After a surprisingly good dinner at Zuma in Miami last March, I was pleased to hear the same team was opening a robatayaki style restaurant in Arts District. Info and interior pictures here, in person the space as just as beautiful:
Went as a party of four last night and was able to order a good chunk of the menu. The food isn’t necessarily traditional or even trying to cater to food geeks. But the food is mostly delicious, in a crowd pleasing sort of way. Bold flavors, lots of sauces, etc. If Shibumi or Sushi Q leans towards the austere for sushi, this is the opposite. This is the fancy sushi roll / spicy mayo version of a robatayaki and different from say Aburiya Raku. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. This is the kind of place to go for a fun night out and just pig out. Oddly, the food reminded me of Stocking Frame in DTLA a bit, in that they pack a ton of flavor into everything. Once or twice I though the dish would be better with less sauce or “stuff” on it as the underlying protein was so good. Unfortunately, eating quickly in a group of four meant little chance to take pictures.
Recommend drinks (all $10, most have some Japanese twist to them, most on the lighter side of the boozey spectrum)
- Palomita (their version of a paloma with Japanese tequila): very tart and just the right amount of sweetness
- Nori old fashioned
Must order dishes:
- tiger prawns (better than what I had at Rossoblu)
- hamachi collar
- brussel sprouts
- pork ribs
- Shishito peppers
- shrimp tempura: still crispy, yet bathed in a spicy sauce
Recommended but less memorable:
- panko fried chicken
- beef cheek
- chicken tsukune (doesn’t reach the heights of the top 2-3 versions of this dish in LA, but still enjoyable for fans of these meatballs)
- romaine lettuce
- Scallops (protein itself really delicious, but these didn’t really need so much topping on them and would have been better without)
- lamb leg
- There is only one dessert. A soft serve with a sweet soy based sauce and fortune cookie / pocky sticks on top. Good way to end the meal but nothing ground breaking. Go ahead and order it.
- beef short rib (meat too tough, meat itself had little flavor, all I tasted was the spicy red chili flake sauce)
Overall: Recommended, especially the dishes that highlighted the protein like the collar and tiger prawns. Good place to launch a night out downtown, but maybe less successful for food nerds.