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Restaurants & Bars 11

Wa Sushi & Bistro - lukewarm review (long)

koi fish | Feb 5, 200505:00 PM

I went to Wa last night, after reading rave reviews on the LA chowhound messageboards for the past year or so. Apparently, the three chefs are all worked under the tutelage of Nobu himself at his flagship restaurant, Matsuhisa. Even though my omakase experience there last year epitomized the idea of a culinary "let down," I really went to Wa with a gleam of hope in my eye (or stomach?). I thought, "Maybe Matsuhisa was so bad because the true talent had already left for Wa."

The sushi was hit and miss -- hamachi was above average, nice big slice of fresh fish over a little ball of rice, just the way I like it. Spanish mackerel started off with a bang, but ended with a feeble wimper. Uni was good, a little skimpy on the good stuff. Salmon was pretty good. Albacore was great.

Then came the cooked dishes.

Blue fin tuna carpaccio was actually very good. It was fun to watch the sushi chef prepare it with such loving care. I couldn't really tell you all the details about what went on it, but suffice it to say that it was very nice. Great tuna, topped with a couple of slivers of some vegetables, some crunchy, sweet little mystery pellets, and finally, a light, steaming (ponzu?) sauce.

I had read that the sea bass foie gras dish was to die for.. How could it go wrong? Such beautiful ingredients, such a wonderful premise. ... But "Yecch!" The same problem I had at Matsuhisa was carried over at Wa -- the overpowering saltiness of the sauce really detracted from the natural flavors of the ingredients. But then again, maybe I'm grateful for that a bit.. I don't know if shitake mushroom, daikon, sea bass and tons of foie gras (rubbery and overcooked! what a travesty) really made for good bedfellows.

Finally came one of their popular specials: bbq eel over applie pie. The bbq eel came in four mini-sandwiches, tucked between puff pastry and warm apple pie slices, topped with crumbled brown sugar. Hm. I'm not opposed to innovative belnds of savory and sweet ingredients, but this wasn't such a good idea. At best, it was novel. At worst, a waste of my eating time and valuable stomach real estate. I didn't bother eating more than one.

I realize this post won't be very popular with the hounds, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Wa Sushi & Bistro
1106 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood CA

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