Excited for my mini-trip to Los Angeles tomorrow, and one on my ToT-Eats list is some very eclectic sushi rolls which LA sushi places are pretty inventive with.
Last time I was in LA, I was able to try a few rolls plus some really well executed Japanese steak at Tengu, named after the Japanese god of mischief.
Located in Westwood Village by UCLA, Tengu is a Sushi Bar -Restaurant - Nightclub concept from Choice Hospitality Group. It's a hit with yuppies, Bruins (Bruin card accepted), and local sushi lovers that side of LA County.
The interiors have a very elemental Japanese theme to it. A lot of bamboo, wooden tables, and paper lined window panes. It was a pretty late lunch so it wasn't full when I entered, but I suspect they had just finished the busy 12pm cover shift.
Seared albacore, yama gobo, cucumber, jalapeno, shichimi togarashi, habanero ponzu. The magic of this Diablo Roll comes from the Shichimi Togarashi, which is a Japanese 7 spice usually made of red chile flakes, dried orange peel, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, nori poppy seeds and ginger. Usually it's sprinkled on ramen, soup and yakitori, but the addition of this spice mix lent a nice kick that's accompanied by the head from the jalapeno pepper. The albacore was also seared perfectly to bring out the crisp flavor of the fish.
Spicy shrimp, seared tuna, avocado, sweet onion, ginger vinaigrette. Quite similar to the Diablo but with a fresh acidity from the ginger vinaigrette. Subarushi's translation is wonderful or great, and its clean, playful flavor is like a party in your mouth. I like the thinly sliced onions which give is a slight sweetness. The rolls were also extra large, making it a meal on its own. I decided to get a variety because... I am ToT, you know?
Togarashi-Crusted Prime New York Strip
Fanned and crusted with a chili spice, grilled ginger-asparagus, frizzled boniato, pomegranate demi-glaze. Who would order a steak at a Japanese restaurant? ToT would, especially because this one came highly recommended from some friends who moved from Chicago to LA and said it was a pretty unique flavor to steak. Seasoned with Togarashi, the fanned New York Strip gets its fame from the pomegranate glaze, which is oddly sweet and tart at the same time. I think it reacts well with the togarashi and gets accentuated by the fat on the meat. The boniato, a white sweet potato, tasted like sweet fries. For $25, the dish had a generous serving of steak too. Must order if you like a little twist to your steak.
Damn, now I want steak with my sushi. Tengu anyone?
Westwood Village10853 Lindbrook Drive,
Westwood California 90024
main: 310.209.0071fax: 310.209.0051
Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30-2:30
Hours of Mischief nightly, 5:30-7:30
Dinner: Sun-Thurs, 5:30-10:30 & Fri-Sat, 5:30-11:00