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


Hi @BHAppeal,

Nice! Will it be your first time visit to Raku, or been a few times? :slight_smile:


:laughing: You got it. Thanks! Coinkydink… if you’re off to Top Round it means you live in my 'hood. Among other fast-casual or plain 'ole fast food spots, we’ve been living on Top Round.

Sorry @Chowseeker1999! :grimacing: Here’s an Aburiya Raku tidbit. My nephew took his new lady there the other night on my recommendation. A+ Score. She particularly loved the Sake cup presentation.


First timer, and looking forward to it. :slight_smile:


Awesome! Hope you found some recommendations in this thread. Looking forward to your thoughts. :slight_smile:


I can’t imagine anyone loving remodeling. Even as an ex- house flipper, it is exhausting @TheCookie.

Just finishing my Tiki bar I’m pooped!


Hi !

Especially when you’re trying to live there. :tired_face:
Pooped too… Saving the Raku report I’m working on… tbc.

P.S. Looking forward to a pic of the Tiki bar!


All this posting was making me hungry, so I made a visit Tuesday night:

Highlights were the moriawase, octopus karaage, amuses bouches (yuba, ikura, pickled vegetables, assorted chopped fish) and that amazing cheesecake. The corn/potato thing was clever, but a bit dry for me. Bonito belly was good, but I sort of wish I ordered the salmon. Not pictured are the oyagi tofu and chicken breast with skin – these are always on point. Such a great meal. Chef Matt is so talented, gracious, and generous. A personal observation: I always think I order too little when I visit. However, I am always a few points overstuffed every time I leave!


Hi @djquinnc,

Nice report! :slight_smile: Wow, they have Yuba on the menu now? Or was that part of an omakase?

Looks great. And yes, definitely try the Yellowtail Belly or Salmon Belly next time (they are amazing). :slight_smile:


The yuba with the ikura was just a little dish that was sent compliments of the chef. Super sweet and super tasty gesture. I don’t recall if I saw anything yuba specific on the special’s board though.


i don’t know why i don’t go to this place more often. well, i do, but who cares?

anywho, had some sashimi, a grilled baby barracuda – can’t pass up
an opportunity to have a baby grilled – and the tofu with chili and mustard greens.
all terrif.
a little less thrilled with the poached egg/uni/salmon roe thingy. while normally
i’m a big fan of eating the unborn, this just…didn’t taste like much.
had a ground chicken skewer which opinion was split on.
drank beer. eh.
food came kind of slow, but that might have been just me.

never had a less than great meal at this joint here or in vegas.


Glad you liked it @linus.

Have you tried the Foie Gras Egg Custard or have any favorites for skewers? (If you haven’t tried it, Tendon, Pig Ears, Chicken Thigh, Pork Intestine are all worth trying. :slight_smile:


many apologies, but i dont have favourites i can recall skewer-wise.
it had been a while since i had been.
ive sort of lost my taste for foie gras, and principessa definitely has. we wanted to eat kind of light.
i do tend to prefer the non ground chicken skewers. i think i had the duck skewers once and found them good not great.
also, unless other folks are around to share w me, i dont get to order “parts” as that’s not her glory’s bag.

i do remember – detailess, of course – going to the vegas location with a lacto ovo vegetarian pal and having a hell of a meal.


Update XX:

Had a quick meal there, mostly some of our favorites (repeats), so I’ll keep it to just pics. :slight_smile:

But some interesting new additions to the Sake Menu. @beefnoguy, have you tried any of these new additions?

  • Dassai Beyond Junmai Daigjinjo - $1,200 per bottle! :open_mouth:
  • Kuramitsu Junmai Daiginjo
  • Fukuju Junmai Daiginjo
  • Oze Yukidoke Junmai
  • Suehiro Rin Draft Sake

We ended up trying one of the new bottles…

Oze no Yukidoke Okarakuchi - Junmai Sake (Gunma, Japan):

This started with a slightly round, but dry initial taste, but the finish had a bit of an alcoholic burn (but with a dry finish). It felt like it had potential, but it didn’t really pair that well with most of the dishes.

Oyaji Tofu:

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

Eggplant Skewer:

Corn Potato Skewer (Off-Menu):

Pig Ears:

Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewer:

Pork Intestine Skewer:

As ridiculously good as before! :slight_smile:

Beef Tendon Skewer:


Foie Gras Egg Custard (Chawanmushi):

Wagyu Rib Cap Skewer (Miyazaki, Japan):

Thanks to @PorkyBelly for the recommendation. :slight_smile: On their Specials Menu only (from time-to-time). This was pretty delicious. Loved the Garlic Chip accentuating the nicely marbled Japanese Wagyu.

Takana Inari:

Live Uni Udon:

They’ve definitely changed this dish: It used to be the entire Uni (all lobes) and the Sauce was just liquid Uni goodness. They’ve diluted it and changed the taste. It’s not bad, but not worth ordering any more.

Overall, a wonderful time with friends and enjoying great food and delicious Sake. :slight_smile:

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


I’ve tried all of the sake before, though I don’t recall specifics on the Suehiro Rin organic nama honjozo

Dassai Beyond

Kikusui Kuramitsu (the black bottle on the right, the Kikusui Sakamai Junmai Daiginjo is to the left)

Fukuju Black Label Junmai Daiginjo

Suehiro Rin (Organic Nama Honjozo)

Fukuju Black, Kuramitsu, and of course Dassai Beyond are all very, very good. But they are far too delicate to enjoy

Sorry to hear the Oze No Yukidoke Okarakuchi Junmai didn’t work! Super dry sake can be an acquired taste, and it’s very different than say the Dewazakura Izumi Judan (which is a Ginjo, with distilled alcohol added), though this is a Junmai and quite hardcore for one. This would probably work better with deep fried food.

The brewery of Oze No Yukidoke (Ryujin) also does some excellent beer (IPAs), and if I am not mistaken, the beer is actually a side product (hobby) of the brewery (either the President or the Master Brewer).

If you ever come across the Ryujin lineup of their single pasteurized sake (Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo), you should try them. The bottle on the right (Junmai Ginjo) is especially excellent with izakaya food (Ginji / Aburiya Raku) and is almost on par with Tedorigawa Kinka with structure, balance, and satisfaction. But if you want something a bit smoother and less bold, the Junmai Daiginjo is great too.


Hi @beefnoguy,

Nice! :slight_smile: Thanks again for the great thoughts and info! As expected, of course you’ve tried all of the new additions. :wink:

Would you say the Dassai Beyond Junmai Daiginjo was noticeably better than Born Dreams Come True? (which you said was on your bucket list / worth trying?)

Comparing the retail pricing, Dassai Beyond is over 200% of the price of Born Dreams Come True(!). Crazy.

And that’s good to know that all of the top 3 (Dassai Beyond, Kuramitsu and Fukuju Black) were too delicate to enjoy and probably be overpowered by Izakaya fare.

That’s really cool to know Oze No Yukidoke makes a beer lineup! I’ve never seen that offered at any of the local restaurants but I’ll keep my eye out for it.

Now that I see the label, I know I’ve tried Dragon God (Ryujin) before, but I forgot where. That’s exciting to hear that the Junmai Ginjo is almost on par with Tedorigawa Kinka (which is wonderful). :slight_smile:


Beyond and Fukuju Black do work well with sushi, and I would even consider them to work nicely at Mori Sushi (maybe Shunji as well), probably with the Kikusui Kuramitsu as well. Probably will be just as fine at places like n/Naka, high end French (maybe the more fresh vegetable centric dishes that rely on the natural sweetness, flavors, and strength of the ingredients with less cooking/sauces/seasoning). These bottles are also enjoyable to drink standalone, like an apertif (more so for the Beyond and Kuramitsu which are polished to 23% or below), or if you must have one with izakaya food, best probably to enjoy earlier on in the meal with say, sashimi, salad, and lighter/natural sweetness type of fare, or inbetween bites. If anything, Fukuju Black will hold up better with food from say, Raku, than the Beyond or Kikusui Kiramitsu.

Beyond and Fukuju Black (and I suspect the Kuramitsu as well) are great with nigiri sushi, and I think they will be excellent to enjoy at Mori Sushi and likely Shunji.

For non sushi items, foods with delicate/natural sweetness would be optimal pairings for the Beyond (if the intent is to pair food to enhance the overall enjoyment, or in certain cases, elevate the taste of the sake more so than the food itself), e.g. pristine sashimi (shiromi/white fleshed fish), maybe uni, ama ebi, raw oysters (Connie & Ted’s raw oysters selection immediately comes to mind, the Dassai 23 Centrifuge [BYOB] was especially excellent there), or something like an edamame mousse. Perhaps some of the really delicate fare at n/Naka, something minimal vegetable centric at high end kaiseki or French.

As far as Beyond vs Dreams Come True, they are built very differently and it is hard to compare the two. Dreams Come True is aged five years in low temperature, more aromatic and stronger flavored, like Wings of Japan but better (though Wings of Japan goes better with foie gras). I’d say if you ever have the chance to taste either, just go for it.

What were the bottle and/or by the glass prices at Raku for Suehiro Rin, Fukuju Black Junmai Daiginjo, and Kikusui Kiramitsu?


Do you recall how much that wagyu rib cap skewer was?


Thanks @beefnoguy. :slight_smile:

Kuramitsu Junmai Daiginjo: $340
Fukuju: $232
Suehiro Rin: (Glass) $19 / (Bottle) $51

One of these days I hope to be baller enough to try Beyond and Dreams Come True. :slight_smile:


Hi @tailbacku,

I didn’t keep my receipt, but I think it might’ve been in the $15 - $20 range IIRC?


Okay, I give up. Will try again tomorrow. Just know @Chowseeker1999, we’ve been to Raku twice already! :kissing_closed_eyes: