When we went to Urasawa for a special dinner I asked the chef there if he knew a good izakaya nearby. He recommended this new place, on Westwood Blvd just south of Santa Monica. I've driven past it many times, assuming it was just another westside sushi joint.
Inside, the atmosphere definitely feels laid-back, less like a formal restaurant and more like a casual pub, albeit with a touch nicer decor. I think we were the only non-Japanese in the place.
Wakasan only has a beverage menu, listing about a dozen sake and a handful of shochu varieties. The food is strictly prix-fixe omakase, running at $25. You eat whatever the chef brings out.
We each got a course of about 9 or 10 small dishes... by small I mean tiny, not much more than a few mouthfuls each, somewhat like a tasting session. I started to wonder if I'd still be hungry at the end.
Some seasoned/marinated vegetables came first, a couple of variations of bean sprouts with seaweed, for example. Next we got a dish of salmon sashimi with salmon roe, which was pretty good, followed by some braised lotus root and mountain potatoes. Some chawan mushi steamed custard arrived next, with some mackerel sashimi seasoned with ponzu. Stewed kabocha, and breaded, fried salmon rounded out the evening.
The waitress then asked us if we were ready for the rice and soup. Surprisingly, I was almost full. But we asked her to bring it on anyway. We got a medium bowl of miso soup, as well as a bowl of oyako donburi. In case you weren't full already, these last two is almost a guarantee that you won't leave hungry. As for me, I couldn't finish mine.
All in all a nice leisurely way to spend the evening. Prix-fixe for two, with a couple of small sake and soft drink, came out to be around $75.
1929 Westwood Blvd,