Tea Creme Brulee
  • Fluffy Cheese Cake - So good! :slight_smile:
  • Homemade Sorbet

And their Daily Specials Board always has a variety of some of the most pristine, bright, fantastic Sashimi we’ve had around the city! (They usually have Shima Aji, Kanpachi, Maguro, and recently some great items like Tairagai and Mizu Tako.) :slight_smile:

And if you see their Uni Udon on the menu, you should order that also. :smile:


Guilty as charged, @Chowseeker1999! You know me too well. It’s awfully kind of you to go to the trouble of listing all the pescatarian-friendly dishes. I truly appreciate your efforts! Can’t wait to try Aburiya RAKU’s takana.


Glad you enjoyed Yumedono “Mansion of Dreams”, it’s quite versatile with food pairings (I actually had it with bun rieu a year ago as it goes nicely with tomato, fermented shrimp paste protein stock, crab, and herbs). I need to try this with izakaya type food sometime.