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



You seem to be a rather polarizing character here. I don’t care. I am neither supporter nor detractor.

I agree with you, Raku does receive a lot of hype here.


This is where your visit fell short. Raku, at its core, is a grilled skewer joint. You only ordered a couple of the 30 or so that are on offer.

Give them another shot.

Drink cold beer and enjoy meat sticks.


The universe needs matter + anti-matter after all =P

Yeah, you’re probably right. I guess I underestimated how much you’re supposed to rely on ordering skewers.

However, although the foie gras skewer the best savory dish, the “kobe filet” skewer was horrible, the tsukune was good, though, it’s true.

If I go back for the cheesecake sometime, I’ll try some more skewers instead of the other stuff.


i’m going to disagree. “hype” is just about the most misused word
’round these parts. possibly everywhere.


Ok, @linus . Replace “hype” with the word of your choice: buzz, coverage, attention.

Raku gets a lot of it here.

Also, my first post on FTC was to bitch about a $21 (now $23!?) plate of pork kakuni @ Tsubaki.
I still don’t get it… ($30 after tax/tip!!)

A $140 izakaya meal churns me. Almost as much as the deceit of putting “Kobe beef” on the menu.
(This Kobe beef is almost definitely some bastard great-grandchild 1/4 Tajima cow that was born & raised in Nebraska. Hell, if the cow was a human, her name would be Kaitlyn Eriko Sherman. Besides her middle name and her Hello Kitty iPhone case, her only relation to her Japanese heritage would be when she lords it over her friends while they stuff their faces with eel sauce-smothered sushi rolls.)

As @Aesthete noted, you almost definitely (I have not yet been to Raku) can get better meals elsewhere for less.


Spot on, typically dinner only runs me at around $70 pp and thats with me over ordering. By no means am I a light eater either.


haha so true


This is a trend with your posts. Template:

Step 1: Create a straw man about what other people think (e.g. Raku receives more hype than any other restaurant)
Step 2: Directly call people on the board out for being wrong, with a passive aggressive tone about how it’s odd to you that people have a different view than you do.
Step 3: When people inevitably respond, you feign shock (e.g. “idk why people are so up in arms about a single dissenting view on a place”)

There’s nothing even unique here, this is trolling 101 for teenagers. Yawn.


Even given the real estate? The lease can’t be cheap…


Whew the Raku fanboys are reallllll pissy lol


How do so many other restaurants in exact same area serve better food for half the price then?


Tsukune is $3.50, how much less should they charge?


surely you dont mean all these words are synonyms?

i apologize for calling you surely.




Update 6:

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

One of our favorite Salads at Aburiya Raku, the combination of a deep, porkiness from the Bacon, nuttiness from the Cashew and their Housemade Soy-Ginger Dressing makes it really satisfying. :slight_smile:

Seitoku - Trapeza - Junmai Ginjo Sake (Gunma, Japan):

A new addition to the menu, we haven’t had that many notable Sake from Gunma, so we were eager to try this. Seitoku has an immediate alcohol note, but quickly dissipates on the palate and finishes extremely smooth. Drinkable by itself, it paired really well with quite a few of the dishes this evening. :slight_smile:

Okra Skewers:

That perfect smokiness from their imported Japanese Binchotan Charcoal, the Okra are just cooked through, and the Katsuoboshi (Bonito Shavings) reinforce the flavors. Fantastic! :slight_smile:

Eryngii Mushroom Skewers:

While they offer a variety of Mushroom Skewers, the Eryngii Mushroom Skewers might be their best offering: It soaks up the subtle smokiness from the Yakitori grill, but retains a delicate meatiness and unique earthy flavor. Not as powerfully aromatic as Truffle, but the Eryngii are noteworthy in their own right.

Asajime Chicken Breast Wrapped with Chicken Skin:

Raku’s use of Free-Range, Asajime Chicken (dispatched the day of cooking) really makes their Yakitori stand out: It is still amazing just how juicy, flavorful and with a distinct poultry flavor their Yakitori skewers are. The Asajime Chicken Breast morsels are plump, juicy, and in an elegant touch, they surround the Chicken Breast with crisped up Chicken Skin. Brilliant. :blush:

Pork Ears:

In a standout and unusual option, Raku offers Pig Ears roasted over their Yakitori grill(!). As lovely as usual, they are crisped up, smoky, and still have a bit of the gelatinous cartilage crunch on the inside.

Don’t forget to add their…

Koregusu (Okinawa Island Peppers with Awamori (Okinawan Sake)):

The attention to detail by Raku is impeccable. The pairing with Koregusu really makes the Pig Ears stand out (the condiment was added just for the Pork Ears). :slight_smile:

Steamed Foie Gras Chawanmushi (Egg Custard):

Oh yah! The @A5KOBE @Porthos @js76wisco @PorkyBelly @Ns1 favorite is as satisfying as before: Beautiful creamy, light Chawanmushi, perfectly cooked as usual, custardy, silky, and brilliantly infused with Foie Gras mixed in. There’s a real wonderful unctuousness in each bite. So good! :blush:

Pork Intestine Skewer:

As noted before, I don’t like Offal that much at all, and Intestine isn’t something I normally enjoy, but I can’t stop ordering this dish! :smile: A perfect showcase of their Kushiyaki grilling skills, crisped exterior, creamy interior with just a subtle touch of funk, this is one of the best Intestine dishes I’ve ever had! So good! :heart:

Don’t forget to add a dab of Shichimi Togarashi (the Japanese 7 Spice Mixture that’s on the table’s condiments section). :wink:

American Kobe Beef Tendon Skewer:

Even better than their Pork Intestine Skewer, this is an outstanding hefty chunk of crisped Beef Tendon on the exterior, giving way to an amazing soft, gelatinous, creamy, silky example of why Tendon is so great. Whenever 3 of my friends visit, they insist on coming to Raku just for the Tendon! :heart:

Tsukune Grilled Ground Asajime Chicken Skewer:

Yes, this looks like a Meat Lollipop :stuck_out_tongue:, but it’s a nice example of juicy Ground Asajime Chicken, marinated with spices and mixed with Shiso Leaf. Their Housemade Tare Sauce helps to elevate this dish.

“Yummy Miso Soup”:

The humorous and cutely named menu item is a good Miso Soup. There’s more care than the usual freebie given away at most local places. Using their Housemade Tofu (already an upgrade), it’s fresh and silky, the Mushrooms and Miso are in balance. A very good Miso Soup, but unless you’re craving it, it’s not a must order.

Takana Inari (Fried Tofu Pouch Stuffed with Rice Mixed with Japanese Mustard Greens):

One of the more recent discoveries, it isn’t surprising that Aburiya Raku has elevated what is usually the “throwaway / despised” piece of a Sushi Combination Plate - the Inari / “Football” - and created something sublime out of it: The plump, perfectly cooked Rice, mixed with their Housemade Takana (Japanese Mustard Greens), gives you that satisfying mouthfeel of great Steamed Rice, the slight crunch from the Takana, which is excellent!, and then wrapped in their Housemade Fried Tofu exterior.

It’s subtly sweet, salty, crunchy, plump and just satisfying with each bite! SO GOOD! :blush:

Service was excellent, and we were absolutely stuffed (we couldn’t finish all the food). And the total for all of this was $62 total (including tax and tip already) per person. Yes, it’s possible to order well and get some of their best dishes without overspending. :wink:

In comparison with some of the regular standbys for solid Izakaya in the area, our favorite Westside Morinoya we average about $70+ per person (no extravagant MP dishes). A South Bay favorite, Otafuku usually runs us about $70 - $85 range (no MP dishes added). Heck even the mediocrity that is Honda-Ya when we went a few times years ago ran us $50+ a person.

Aburiya Raku offers a good choice of options and highlights, from their outstanding Yakitori & Kushiyaki menu (skewers), to Housemade Tofu dishes, tasty Salads, Small Plates and some excellent dishes in their Noodles & Rice section. Their Daily Specials Board is a treat, but it’s also the Market Price portion of the menu, so it’s to be expected that ordering a bunch of items at “Market Price” will be more expensive than ordering off the regular menu. Their Sake Menu is extensive and outstanding as well.

But what sets apart Raku for us is their excellence in execution, quality ingredients and sourcing (minus the steak), and the fact it’s just so delicious. :slight_smile:

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


What!? No sashimi or fish belly? I kid i kid.



Btw, Awamori is a distilled spirit (~30% alc.) made from long grain rice, I think it taste more like Chinese baijiu. Has a fairly strong flavor.


LOL!!! I was just plotting our trip to Raku and I’m much more excited about the cooked dishes…:



I must say that Raku was one of the highlights of my LA visit last year, and even after eating in Tokyo this past November from high end to low end, that places like Raku, Mori Sushi, Yazawa (esp Yazawa yaki with that dope egg dip) and even a humble plate from Gyu Tan Tsukasa at Costa Mesa Mitskwa food court are still so memorable with high satisfaction levels.

I’m totally in agreement on the beef tendons and pork intestines! They should offer a motsu donburi with these two ingredients, some extra tare/sauce, maybe some scallions. Then nibble on pig ears with it. Absolutely heavenly.


Man I already know from those pics and words that the beef tendon and I will be friends. Nice find with that inari!


Hi @Sgee,

I’ve a few friends talk about Chinese baijiu but I heard it’s really potent. :sweat_smile: Is it like Wild Turkey or something? Thanks.