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A muted Japanese inspired cafe with stone details.
Kensho, Hollywood
Wonho Frank Lee

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Hollywood’s New Hilltop Cafe Is a Glorious Exercise in Japanese Minimalism

Kensho does refined food in a wonderfully understated space on the Yamashiro grounds

Take a look inside Hollywood’s newest restaurant Kensho, tucked away on a hillside overlooking the busy tourist district below. The elegant spot actually shares land with the historic Yamashiro restaurant above, but feels like its in a world of its own thanks to some sleek design features and exceptionally modern food.

Kensho comes to Hollywood by way of Joseph Geiskopf and David Wynn, the duo behind hit Echo Park restaurant and coffee shop Triniti. Geiskopf, the chef, has a particular background through finer dining places on the West Coast, in Hawaii, and in Japan. Now he is turning out some seriously photogenic plates through breakfast, lunch, and dinner (with lots of natural wine) at Kensho.

Don’t take the fine dining technique too seriously inside, though. Kensho is a postage stamp of a minimalist space, meant almost as a momentary mellow retreat from the city below instead of a more complete sit-down restaurant with table service. As the photos below show, the pared-down Kellie Patry-designed restaurant is mostly an interaction between form and space, with light blonde wood bench and stool seating both inside and out. Nearly all of the cooking is done on a single induction burner from the extremely open kitchen, adding a degree of difficulty for Wynn and Geiskopf given the level of food they’re aiming for.

Kensho will host a grand opening party this coming Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will be open on Thursday for Yamashiro’s returning Night Market as well. From there, expect hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the weekend, and Wednesday to Sunday moving forward.

Kensho. 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles, CA.

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Oat milk cappuccino with matcha canele
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Rice porridge with aged soy
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Black cod
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Hokkaido scallop aguachile
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New signage
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Mural work by Thomas Williams
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The open room
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Sunlight and greenery
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The long look
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Delicate touches
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Lighting details
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