One of LA’s most remarkable, and unassuming, sushi restaurants is closing some time later this year to make way for a total redevelopment of the property into a massive Frank Gehry-designed 229 apartment unit multi-use project. Kura Fine Japanese Cuisine, which first opened in 2002 from Sunny Son later took a turn when his son Daniel Son came on board about five years ago.
Under the younger Son’s direction, Kura became one of LA’s best sushi restaurants, especially at the omakase counter, where Son was sourcing seafood from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market. The rest of the menu continued to churn out rolls and sushi plates, but sushi insiders favored sitting in from of Daniel Son to see the young Korean-American chef work pristine fish at the counter.
Just this week, the 180-day hold on demolition of the historic Lytton Savings Bank (now a Chase bank branch) expired, which means property owner Townscape Partners can now move forward with razing the building to make way for the Gehry-designed development. For years, the LA Conservancy fought to save the historic bank building, which sits at the front of the Sunset Boulevard while the rest of the newer strip mall hides behind it, from demolition. In June 2018, the Supreme Court of California denied hearing a petition that argued against the building’s demolition. The LA Conservancy was given that 180-day hold to find a suitable property to relocate the historic building, but was unable to find a location, according to Curbed LA.
As for Kura Fine Japanese Cuisine, Daniel Son hopes to take a break from running an omakase counter and focus on the upcoming November opening of his casual restaurant Katsu Sando in Chinatown, which serves Japanese convenience-store style fried pork and beef sandwiches. After a break, and hopefully a trip to Japan to see his former mentors, Son hopes to reopen a sushi restaurant in the Sunset Strip/Hollywood area some time in late 2020 with a more focused menu and most likely a different name. Diners might have been confused when growing conveyor belt sushi chain Kula changed its name in recent years to Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, which overlapped with the more high end West Hollywood restaurant.
In 2014, Daniel Son was fresh off a stage at Noma in Copenhagen and had also spent year at Tokyo’s three Michelin-star RyuGin. He had also trained in Tokyo under Akira Yoshizumi, who eventually went on to open the Michelin-starred Yoshizumi restaurant in San Mateo, California.
In terms of timing, it’s possible that Kura could close as early as October 2019, though it might extend the least by a few weeks so that regulars will have a few more chances to eat at the restaurant before it closes forever.
Kura Fine Japanese Cuisine. 8162 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA.