The San Fernando Valley’s long, winding Ventura Boulevard is already home to some of the region’s best sushi, but that hasn’t stopped newcomer Leona’s Sushi House from trying its hand. Since early November, Leona’s has been leaning on a former Asanebo chef, a veteran Studio City restaurant owner, and a prominent actor to try to make a dent along LA’s busy sushi strip, and people are beginning to take notice.
Former La Loggia owner Frank Leon has joined with actor and first-time restaurateur Evan Ross (The Hunger Games) as well as longtime sushi chef Shigenori Fujimoto to bring Leona’s to the Valley. Fujimoto’s resume includes stints at Matsuhisa and Asanebo (when it first earned a Michelin star), before opening Shiki Beverly Hills in 2014. At Leona’s, Fujimoto and crew create Japanese-Peruvian fare with ceviches and a tiradito de tai with Japanese sea bream, rocoto chile, yuzu, and sea salt. There’s also the albacore with shishito peppers and Fujimoto’s yuzu sauce, in addition to more traditional nigiri, sashimi, and a variety of cut and hand rolls.
Interestingly enough, Leona’s has also developed a second menu as a nod to the space’s Italian past. That means dishes like a shimeji mushroom risotto, black rice Peruvian chaufa paella, and an udon carbonara. A full lineup of cocktails runs $18 per drink and features vodka, gin, and whiskey from Japanese producers.
Though the entry appears modest from Ventura Boulevard, the Studio City restaurant’s interior is massive, clocking in at 5,000 square feet. For those who remember the Ceremony Bar with the retractable window, that space is now combined with the former La Loggia and adjoined by a covered courtyard with a bar and lounge for sweeping indoor-outdoor seating among samurai statues and greenery. Each menu is available across the entirety of the space’s multiple dining and lounge areas, with dinner service running Tuesday through Sunday beginning at 5 p.m.
Leona’s Sushi House is now open at 11814 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604.