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


Wonderful update as usual, @Chowseeker1999!
I’m not a huge fan of offal as well, but I’ve found that the horumon offered in Japanese eateries are approachable to non-offal eaters like me.

I think the focused cleaning and prep is what contributes to making parts like pork intestines kind of a gateway to other offal. If I recall, this part is called, “shiro,” meaning “white” (meat) in Japanese, which infers how “pristine” this section of digestive tract can be when thoroughly prepared.

I almost always order this when offered. Kushiyaki menus almost always have it, but it’s pretty common at okonomiyaki places as well (Flat iron grill, beer, sake, shochu = what’s not to like!) Like you, I appreciate the flavor, textures and slight funk of something I’d otherwise probably avoid.


Hi @beefnoguy,

Thanks. That is a brilliant idea! We’ll need to mention that to them next time. :wink: Motsu Nabe / Donburi would be pretty spectacular. :slight_smile:

Oh, one interesting note from this latest visit: Born “Dreams Come True” Junmai Daiginjo Sake has been taken off the new Sake Menu. :frowning: (Not that I could afford that, but one day… :sweat_smile:

I guess they might not have moved enough bottles of it.


Thanks @bulavinaka. :slight_smile:

Have you gotten a chance to try Raku yet? If you haven’t, keep in mind the Tendon and Intestine Skewers (and their Chicken Thigh, Breast, etc. as well). :wink:

And wow! They have Intestine for Okonomiyaki? :open_mouth: I can’t imagine the impressive funk with Oko. :smile:


Do you have pictures of the new sake menu? Would love to see it sometime.


I’ve been on the A. Raku sidelines. Waiting for positive uni reports - sounds like Holbox might be the first indicator.

Sorry I wasn’t clear on pig intestines/okonomiyaki. The pig intestines are a side dish eaten along side of okonomiyaki - at least in Hiroshima.

Horumon gained popularity in Hiroshima (I think) in the 80s, so much so that a 3rd uncle went rags-to-riches from an evening stall offering a horumon-heavy menu to kinda like a horumon eatery entrepreneur. Anyway, he told me that horumon was quickly gaining popularity in Hiroshima.

Beef tongue and pig intestines are very popular, as was raw pork and beef liver (these items were heavily discouraged, cited by the govt to be likely sources of e. coli, then banned). Typically offered at yakiton and kushiyaki joints, the grilled offal are naturals at oko joints as well.


I’m not sure it’s possible for me to go to Raku w/o ordering their sashimis. It is so divine, better than any sushi-yas I’ve tried.

A note about the kobe beef tendon. It is rather large compared to the other skewers, so order wisely. I would say one order per two people is the right call, given how rich it is. One time, we each got one and no one was able to finish theirs, granted it came out at the very end of our meal and we were all pretty full by then.


Hi @beefnoguy,

No I don’t, but I’ll try and take one next time. It looked like many of the same offerings at first glance (so I didn’t bother taking a pic), but then we noticed Born missing and the Gunma sake added.


Ooh, I see. :slight_smile: And your post just reminded me that Raku offers a Beef Liver Sashimi. One of these days I’ll have to try it. :sweat_smile:


More like Gin; high proof, clear with a strong residual funky mash flavor instead of the floral botanical flavours.

Btw, seems like they had a much higher pepper to awamori ratio in Okinawa, it was really spicy.



Of course…

Ah… a Shibumi omakase report forthcoming this week.


Great report as always, @Chowseeker1999!

Really happy to see that I may be able eat at Raku for the same as Torihei.

Did you press them at all on the “Kobe” beef?

@bulavinaka, +1 for a horumon-yaki place in LA. Where is all the horumon going from all the great pork that is being dispatched to LA restaruants? Hmm…

If they put it in Koreatown, I think it may have a chance.


Hi @Starchtrade,

Thanks. :slight_smile: Regarding “Kobe” not on this visit, but from previous visits, our server told us that it was “American Kobe” (from Oregon), and not real “Kobe-gyu” from Kobe, Japan, so I never thought the dishes we ordered would be true Kobe.

Yah, I have a few friends who’d love to get some Horumon-yaki, maybe we can get recommendations on the board. :slight_smile:


The secret word tonight is corgi.


Hi @Ns1,

Nice! Looking forward to your thoughts; hope you have a good dinner. :slight_smile:


Pro tip: Connie and Ted’s happy hour is great and only 5 minutes away from Raku.


Quick notes

  • foie gras chawanmushi still a perfect 5/7. That dashi is insane
  • sashimi sampler tonight was $25pp, aka half our bill
  • the egg/ikura/uni dish is not for me. Not now not ever.



More friends visiting, and they requested Aburiya Raku, so we gladly obliged. :wink:

The selection of fresh Fish for the evening:

We began the evening glancing over the Sake menu, and one thing we’re appreciating over the course of many visits is the updating and curating of this menu. At first glance it might be hard to tell, but the new additions have been welcome. On this visit we noticed a Sake and brewer we’d never heard of before and when our waitress described the taste, we had to try it. :slight_smile:

Sake Cup - Choose Wisely:

I love their tradition of letting you choose the design of your Sake cup for the evening. :blush:

Okunomatsu - Juhachidai ihei (十八代伊兵衛) - Daiginjo Shizukusake (Fukushima, Japan):

We’ve been fortunate to have experienced many delicious Sake over the years, and more recent recommendations from @beefnoguy like the Born series of Sake have been fantastic (thank you!). :slight_smile: This offering from Okunomatsu, Juhachidai ihei is nothing short of stunning!

This is what the bottle and menu list as a Shizukuzake / Shizuku Sake, which is a “drip method Sake,” meaning the Sake is extracted without manual pressing, by hanging it in a cotton bag and letting it drip to separate (sounds fascinating). I’ll defer to @beefnoguy and other Sake experts to chime in. :slight_smile:

But the result of this extraction method for the Juhachidai ihei is a delicate floral, almost sweet, but balanced Sake. There were notes of melon-like flavors, but it was balanced, and while not extremely dry, it finished so cleanly. According to the bottle, they have been brewing since 1716 in Japan! :open_mouth:

This was one of the best Sake we’ve ever tasted! Highly recommended! :heart: Paging all the Sake lovers @beefnoguy @J_L @BradFord @CiaoBob @bulavinaka and anyone I might’ve missed (@TheCookie?) .

Oyaji Tofu (Homemade Tofu with a side of Chili Garlic Sauce and Japanese Mustard Greens):

Their Homemade Tofu - a delicate, silky mouthfeel - gets elevated with strong, but not overpowering, additions with their Takana (Japanese Mustard Greens) and Chili Garlic Sauce. A wonderful starter! :slight_smile:

Shima Aji Sashimi (Striped Jack):

Excellent, as fresh and wonderful as usual. Knife work and attention to detail on the accompanying ingredients (that all go well with the Sashimi) is appreciated as always. :slight_smile:

Katsuo Sashimi (Bonito) - Chiba, Japan:

For this evening, our waitress points out that they just got in Katsuo from Chiba, Japan. It is a heavier fish compared to Kanpachi and Shima Aji, but it’s meaty yet tender, and the pairing with fresh-grated Ginger is wonderful! :slight_smile:

Ken2 Salad (Arugula Salad with Organic Chicken Breast, Pine Nuts, Grilled Corn, Sun Dried Tomato, Organic Chicken Skin and Wakame Seaweed):

This is one Salad that continues to stand out even for some of our “I don’t eat Salad!” friends that tag along. :wink: :smile: To this date, even Salad-haters have been surprised and enjoyed the Ken2 Salad. Perhaps it’s the combination of moist, tender Organic Chicken Breast (that was actually fresh-cooked and sliced, and not pre-packaged stuff) mixed with Grilled Corn, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Wakame Seaweed… or it’s just the crunchy Deep Fried Organic Chicken Skin crackling on top? :wink:

Juicy Deep-Fried Asajime Chicken:

Moist with a nice crunchiness on the exterior, as tasty as usual. :slight_smile:

Our Yakitori and Kushiyaki (Grilled Skewers) appear at this point. Most are repeats of our favorites from before, and they were wonderful as usual! :slight_smile:

Asajime Teba Chicken Wing:

Enoki Mushrooms with Bacon Skewers:

Okra Skewers:

They are simple and classic, but surprisingly this was many of our friends favorite of the evening (along with 4 - 5 other items ;)).

Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewer:

Salmon Belly (listed as “Kama or Fish Belly (Teriyaki / Shio)”):

I finally remembered to order this after so many recommendations from @PorkyBelly! :slight_smile:

Wow! :open_mouth:

I regret not ordering this more often! :cry: As much as I love Gjusta’s Salmon Belly from their Smoked Fish / Seafood Case, having Salmon Belly perfectly grilled over charcoal on their Yakitori grill is amazing! It is juicy, tender, luscious and SO GOOD! :heart: Definitely a must-order. Thanks @PorkyBelly! :slight_smile:

They didn’t have Yellowtail Belly this evening, but we’ll be back to try that next time! :slight_smile:

Steamed Foie Gras Egg Custard:

As many times as I’ve come to expect the silky, light, delicate Chawanmushi (Steamed Egg Custard) at Raku, which whips and blends the Foie Gras into the Egg Custard before steaming, it still continues to blow me away! Wonderfully airy, light, fragile and yet it has that backnote of buttery lusciousness from the Foie Gras combined within.

It is outstanding! :blush: And the highlight of the evening! (tied with the Juhachidai ihei Sake.) :heart:

Thanks again @Ns1. :slight_smile:

Pig Ears:

Don’t forget to add the Koregusu (Okiniwan Pepper & Awamori Rice Spirit blend). We devoured 2 orders of this. :slight_smile:

Asajime Chicken Breast wrapped with Chicken Skin:

Kurobuta Pork Cheek Skewer:

Kurobuta Pork Belly:

Slow-cooked, stewed Pork Belly, that blend of succulent fat and lean, and so tasty. :slight_smile:

Pork Intestine Skewer:

Tsukune-Grilled Asajime Ground Chicken Skewer:

Beef Tendon Skewer:

So, so good! :heart:

Soft-Shell Crab (New Zealand):

@PorkyBelly I found the other half of your missing Soft-Shell Crab from Kato! :stuck_out_tongue: Raku serves whole Soft-Shell Crabs on special this evening, flown in from New Zealand.

They were fantastic! Done in an Age (Fried) style, with a light batter, crunchy and not oily. :slight_smile:

Foie Gras with Glazed Soy-based Sauce Skewer:

And we finished up with their Foie Gras cooked over their Yakitori grill. Perfectly cooked, buttery perfection! :blush:

Aburiya Raku continues to deliver wonderful dining experiences with friends. Sitting back and enjoying their variety of Skewers or Small Plates or their Market Board with Daily Specials, along with an extensive and thoughtful Sake menu, it continues to be a welcome Yakitori & Kushiyaki and Izakaya specialist in this part of town.

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

A Master Class in Exquisite, Wonderful Sushi - Mori Sushi

Nice, so glad you liked the belly, your belly picture needs to be tagged NSFW damn.

please return to your nearest porkybelly at your earliest convenience.


Thanks @PorkyBelly. :grin:

I can’t wait to go back and get the Yellowtail Belly when it’s back in.


Glad you enjoyed the Okunomatsu! I personally have not tried it (it was on my bucket list, but not anymore due to preference changes in the last eight months), though the bottle you got won several awards in Japan and I’m sure is very, very good. What was Raku’s price on this?