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LA Weekly Gives Aburiya Raku the Rave Review It Deserves

The city's best izakaya sits right on La Cienaga

Aburiya Raku
Aburiya Raku
Wonho Frank Lee

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.


521 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048 (213) 308-9393 Visit Website