IDG has decided with another quick switch with its prime located Rivabella. After flipping Chi Lin to h.wood (where it subsequently became Blind Dragon), IDG is turning their expansive Italian project Rivabella into a larger format Japanese restaurant called ROKU. Rivabella's last day will be March 14, with ROKU slated for a mid-summer debut along Sunset Strip.
Fusing a bit of their expertise with Boa, ROKU combines steakhouse elements to prepare meat and other dishes right at the table a la teppanyaki. It's a decades old format that Benihana's has already mastered, so why not go with a tried-and-true format rather than another spaghetti joint? (Pistola, Madeo, Dominick's, Dan Tana's, et al). Also, it's along the lines of what IDG's already done successfully with Katana just down the road.
In addition to the teppanyaki setup, IDG is hoping to use ROKU as a sort of "innovation hub" or test kitchen for the rest of its empire. So despite initial efforts to expand the Rivabella, IDG seems to be putting its chips into a more tested concept of communal teppanyaki, which is already dinner and a show at its best.
Rivabella opened to much fanfare with chef Gino Angelini as the head toque back in January 2013, so it's been a short two year run.