Aburiya Raku - Las Vegas

Apparently there’s no dedicated Raku thread. How is that even possible given the love on FTC?!

Anyway, the anomaly ends now.

My dinner here last Monday was solid as usual but I wouldn’t mind doing away with most of the chicken yakitori.


Raku’s Tofu
Fresh tasting and smooth but not quite at the level of Mori’s in LA in terms of creaminess and pure soybean flavor. But it’s still very enjoyable with the various combinations of condiments


Shima Aji and Bluefin Tuna Sashimi
Shima aji is superb tonight. Firm and buttery with a touch of sweetness.


Butter Sauteed Scallop with Soy Sauce
I prefer my scallop cooked a bit less but the medium well scallop here is simply delicious when paired with the accompanying garlic-soy-butter sauce.

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Chicken Thigh
A bit overcooked for a thigh but flavorful.

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Chicken Teba Wing
Wing is a bit bland and it’s slightly overcooked resulting in a rough texture. @JLee I liked your grilled wings much better.


Grilled Isaki
Its firm white flesh and delicate flavor reminds me John Dory.


Yellowtail with Glazed Soy-based Sauce
Fatty and buttery flesh goes very well with the sweet and salty soy glaze.


Kurobuta Pork Cheek - Highlight
Intensely porky with a very satisfying chew.


Kobe Beef Fillet with Wasabi
Tender with mild beef flavor as can be expected of a fillet. But this “Kobe” beef isn’t the real stuff for sure. It’s probably “Kobe” style American beef.


Kobe Beef Outside Skirt with Garlic
This cut is much more flavorful especially with the punch from the garlic chips.


Kobe Beef Tendon
It’s only grilled on one side which creates a crispy texture to contrast with the gelatinous nature of the rest of tendon.

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Agedashi Tofu
The dashi based broth has an incredible depth but the agedashi tofu has lost all crispiness by the time it reached us which defeats its purpose of having a crispy crust and a silky interior as contrast.

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Tsukune-Grilled Ground Chicken
Fan of chicken meatballs will crave this.

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Steamed Foie Gras Egg Custard
I miss my foie and this silky egg custard infused with foie is oh-so-satisfying! What’s that slightly chewy slice of duck doing on top?


Duck with Balsamic Soy Sauce
Sweet and sour duck with depth from MSG ladened soy sauce? Sold!


Apple Marinated Lamb Chop


I prefer my lamb chop having a bit less gray band but that’s nitpicking! The center of the chop is cooked to a perfect medium rare. Look at that juicy beauty!

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Unfortunately I found out chef Matt Weaver left sometime ago. Honestly when it was announced Raku was coming to LA I was so excited. Then when they announced it was going to be in WeHo I lost interest.

As an eastsider I make an effort not to go to that area of town because driving there is such a pain in the ass, it has to be special like Somni for me to get out there. I really would have loved to visit Raku many times but the logistics were never there for me and I feel it may be that way for alot of people here who don’t live close to WeHo.

This.

How do you feel about the Vegas flagship?

Can’t say I’ve had a recent visit that would be relevant today, I havent been to Vegas as much as I use to.

Gotta love Raku Las Vegas. Though we had a couple of mishaps at this dinner, it’s still one of the best meals in town.
Foie gras chawanmushi - perfect as always, but the duck was rather overcooked and chewy.


Uni (Hokkaido), poached egg, ikura - mixed all together it was like a delightful sea-forward vichyssoise

Grilled yellowtail - one of the major clunkers of the night. We had ordered the shiokko grilled and fried, but our grilled order ended up with some other table by accident. So chef sent us a grilled yellowtail instead…it was horribly overcooked…super dry and stringy. Super unusual.

Fried shiokko with king oyster mushroom and mochi - this was perfect. Loved the broth the pan fried fish was in. Side note, after we had mentioned to our server that the yellowtail has been overcooked, chef sent us the shiokko grilled and it was perfect.

Not pictured because we were too excited about our meal: Raku tofu, bluefin tuna, aji (it was oddly sliced this trip…it was strange, but it tasted good), yellowtail carpaccio, juicy crispy fried chicken (it was delightful!), Ken2 salad, and a bunch of other items I’ve forgotten.
Special thanks to @beefnoguy and @Chowseeker1999 for their sake notes. The Matsu No Kotobuki was indeed perfect with our opening cold dishes and salad. Though, when it comes to sake, I still feel untrained…it reminds me too much of a Vietnamese dessert called che com ruou.
Specials board for folks interested

We banged at Sparrow + Wolf prior to for cocktails and some light snacks for fun. It was nice to mix up the evening.

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Hit up Raku the other night, it was damn near flawless.

Here is the sake menu for @beefnoguy and @chowseeker just in case you were interested. I had some biru on this night.

Biru

Shima Aji sashimi

Although the sashimi offerings were minimal, this was still Raku quality.

Oyaji Tofu - yum :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Okaki asparagus - yum :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Ken 2 Salad - so damn good, interesting, complex and love the textures

Chicken breast with chicken skin :heart_eyes: - nicely smokey aroma and flavor and cooked to perfection

Pork intestine - yum​:heart_eyes::heart_eyes:another Vegas exclusive, such great porky goodness and so soft you don’t need teeth to chew it

Wagyu Beef Tendon - yum :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes: Had to get my tendon fix, love the texture, almost as soft as bone marrow and the glaze really set it off.

Foie gras on a stick :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes: so amazing, my favorite still

Scallop with miso - nice flavor and perfectly cooked, it also had a great smokey flavor from the binchotan

Pork cheek - nice texture, great pork flavor and the smoke flavor only made it more amazing.

Wagyu skirt steak with garlic - so much smokey flavor, soft and fatty

Ended the meal with some hoji cha, excellent.

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Thanks for the report! Looks great! Too bad the lighting is so dark in there from what it appears. I thought it was LA at first until I saw the heading/category.

Glad you had a great time there. Thought about dropping by the West Hollywood branch for lunch last week but passed on it to try other places I’ve never had (but should).

The lighting was not ideal and my equilibrium at that point of the night definitely affected my photo taking skills. Next time I will be going in sober so I can take advantage of their extensive sake menu.

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These are just my preferences and picks from the sake menu (because they are geek and interesting in their own ways)

Shime Haritsuru Jun - Junmai Ginjo - mostly for the grilled items

Kokuryu Tokusen Ginjo - with sashimi only

Kamoizumi Shusen - 800 mL for best value but the sweet spot for this sake is 45 degrees C warmed up, explosively better but feel free to try a range of temperatures

Tamagawa Heart of Oak - not for beginners, aged 2 to 3 years but nice and masculine. Solid food sake

Masumi Okuden - good acidity and astringency, but medium bodied and easier for beginner/intermediate

Taka Tokubetsu Junmai - drink it like a white burgundy, but also good with grill food. Focus on shellfish/seafood dishes.

Tedorigawa Kinka - higher percentage alcohol and very easy to get into

For me I’d probably do corkage and bring my own. Might have a chance to go next year with friends and I will bring the supreme geek stuff over to see how they fare.

So between Las Vegas and West Hollywood, which is better for the same type of dishes?

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Thanks for the report! I always feel like I end up ordering the same thing at Raku though.

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Thanks for the recs! I think there was another page of sake, I must have had a moment and snapped the same page twice??

I would say both locations are at the same level of execution, although I prefer the LV location slightly more because they offer the wagyu tendon, pork intestine and the foie gras on a stick whereas the WeHo location does not. WeHo seems to tends to have more sashimi offerings. Last time I was at WeHo, they didn’t have the chicken breast with chicken skin either, but I believe it was still on the menu but I could be wrong. LV stays open late so you can get in a late night skewer/sake/sashimi session. Raku WeHo also offered amadai prepared wakasa yaki.

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Thanks again, I look forward to trying the Vegas branch…maybe within the next year if all goes well. Good to know right now what they have.

More variety and cheaper too.

WeHo is dead to me.