Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San in Encino!

Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, so let’s have some sushi!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Sushi Bar!

On The Menu: Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna) cut roll, tempura vegetables, shrimp doubleshot roll, California roll with real crab, spicy tuna roll, “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and an iced green tea.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Tempura Vegetables

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – California roll w/real crab and spicy tuna cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San- Shrimp doubleshot roll and avocado cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and hand roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna)

We’ve been here before, and it’s always good fresh food. It wasn’t busy when we arrived, but by the time we finished it was. We enjoyed our dinner and I left the restaurant happy.

I’m going to post a complaint about the service tonight: We sat at a table, not at the sushi bar, and halfway through the meal our server told us she was going on break without really having someone pickup our table. We had to flag down other restaurant staff to get drink refills, tempura sauce and the check. And we still left her a nice tip.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – the sign changes colors!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Cho Cho San – Ventura Blvd (at Balboa Blvd) in Encino

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Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

UPDATE! Thursday 10 March 2016:

We had a Wednesday night Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino:

ON THE MENU: Salmon and albacore nigiri sushi, spicy tuna cut roll, spicy yellowtail cut roll, California cut roll, cucumber salad and a large hot sake

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Large Hot Sake at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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Nigiri Sushi and Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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California and Spicy Tuna Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

Everything was pretty good. I was hungry and made quick work of the sushi and cut rolls. The service was much better this time. And the large hot sake really helped a lot today. #winewednesday

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UPDATED Friday, January 15, 2017:
Good Shabbos y’all! So, the puppies had their “lady parts” surgery on Tuesday and we’ve been babysitting them during the recovery. One of the pups had a bad reaction and is kinda freaked out, so we’ve been really stressed trying to keep her calm and not catatonic…

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Puppies Resting Comfortably After “Lady Parts” Surgery

Well, we had luke warm Indian food last night and didn’t really eat anything today, so we went out a little before 11pm to Cho Cho San, the sushi place down the street that’s open until midnight. They told me I had to get my order in by 11:10, so I did and then I ate at the sushi bar, paid and came home. The pups are resting comfortably and I’m full and happy.

On the menu: Shrimp&vegetable tempura, Firefly roll (spicy tuna inside, albacore on top with ancho paper and chili oil), Baked Scallop California roll with eel sauce, a large hot sake and an iced green tea. Happy weekend!

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Sushi Time at Okumura!

Sushi Time at Okumura in Encino!

We’ve been here before and we like this sushi place!

ON THE MENU: Soft shell crab cut roll, Rainbow roll (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, albacore & avocado over California roll), California roll and spicy tuna cut roll with a coke.

Sushi Time!

Sushi Time at Okumura! The Master Sushi Chef at work!

Sushi Time!

Sushi Time! Soft Shell Crab with avocado cut roll

Sushi Time!

Sushi Time! California roll and Spicy Tuna cut roll

Sushi Time!

Sushi Time! Rainbow roll (tuna, albacore, salmon, yellowtail & avocado over crab)

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UPDATE! Monday, August 29, 2016

We like Okumura! Sushi, tempura and sake on Sunday! Tuna poke (not pictured), crispy onion albacore roll, rainbow roll, yellowtail deluxe roll, spicy tuna cut roll, tempura shrimp & vegetables and a small hot sake and water to drink.

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Crispy Onion Albacore Roll, Rainbow Roll and Spicy Tuna Cut Roll

 

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Yellowtail Deluxe Roll at Okumura Japanese Restaurant

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Assorted Tempura at Okumura Japanese Restaurant

All photos copyright 2015-2016 JoshWillTravel

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Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

There’s a new sushi restaurant in town and we decided to try it out. Sushi 2 U has “soft-opened” in the space formerly occupied by Sushi Hirosuke in the Plaza de Oro shopping center on Ventura Blvd in Encino. Welcome to the neighborhood and good luck!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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The DISCLAIMER on the window (enter at your own risk):

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The space has been renovated and remodeled. The sushi bar is smaller and more central, the prep area and kitchen are “hidden”, the booths have been removed and there are many flat-screen televisions in the dining room. They also have the ability to play music (which was kind of a problem at the previous incarnation in this space).

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dining Room – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

New Sushi Bar (and prep area) – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi time! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Old Sushi Hirosuke sushi bar & grill

ON THE MENU: Encino roll (spicy tuna, salmon and crab with avocado), Sushi2u roll (shrimp, soft-shell crab and salmon), California roll, spicy tuna hand roll, edamame, yellowtail/spanish mackerel/albacore sushi and a coke.

NOTE: We wanted to order a small hot sake, but they didn’t have their liquor license yet.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Edamame – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Encino and Sushi2U special cut rolls were both very good!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Encino Roll & sushi – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Sushi 2 U Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The spicy tuna was spice just right with chili oil.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Imitation crab (as noted in the disclaimer) California rolls:

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

California Rolls – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

It was only their fourth day being open for business, so they were still working out the dinner procedures and routines. Also, it seemed the one waiter was still being trained so service was a little staggered. Everything was fine and we got everything we ordered or asked for, but it was because we asked him or the owner/managers for something.

They have a big menu of sushi, rolls, grilled items and drinks. We ate pretty tame stuff. There’s a lot of different things to choose from and the orders are large.

The space is very nice and there was a steady stream of customers while we were there. There are six other sushi restaurants (Okumura, Gyoro Gyoro, Yamato, Midori, Cho Cho San and Sushi Stop within 3 blocks on either side, and many more in the nearby vicinity (4to6, Katsu-ya, Crazy Tokyo, Octopus, and Sushi Iké) so we’ll see if they can compete.

They were very nice, the food was good, the price was very reasonable and I enjoyed my dinner. I might wait until they get the service routine worked out and their liquor license before going back, but I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

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NOTE: The entrance “lobby” and bar upstairs on Ventura isn’t finished yet. It looks like it will be a nice space for waiting/drinking when it’s finished.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The second time we ate there it was not good and we never went back.

Sushi 2 U – CLOSED in early 2016! Sushi Ganzo has opened in the same space.
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FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

One of the most amazing meals I’ve ever eaten. We did the full 13 course dinner with wine and sake pairings. Each dish was a work of art both visually and culinary! BRAVA! BRAVA!

There’s no sign, just the address, on the front of the restaurant. Located on Overland between National and Palms, they have street parking (when available) and valet parking for $7 behind the building.

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N/Naka - 3455 Overland Ave, in Palms (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

n/naka – 3455 Overland Ave, Palms, L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Inside, the space is clean, quiet and intimate. The focus is all about the fine food and drink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The episodic documentary “Chef’s Table” recently released on Netflix features Chef Niki Nakayama “applying the artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.”

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Niki Nakayama began her career at Takao. She previously owned Azami Sushi Cafe and Inaka, before opening n/naka four years ago.

“Through a meaningful balance of both traditional and modern techniques, Chef Niki Nakayama is committed to creating a meal that will engage your attention. It’s about enjoying the moment, the current offerings of the season, and ultimately, the food in front of you.”

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n/naka’s Sous Chef and Chef Niki Nakayama prepare fresh uni.

Modern Kaiseki ($165 thirteen course – $85 optional wine pairing) per person

A deep exploration of traditional Kaiseki service with modern accents in technique and flavor pairings. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal consisting of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged. It’s a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. It also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals.

There is also a vegetarian menu available for $150, but they are not vegan. Ingredients vary based on season and everything is organic and “farm to table” fresh.  Each menu is planned specifically. Guests are consulted on their “Likes & Dislikes” and the menu is confirmed a few days before the reservation.

I’ve been anticipating this dinner since the reservation was confirmed. I watched the “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix and visited the restaurant’s website. I read the numerous rave reviews and recent interviews with Chef Nakayama regarding her philosophy, style, training and success. After all the hype, I was not disappointed in the least, it was a true “foodie experience”!

The reservation was for Saturday night at 5:30pm (the early seating) and I arrived early, found street parking and waited for the rest of the party to arrive and the restaurant door to open. We were the first guests of the evening and were seated immediately and offered the beer, wine, champagne and sake list.

We chose to add the wine and sake pairings with dinner. If you choose this option, do not plan on driving! Have a designated driver or Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Limosine your way home. In addition to the wine and sake pairings, I ordered a Sapporo beer to enjoy with my food.

Sapporo beer, still water and the “Zen” rock garden centerpiece and place settings:

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Philippe champagne to start the evening and toast the special occasion!

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

First appetizer: oyster with roe, uni, orange and foam sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Not everyone likes oysters, so a second appetizer was graciously substituted.

Second appetizer: Snow crab with roe and pea puree.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a 2013 white wine

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Seasonal Appetizer course: lobster tempura with spicy aoli, smoky cod on lemon, Tazmanian sea trout sashimi, stuffed squid with crab, quail egg and squid ink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The lobster in light tempura with the spicy aoli was “melt in your mouth” incredible. And so was the cod, sea trout and stuffed squid.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Seijuro Fujitsu cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: Bonita sashimi with black mustard flower and shiso paste served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Soup course: Clam with radish & seaweed in clear Japanese water broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Alsace Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2012 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: toro belly, kampachi yellowtail with cucumber, red snapper, uni on lemon and octopus in a daikon radish slice

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a really nice tasting sweet cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cooked fish course: Delicious “grilled” Branzino with pickled daikon, ginkgo nut and cooked bamboo. I think it was blowtorched to perfection.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a tasty Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Steamed course: egg, snow crab, shitake mushroom and shiso. Thicker than a soup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Pazo Señorans Albariño 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Special Pasta course: abalone, truffle & spaghetti with garlic butter cream sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a Sancere 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Wagyu beef (to die for) on a hot stone – cook to taste with vegetables brussel sprout, purple carrot, asparagus and a beet chip in daikon horseradish sauce and sea salt.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I wanted a whole steak of this A+ Wagyu beef! It was superb.

Paired with a rich Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 red wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sunomono course: firefly squid with cucumber, tomato and seaweed (sorry, pulled it apart before taking the pic) served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi course (6 pieces and soup): Toro, makata, Japanese mackerel, sweet shrimp, squid, uni and shrimp head in white miso broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Makata and Toro (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Japanese Mackerel and Sweet Shrimp (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka!  Squid and Uni (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Shrimp head in white miso soup (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Born Gold Junmai Daiginjo cold sake. “Gold has an elegant nose comprised of green apple, sweet rice, plum skin, and peach aromas.”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #1: Melon sorbet with icy rose granita. Served with hot green tea in a bowl.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #2: popcorn ice cream with cookies & cream meringue, lemon drop gelee’, chocolate covered raisin, sugared fennel and caramel sauce. Served with a different hot green tea in a cup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Birthday Dessert (not mine): green tea pudding with whipped cream and a strawberry.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert was paired with an unusual sweet/spicy Hannya cold sake (tasted like a liquer).

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sake and Wine! They have many choices both by the glass and by the bottle/carafe and the prices are not inexpensive. You can also bring your own wine. There’s a $35 corkage fee and a “limit” of one bottle per every two people in the party.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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FYI – Front page of the Beer, Wine, Champagne and Sake List:

“Without wine, even beautiful cherry blossoms have small attraction”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

“As to flowers, when half open; as to sake, when a person is half tipsy”

The service was great and the courses were well timed. It’s not a large space and the restaurant is about the food and the dining experience, not the number of people served. Each dish is ART and requires attention to detail in the planning and preparation. Our multi-course dinner from start to finish timed out at about three wonderful hours.

After the meal, Chef Nakayama came to our table and thanked us for coming. She was incredibly sincere and humble when we praised her and the incredible food she created.

BRAVA! BRAVA!

n/naka's Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka’s Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka3455 Overland Ave, Palms (Los Angeles)  www.n-naka.com

Reservations are absolutely required. They are currently booked until July!

 

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Pictures of Sushi.

Su-su-sushi!

Tuna poke' (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Tuna poke’ (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalapeño cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalapeño cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Baked scallops California roll (BSC)

Baked Scallops California roll (BSC)

Spicy tuna cut roll

Spicy tuna cut roll

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Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

We were going for dinner tonight at Sushi Hirosuke and instead found this sad news taped to the door:

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Sad News! Sushi Hirosuke RIP (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

My friend Hiro, the sushi chef, opened this place in the early 90s and we used to have dinner here twice a week. He sold it to a nice couple who ran it for a long time. It was a good place, not great, but it was reasonably priced, local, and always good enough.

My friend Hiro-san now owns the amazingly awesome Sushi Ichiban Kan in Tarzana (you can read about it and see the pictures in my previous blogs).

There’s a lot of sushi competition in the neighborhood! On Ventura Boulevard, between Sepulveda and Reseda, there are more than fourteen sushi restaurants: Katsu-ya, Midori, Yamato, Benihana’s, Okamura, Cho Cho San, Dancing Wasabi, Octopus, Four on Six, Sushi Ajito, Crazy Tokyo, Sushi Tsune, Makoto, and our new destination for dinner Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Upstairs in the mall where they shot “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is a new Japanese restaurant. I had heard nice things about it, but this was my very first time dining there. Ride the escalator or elevator to the third floor, enter the restaurant and enjoy the asian food and drink experience.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar of Tokyo at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise has a great selection of sake and a full bar! They have a Happy Hour menu and specials from 3-6:30pm and after 10:30pm.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Great Selection of Sake!(copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Beers on draft. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Restaurant!

Tuesday at 7pm, the place was empty. When you enter through the restaurant you are greeted at the Host Desk by the Giant Face seen below.  There’s a glass enclosed covered patio with a nice view of Ventura Blvd, the Sushi Bar area and a Dining Room area. We sat inside in a booth, which was too low for the table, wasn’t very comfortable for my back, and felt very cramped and claustrophobic. I did have a view of the glass enclosed kitchen, but could only see the grill from where I was seated. 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Welcome!  (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Patio Dining (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Kitchen & Grill enclosed in glass (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

It’s a very pretty restaurant, done in very modern Japanese design. We were seated, greeted and provided with drinks while we perused the menu and decided on our food choices. They have a massive menu with sushi, salads, rolls, entrees, sides, and desserts….and it’s very confusing. They also have an ala carte sushi and sushi roll menu and a yakitori menu with all kinds of traditional (chicken, beef, vegetables) and weird things (intestines, livers, and other parts) grilled on a skewer. Mark those menus with a pencil.

The prices are VERY REASONABLE!!! You can eat a lot of different things, share them, try stuff you might never try if you feel adventurous, and just have a really big meal Japanese meal for a good price. The drink prices are also GREAT!

ON THE MENU: hot sake, cucumber with sesame sunomono, grilled shishito pepper, avocado & negitoro (spicy tuna), fried calamari, spicy tuna roll, Wisconsin roll (salmon and crab), sushi – salmon, yellowtail and albacore, potstickers, chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers and an iced green tea. We also ordered the live Uni pasta, roasted eggplant side, and a big Spicy Tuna and Rice bowl (we asked for brown rice, but got steamed white rice instead).

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Hot Sake! Large size! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Cucumber with sesame sunomo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – grilled shishito peppers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – avocado and negitoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – fried calamari (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – potstickers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Wisconsin roll: salmon over crab (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – spicy tuna roll (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi! Salmon, yellowtail and albacore. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Everything was good! The fish was good quality, fresh and tasty. The cooked stuff was also done right. The fried calamari was excellent! I also enjoyed the spicy tuna dishes quite a bit. The avocado and negitoro was a good choice. Next time I’ll have the pork kalbi salted instead of sauced and forget about the cucumber and sesame sunomono.

They’re open late weeknights, and really late on Fridays and Saturdays, so I might have to go back soon….

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Enjoying my dinner! Tasty Japanese Goodness! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

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Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Into the Sunset on Ventura Boulevard…Time to Blog This. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise – 17401 Ventura Blvd., B21, Encino, CA 91316 http://www.otootorestaurant.comhttp://www.ramla.net

 

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE Hotel On Sunset

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE Hotel On Sunset – On Sunset Restaurant

Big Thanks to the LUXE Hotel On Sunset, the On Sunset Restaurant and LWH Hotels for the wonderful brunch! I was lucky and won brunch for 2 at the Tokyo Cerulean Hotel Reception at the LUXE On Rodeo (see past blogs, it was a great event!). I had to wait until after football season for a free Sunday, so today we went to collect my win and try their well reviewed Brunch.

I love this hotel. It’s a beautiful property! You can take the full photographic tour in my other blogs, there are a couple of links at the bottom of this page. This blog is just about the brunch and the delicious food and drink that we enjoyed today.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch Ahead at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I made a reservation and we had a lovely table reserved for us on the restaurant patio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold Table: seafood – crab claws, crab legs, shrimp, oysters, bagel, lox and grav lox, cream cheese, sushi, scallop ceviche, fish ceviche, herring, meat plate – salami, turkey, 3 kinds of cheeses, crackers, tomatos and mozzarella, salad, muffins, danish, coffee cake and all kinds of bread.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hot Table: chafing dishes – bacon and sausage, roast potato, mexican rice, mashed potato, roast peppers and vegetables, fish in sauce, pancakes, french toast, waffles, blintzes, eggs benedict, and more.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Omelets, crepes and prime rib. Oh my!

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Prime Rib carving station. With Au Jus and horseradish sauce.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Crab legs, crab claws, shrimp, and oysters.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bloody Mary, fresh squeezed Orange Juice, Iced Tea and Coffee to drink.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold Plate: sushi, crab legs, crab claws, shrimp, scallop ceviche, bagel, lox, grav lox, and cream cheese.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold plate; cornbread muffin, chocolate danish, salami, turkey, pepperjack cheese, bread, and a california roll.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Prime rib au jus with horseradish sauce, eggs benedict, and cheese blintzes with berry sauce.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bacon, sausage, french toast, roast potato, and mashed potato.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Fruit: pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, Dessert: mini fruit tart, flourless brownie, and a chocolate mouse cake roll.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Many tempting desserts and a fruit platter.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can dine indoors in the dining room or bar area or on the restaurant patio or bar patio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Today’s brunch was accompanied by music from a wonderful jazz trio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel On SunsetSunset Blvd (at the 405 freeway), West Los Angeles, CA

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Great Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in the Valley!

Far away from the Westside and Hollywood and Santa Monica and Downtown, in the west end of the San Fernando Valley, is one of my favorite restaurants: Sushi Ichiban Kan.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Sneaking in the back door! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The restaurant is beautiful, from the front to the back, and the parking is FREE!  Or at worst, you’ll have to park at a meter (which now run until 8pm) on Ventura.  We went to dinner early, parked in the rear and entered through the back door.  We were greeted and seated and then the real fun began

Dinner tonight was fantastic!  Everything was fresh.  Everything was prepared beautifully. The service was friendly and efficient.  I’ve known the owner and masterchef Hirosuke and his wife for twenty years and have followed him from Kabuki in Northridge, to Hirosuke in Encino, and now to the new restaurant Ichiban Kan on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana, between Corbin and Winnetka.  Trust me, if you love sushi it is definitely worth the trip from wherever you are.

Sushi Ichiban Kan - Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On the menu tonight: stuffed shitaki mushrooms stuffed with creamy crab starter, miso soup, green salad, spicy tuna and blue crab handrolls (with no rice), an assorted sashimi combination (with tuna, albacore, yellowtail, salmon), assorted tempura and an iced green tea.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Miso Soup and Green Salad (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Spicy Tuna & Blue Crab Handrolls (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Tempura (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

It’s not cheap, but it’s not “over the top” expensive.  You can get a lot worse and pay a lot more at other places.  This is top of the line fish, that rivals Nobu, and it’s a real value for sushi lovers.  Be sure to tell Hiro-san that I sent you!

Sushi Ichiban Kan – 19723 Ventura Blvd in Tarzana http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

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