La Cienega has quite a few old standbys that have stood the test of time. There's Woo Lae Oak, which was one of the first upscale Korean BBQ restaurants in town; Lawry's, which is still dishing out prime rib; and Matsuhisa, which is still a top table for sushi. But what goes on inside Gonpachi, especially now that chef Yasu Kusano has taken over? How does it stack up to its neighbors? It's time we found out.
The space feels like a private Japanese home, complete with a Koi pond and garden. There are private booths, a few sushi counters and intimate tatami rooms upstairs for parties.
Chef Kusano has recently moved back from Tokyo and completely overhauled the menu. He makes his own buckwheat soba noodles on-site, using only the flour and water. He's mixing old Japanese traditions with modern LA interpretations of dishes. Some of the best examples: the tuna tower on a rice cake piled high with fried onions and the OMG roll served in a flaming moat of vodka and kosher salt. For more see the menu below. [The Feast]