S. Irene Virbila is pleasantly surprised by what she finds at Hokusai, the Japanese restaurant that quietly took over the Continental spot in Beverly Hills five months ago (five months!). To exemplify just how good Hokusai is, she compares the newcomer to some uneven restaurants, but those shall remain nameless:
The design is smart and of the moment, which is to be expected for any sushi restaurant that wants to be noticed. What's unexpected is the quality of the food and the service. Unlike some other places I could name, the kitchen here takes pride in what it's turning out, whether a flashy sushi roll, an order of vegetable tempura or a full-scale omakase (chef's choice) menu, which, incidentally, is something of a bargain compared with places such as Mori Sushi or the Hump.Oh, heck. Let's just name them:
Frankly, I never expected Hokusai to be such a find. The fact that many of those involved come out of the Sushi Roku school of restaurants doesn't seem like such a great recommendation since the quality has slipped over the years from decent to barely adequate.Sushi Roku digs aside, Hokusai gets two-and-a-half stars. Today, the "S." stands for "sizing up."
ELSEWHERE: Also in the Times, we hear about a good restaurant with a bad name, Redballs Rock & Roll Pizza; LA.com shoots over to The Foundry and Romanov; LA&OC Foodie needed food during American Idol and landed at eat. on sunset; Erin of Erin's Kitchen gets to Fraiche before she moves to NYC; and Gridskipper skips to Mao's Hollywood.