From a menu composed largely of specialty maki, the chefs of Umi Sushi craft more than 40 types of rolls that serve as tasty pairings to hot entrees and more than a dozen colorful appetizers. Diners can kick off meals with plates of crisp agedashi tofu and ponzu sauce, moving on to special rolls lined with barbecue short ribs or spicy crab and tuna. Meals can be complemented with sips of hot sake from the bar or cold, imported beer.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
Behind the modest, wooden sushi bar of Momoya, chefs prepare more than 30 sushi rolls to send out to waiting tables. You might try the Tiger Lady, a mix of shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cucumber, and eel sauce. Or the Lion Man—same deal, but with salmon tempura. Kiss, Volcano, To Die For. The list goes on, and it's full of crabmeat, baby lobster, black cod, and a whole lot more. Sprinkled among all these rolls are hot apps such as edamame and baked yellowtail collar. Lunch and dinner combos—served with miso soup, salad, and rice—let you pair up your favorites from a selection of teriyaki, tempura, and katsu dishes.
Across from the curving, 22-seat sushi bar, low-lit tables fill with platters of sushi flown in from across the globe. Outside, the beer garden buzzes beneath the glow of red paper lanterns, and cocktails, beer, and a selection of imported sakes flow freely. Three private dining rooms accommodate as many as 200 guests, and chefs craft an extensive menu of poultry and seafood dishes over a traditional robata grill. Sushi, sashimi, and hand rolls come together behind the sleek sushi bar, rolling up with cool slices of fresh fish into edible eight-piece cylinders.
Gonpachi fashions its menu of authentic Japanese fare and Edomae (Tokyo-style) sushi from locally sourced ingredients, as well as authentic foodstuffs purchased from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. Gonpachi hand-pounds its soba noodles daily from buckwheat flour threshed and milled on the premises. These freshly noodled noodles can then be served chilled with a dipping sauce as seiro ($8) or in a hot broth as kake soba ($8–$9). Gonpachi in Beverly Hills also practices the slow-cooking robata-style, preparing delicacies such as Chilean sea bass ($6) and bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes ($3) over the gentle firelight of a traditional oak-charcoal pyramid. On the other end of the cooked spectrum, sushi fans can trap spicy tuna rolls ($5) between the bamboo chopsticks in their hands or the insect pincers on their faces. Chopsticks also protect hands from the flavor explosion of the dynamite roll ($16).
Amid Cafe Doma Sushi Restaurant’s casual atmosphere, diners clasp chopsticks around dozens of sushi and sashimi offerings, ranging from fresh rolls to cooked rolls with tempura-battered shrimp and lobster. Cooks prepare Hot Night rolls with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura and Dynamite rolls with a mix of baked scallops, onion, and mushroom.