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Restaurants & Bars 2

Wa sushi bistro on la cienega, the iron chefs

kevin | Jun 10, 200312:15 AM

finally tried Wa sushi and bistro. the fellow hounds already described the location and atmosphere so i won't go too much into it. except to say that the minimall it's in is kind of dingy and downtrodden and it feels sort of like it's in nowheres's ville even though it is on la cienega. so entered the spot and it was completely empty. but not to worry the other hounds vouched for it so i'd still give it a shot. i believe it'll probably take a while for it to build a clientile. the used to even be open for lunch but not anymore since the business was way too slow and there just getting started. the inside is nice and not dingy at all, an almost fancy sushi bar with black cloth napkins and a neat soy sauce dispenser. received the menu, which lists a lot of extravagant appetizers and sushi by the piece (not in a pair). took a moment to peruse the menu, but finally decided that the omakase (chef's course menu) was the only proper way to go. so went ahead with the omakase.

i started with the ankimo (monkfish liver pate), which was almost like a terrine surrounded by a jellied food and hence also surrounded by sliced up small cucumber, and the ankimo was also topped w/ i think osetra or possibly beluga caviar, and a sauce of soybean base. the large plate w/ the petite liver was encircled by dots of mango puree and peppercorn mustard to dip the ankimo in. this was a very interesting and enjoyable dish. very, very haute cuisine in presentation like something you'd get in a fancy, one-to-two starred Michelin restaurant.

next, was a sashimi salad, that was good but not as interesting as that first course. the salad was composed of some asaparagus, bits of crab meat, a slice of albacore sashimi, and tuna wrapped in an egg paper-kind of like a maki roll except substitute the egg-like very thin tamago instead of the nori/seaweed. the whole thing was topped w/ a nice ginger sauce. sopped all of it in a few seconds flat, but it just was not that earth shattering.

after that came a weird soup of buckwheat bits (?) and/or noodles w/ chunks of vegetables and some mushrooms and maybe some dried bonito all in a kind of soup like broth w/ red peppercorns in it. i never tried something like this before, but it was defintiely tasty, but i'm not quite sure i'd enjoy having it again. so far the ankimo was the killer dish.

then onto the sushi course. composed of a medium toro piece, halibut, and salmon all were all right, nothing fancy, but also not extremely extremely fresh either. maybe it was an off day for raw fish.

and then came a piece of eel, which was good, though not much different from your average garden variety cutty-corner sushi bar.

then the last course of the omakase was the Santa Barbara shrimp that are charbroiled whole and then butterflied open and topped with uni (sea urchin) almost as if the uni were a rich sauce, which it turned out to be, plus it came in a bru blanc sauce composed of lots of melted butter and white wine. the dish was good though there was not much shrimp meat. after the ankimo this was definitley the best course.

and that was it for the omakase except for dessert. and dessert was a choice of creme brulee or pear compote or hot chocolate souffle or green tea pudding. i got the hot chocolate souffle which was absolutely very very delicious, it was more of a molten chocolate cake though, but whatever it was still quite excellent. once again great dessert in a japanese restaurant of all places. very exciting. the only other places that serve desserts like these are the beverly blvd. shibucho or kakemoto. or maybe abe. oh, and lastly some hot green tea to finish.

overall, the meal was good, but still too pricey for an omakase, only about five small dishes including the dessert. if one of the dishes counts as the four single pieces of sushi. but still it was good and i look forward to ordering non-omakase from the menu next time or the chalkboard menu which also listed the santa barbara shrimp dish and the dish of chilean sea bass w/ foie gras that a fellow hound praised so highly before.

anyways, definitely give this place a shot and maybe the key i would recommend is to order off the actual menu and work your way from that, in essence making your own omakase or tasting menu from the list of appetizers and also add some sushi in there for kicks too.

also, it was interesting that one chef prepares the cooked dishes and the other prepares the sushi/sashimi/ and cold appetizers. an exciting double team as if the iron chefs were doubling up to order up and half the fun is the action in the open kitchen from the standpoint of your prime counter seating.

thanks for reading.

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