This week, Garrett Snyder writes up the LA Weekly review on Aburiya Raku, the West Hollywood outpost of the Vegas restaurant that G. Sny describes as a "popular late-night haunt for Vegas chefs and other food-world insiders, a Japanese-style Cheers where grilled skewers and bottles of sake are consumed with abandon until the wee hours of the morning."
The "rather serious" restaurant on La Cienega is a lovely place for grilled meat skewers, particularly those with high price tags:
One tipoff that Raku hails from Sin City is its proclivity for using luxury ingredients. Wagyu beef appears on buttery skewers, charred and topped with a thin strip of pale green wasabi paste, as well as in thick steaks seared tableside on a super-hot stone, showered with flaming Hennessy. This might be the only place I've tried grilled Iberico pork cheeks — cut from the same prized, fat-marbled breed of pig used to make Spain's famed ham.
And if you're into foie gras, there's much to choose from: The fatty livers are blended into an extra-rich chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), and cut into slices, grilled over the coals and topped with a single dollop of black garlic. Perhaps the best way to enjoy duck liver here without overdoing it is to try the sticky-sweet foie gras bowl; its layers of julienned romaine lettuce and steamed rice cushion the fattiness of the liver without masking its opulence. [LAW]
But with an overwhelming number of dishes on offer, there's a little something for everyone, from "juicy niblets of grilled [chicken] thigh speckled with salt" to "an innocuous-sounding corn and potato yakitori special turned out to be a ring of grilled corn, the cob replaced with mashed potatoes — like a Wylie Dufresne riff on KFC."
Ultimately, it sounds like a wonderful place to drink copious amounts of sake and soak it up with the city's best yakitori. The critic concludes, "in a city filled with stellar izakayas, few can do so many different things so well."
Snyder awards Aburiya Raku three stars out of five.