I haven’t been to Marino in so long. When I was young I thought it was so swanky and felt so grownup when we dined there. I always feel bad when passing by, and think “we should go soon” then I forget and make another reservation at the Mozzas.
I’d love to eat with Sal at Marino soon too. He’s a terrific chef.
Sal’s guest-cheffing with Matt Weaver from Aburiya Raku at Kali tonight! One night only.
Normally I’d wait a few more visits to post something, but there’s a menu change about to happen, so I wanted to let all the FTC’ers who love this dish know:
- Raku’s Grilled Intestine Skewers are going to be leaving the menu in the next 2 weeks or so!
According to our waitress, it’s due to the fact that these Cho Kushiyaki (Grilled Intestine Skewers) take the most amount of prep work and effort out of any of the standard dishes on the menu, and only some of the Japanese customers order it (and some of us FTC’ers) , and no one else.
Since I’ve written about most of the dishes below a few times, I’ll keep it mainly with pics: They were all consistently fantastic or better.
Urakasumi - Junmai Sake (Miyagi, Japan):
We haven’t ordered that many Junmai Only (Non-Ginjo or Daiginjo) Sake in a while. The Urakasumi was pleasantly dry, finishing very clean. It may not be as bone dry as Izumi Judan Sake (that @beefnoguy recommended us (Thank you again!)), but it was an easy drinking Sake worth trying and at a great value price.
Amuse Bouche - Crispy Asparagus & Ika no Shiokara (Squid with Fermented Squid Guts):
Shiokara is one of those dishes that might take some getting used to, but once you do, it’s a delicious dish that hits your palate in a unique way from many of the usual Izakaya fare you might be used to. Funky, salty, with a strong mineral component, the Raw Squid itself was excellent and bright, with a light chew. And it paired really well with the Urakasumi Junmai Sake.
Excellent, lightly crispy, perfectly cooked through Asparagus.
(NEW) Matsutake Yaki - Grilled Matsutake Mushrooms from Japan:
One of the surprises of our visit was the appearance of Matsutake Mushrooms, which makes sense as they’re getting into season now. But unlike most of the Matsutake Mushroom dishes found locally (sourced from Oregon), Raku managed to get in a batch of Matsutake Mushrooms from Japan (which are much more expensive, but we find them much more fragrant).
The Matsutake were lightly grilled over Binchotan Charcoal and served with a little slice of Sudachi Citrus. It is tender, fragrant and delicious.
(NEW) Dobin Mushi:
Also marking the Matsutake season, Raku had their version of Dobin Mushi appear! While not purely a “Matsutake Dobin Mushi” it featured a delicate Seafood Broth with Ebi (Shrimp), Hamo (Pike-Conger Eel), Tori (Chicken) and Matsutake Mushrooms (from Japan).
They served it with adorable tiny earthenware cups rimmed with Sudachi Citrus to give it that balanced flavor.
Taking a sip: So light, pure and clean! It was one of the best versions of Dobin Mushi we’ve had in years!
Kanpachi (Amber Jack) Sashimi:
The Kanpachi Sashimi (in the post-Chef Matt Weaver era) arrived nicely cut and the presentation was still very good. The Kanpachi wasn’t as firm as what we had in the past, but only by barely a touch. In other words, it was still top quality Sashimi, still bright and fresh and delicious.
Grilled Okra Skewers:
Grilled Eryngii Mushroom:
(NEW) Truffle Scallop:
Just cooked through Scallop, topped with fresh shaved Summer Truffles. The Truffles were magnificent and really fragrant. The Scallop itself was fresh and tender.
Grilled Pig Ears:
Just one of those underrated dishes: Beautifully smoky, delicate, so soft (cooked down to a gorgeous consistency).
Grilled Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewers:
Grilled Beef Tendon Skewers:
(NEW) Gyu Miso Nikomi (Beef Shank, Tendon, Tripe Miso Stew):
This was incredible! A new Specials board item, like Gjusta in many ways, they add a new dish to the menu and it’s not surprising at this point that it turns out excellent (even in an area where they didn’t have a lot of presence before).
The Beef Stew tasted like it was cooked for hours, achieving a flavor that can only be attained that way, with sumptuous morsels of Beef Shank, Tendon and Tripe, along with soft chunks of Daikon Radish. And it paired beautifully with the Sake.
Kokuryu (Black Dragon) - Tokusen Ginjo Sake (Fukui, Japan):
We really like Kokuryu’s Junmai Daiginjo and Ginjo Sake offerings, but hadn’t tried their Tokusen Ginjo before. This was an interesting balance between fruity and aromatic, but also exhibiting dry characteristics. I didn’t like this by itself, but it paired well with many of the dishes on this visit.
Oh yes! Finally. Another worthy Potato Salad for @bulavinaka! I’ve been on the lookout for a great new Potato Salad since @bulavinaka likes it, and leave it up to Raku to deliver one. It is creamy, lightly egg-y, tender chunks of Potato that aren’t overcooked, so there’s still some body left to each bite, nicely seasoned. Delicious!
It’s normally served for Lunch, but ask them if they have it for Dinner as well.
Grilled Asparagus Skewers:
Uni - Sea Urchin (Santa Barbara, U.S.A.):
They had fresh Uni back on the menu on this evening, and thankfully it was a winner in this year of variable Uni. It was perfect: So bright, vibrant, sweet with zero brininess! Some of the best Uni we’ve had in the past year, easily!
Grilled Enoki Mushrooms with Bacon Skewers:
Shima Aji - Striped Jack Sashimi (Ehime, Japan):
Great knifework, the Shima Aji Sashimi tasted as good as before.
Grilled Teriyaki Kurobuta Pork Rib:
Grilled Asajime Chicken Thigh Skewers:
Agedashi Tofu (Half):
Lightly crispy Housemade Tofu, nicely seasoned Tentsuyu dipping sauce. Delicious.
Grilled Pork Intestine Skewers:
And our main reason for stopping by this time: To bid farewell to the best Intestine dish that we’ve had in L.A. (and I don’t like offal normally). As before, it is perfectly grilled, creating a crisped exterior, yielding to a creamy interior and with no hint of any funkiness, all seasoned with their fantastic Tare Sauce, giving it a bit of sweetness and savory.
(Again, there’s about 2 weeks left before it leaves the menu.)
Grilled Portobello Mushroom (Stuffed with Ground Asajime Chicken) Skewer:
Grilled Beef Tendon Skewers:
(OFF-MENU) Sake + Ikura Kamameshi - Iron Pot Rice with Salmon + Salmon Roe:
As amazing as before, their off-menu (secret menu) item of Kamameshi (Iron Pot Rice) is cooked to order, and is as perfectly cooked as usual. Plump Rice Grains, the Salmon, Salmon Roe, Herbs are all in harmony. The perfect way to end the meal.
Aburiya Raku continues to deliver outstanding Izakaya, Yakitori and Kushiyaki dishes, along with a great Sake Menu. Their Seasonal offerings (on the chalk board) are worth considering as well, as you’ll find items that might only appear for that week before they’re gone.
521 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Tel: (213) 308-9393
The intestines were one for my favorites…
Yah for us, too! Hope you get to try them one last time before they’re off the menu.
All looks delicious!
Thank you so much for the heads up! Will try to go before they remove from menu. I’m going to call and make a reservation. We usually just walk in, but want to make sure I get one more change to enjoy their intestine! It’s a little absurd how squeamish people can be about eating offal, like it’s much different from eating the flesh of the animal.
It will be a teeny, tiny bit easier to take now that I can get my intestine fix from Guyi.
Guess I gotta make a visit in the next two weeks…
I called yesterday to see if they had intestine this week and they seemed to waiver on getting rid of the intestine from the menu, but then told me the chef couldn’t get any this week and that it is difficult to source, at least right now. So no intestine this week, it seems, but maybe next.
Thanks for this update, was planning to go tomorrow but will hold off. Hope I can try them before they’re gone forever.
Went today can confirm they have no intestine.
But the tendon is always delicious.
Just called in to ask, and they told me the pig intestines are now permanently off the menu…
They said it might pop up as a special, but no plans on it returning.
It was certainly on the menu last night - though I did not ask if they actually had it.
Aw darn. It couldn’t survive until the real end of the month (tomorrow). It will be missed greatly. Thanks for the confirmation.
Another excellent dinner at Raku, some unfortunate news as well.
The waitress told me they no longer offer the pork intestine nor the foie gras on a stick. She told me to go to Las Vegas for the foie gras. She also told me they will taking the beef tendon off the menu as well.
On a more positive note, the food that they did offer is still excellent.
Grilled salmon belly with salt…the oroshi I was excellent!
Omega 3 supplement…liquid format.
Enoki mushroom with bacon
Chicken lollipops ~ smokey and delicious
“Kobe” beef outside skirt with garlic
Amber jack sashimi ~ further enhanced by their awesome shoyu
Striped jack sashimi
Hi @A5KOBE ,
Thanks for the report.
Yeah we found out about the intestines awhile back ( mentioned above), really sad. They basically said it was the most labor-intensive dish and no one ordered it outside of Japanese customers and a few of us FTC’ers.
Sad to hear they’re taking Tendon off the menu as well now.
WHAT! That’s the best thing ever.
So who else makes that?
Looks amazing. What is the cross street? Do they have a full bar?
I’ve had beef tendon at lots of Chinese places in various regional styles, but none were similar to Aburia Raku’s.