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




Nice work, @TheCookie! From my recent Vegas trip, we actually ordered the entire specials menu in addition to items on the first page of the menu. Our server’s eyes went wide when we asked if we needed to order anything else from the backside of the menu. She was right…we never made it to the grilled meats, but we did get the Iberico skewer on the specials board…we all thought it was one of the best preparations of pork we had ever had. The kanpachi and the hamachi were also fantastic…so much so that my husband is now more willing to search out and eat sashimi-style fish. Raku is amazing!


Nice report. have you tried the ken2 salad and pork cheeks? i like the cheeks as much as the iberico pork and it’s a third of the price. And definitely try the agedashi tofu


Great Feedback @BradFord, @Sgee, @beefnoguy, @attran99, @PorkyBelly and All!

I’ve been googling and am ready to go right back to do the whole board like attran99 in Vegas (nice post btw). :sweat_smile:

That is just what Kerry Tamura said at the tasting. I didn’t mind the room temp. part, it was the initial “very chilled” part we missed out on. In all fairness, it wasn’t all on the server - in anticipation of the tasting, K&L had probably just put the bottles in the fridge and it wasn’t super cold when we bought it.

I’m glad you brought this up. What are your thoughts on the Sake cups at Raku? I’ve seen the glasses you prefer and know you also like drinking Sake from wine glasses. I love this ritual and usually pick my Raku cup based on cuteness - but are these good vessels for chilled Sake?


I have had the Ken2 Salad a couple times - it’s time to order it again.

We will start ordering the delicious looking Pork Cheeks. But I was reading up on the Iberico Pork and it seems wonderful, especially the way the pigs are raised. I must try it at least once.

Speaking of “have you tried” and photo theft-ing…

Was this Hamachi a special? If not, what is it called on the menu. It looks so good!


Could you please start posting on the Home Cooking threads? :grin: Wow!


it’s on the regular menu called “Yellowtail with Glazed Soy-based Sauce”. I’ve had it several times and most of the time it’s fantastic–moist, fatty and delicious–but other times it can be dry. I always get either the salmon belly or hamachi belly now and have never been disappointed.


You didn’t miss a whole lot when it is super chilled. You can always pick up another bottle, but bring freezer packs and a cooler carrier to keep it chilled for transport and try it again somewhere.

The allure of choosing sake vessels is fun even with the assortment and is a bit empowering. Some people like the ceramics, some people prefer the super elegant kiriko glasses for look and feel, and some enjoy wine glasses for a fuller experience but get mocked by the hardcore traditionalists for being pretentious (they mock people who drink red wine like Bordeaux with sushi, tempura, and kaiseki) and wanting to equate wine with sake. There is really no right or wrong answer here for sake to be honest (in some cases rules are meant to be broken), and it’s up to you to experiment to see what works best for you. To be fair, Riedel makes specific wine glasses for sake, there’s one for Daiginjo and they recently released one for Junmai grade sake. I have not tried it this way, but have tasted quite a few from Burgundy glasses from high end to low end. For cold sake, glass seems to be better than ceramics which I would use for warm to hot sake. The advantage of the smaller cups would be initial conscious portion (and pacing) control, and the rest is up to willpower haha.


Yeah, you’re right, and we did get to try it perfectly chilled at the tasting. We were kinda’ winging it that night at Raku. But when we took a bottle of Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo to Shiki we kept it perfectly cool and their bottle chiller was very good.

Good point. My cute, red, lacquered cup at Raku was not much bigger than a thimble.

Good post. Thanks!


Hi @TheCookie,

Yay, you finally got around to your next Raku visit’s report. Great thoughts. :slight_smile:

Wasn’t the deep fried Asajime chicken tasty? :wink:

From that specials board, I’d recommend Kanpachi, Shima Aji, Amaebi, King Crab Grill, Hamo Karaage, Ushio Jiru to start.

Definitely get the Yellowtail Belly next time. :slight_smile:


Thanks @Chowseeker1999. We’re already planning our next visit.


Hi @TheCookie,

Forgot to comment on a few other questions of yours, sorry. :wink:

Re: Sake - I like Dewazakura as well, nice choice! :blush: Have you gotten a chance to try Tedorigawa Kinka Daiginjo Sake yet? It’s one of the best values on Raku’s normal Sake menu with an interesting, fruity but delicate taste and clean finish. :slight_smile:

For “order of the meal”: One mark that makes Raku stand out is that you generally don’t have to worry about this at Raku: They always serve the Rice / Noodles dishes last (unlike some haphazard Izakayas we’ve been to recently). And unless there’s some weird backup in the kitchen (certain stations), we generally get our Appetizer cold veggies / Salads served first or early on, with Sashimi next and then Grilled Yakitori / Kushiyaki, etc. They are pro like that. :wink:

But if you want, you can just add them slowly as well in your preferred order.


Hi @Chowseeker1999!

Yes, we’ve had it there twice. I think you or @beefnoguy or both recommended it. You’re right, it’s a great value and very delicious.

Good to know we’ve been doing it right :blush: and that Raku does it right too.



Anyone know who’s at the helm right now and why the chef left? I know Raku is planning on opening another restaurant in Vegas, could that be why?


Hi @ilykejordans,

Who left? How’d you hear about it?


Chef Matt has been doing stints in Vegas to help out, but haven’t heard that he left.


I Saw it on his Instagram.


chef matt’s? i’m not seeing it, do you have a link?


Any news? We saw him there about 3 weeks ago.


Chef Matt is gone according to the manager at Raku West Hollywood.


Thanks for the update, that’s sad to hear and a loss for Raku, considering his killer knife skills with sashimi.

Wondering is their replacement and how is that person with sashimi?


I got a bento box yesterday with a new sashimi chef, he was excellent.