Today’s Groupon gets you $40 worth of Asian fusion recipes and sushi at Tengu for $20. Taking its moniker from the Japanese God of Mischief, Tengu, located off Wilshire and the 405, offers delightfully well-behaved food and ambience that will destroy your appetite with a baseball bat made out of rice and seaweed.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Le Chine Wok sizzles up an MSG-free spread crowded with spicy Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. Fresh and natural ingredients pepper the menu, turning taste bud against taste bud in intense palatal debates between sea-centric plates such as the candied walnut shrimp or spicy soft-shell crab with serrano peppers ($15.95 each). Dishes, such as the basil eggplant chicken ($12.95), send sweet aromas drifting through the dining room, and the boneless smoked duck is prepared over burning tea green-tea leaves to absorb complex flavors and fortune-telling abilities ($16.95).
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Situated in a nondescript Westside strip mall, this stylish Los Angeles sushi joint attracts an impressive celebrity clientele with its California-influenced take on traditional Japanese cuisine. Classical and modern Japanese art are given equal spotlight along the walls, providing an indication of the creative spirit that goes into the dishes. Grab a seat at the polished bamboo sushi bar or a white-linen-clad table and dig into one of nearly 30 rolls‰ÛÓmany of them named after their famous patrons. Other inventive options include spicy tuna tacos wrapped in fried wonton skin and kurobuta pork sausage served on a skewer with Japanese mustard. Wash things down with a selection from Hamasaku‰Ûªs sizeable menu of sake and Japanese beers.
Spago isn't just a Wolfgang Puck restaurant: it's the Wolfgang Puck restaurant, the one that launched the venerated chef's restaurant empire. Up until it opened in 1982, Puck was riding buzz from celebrity clients as chef and part owner of Ma Maison. But at Spago’s original location on Sunset Strip, the chef called all the shots, creating the upscale Californian cuisine that earned him a spot among culinary prodigies who were just born with silver spatulas in their mouths. Over the past three decades, Spago has not only expanded to include four locations, but was awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award, two stars from the Michelin Guide, and the Wine Spectator Grand Award three years running. Its 30th birthday also marked major renovations for Spago, not only in regards to its décor—natural sunlight, streaming through a huge dining room skylight, a wall’s worth of wines stacked behind glass—but also its menu, which presents diners with dishes such as tandoori-marinated quail with Indian lentil salad or grilled veal chop with black garlic and turnip puree. Though James Beard Award winner chef Lee Hefter still focuses on Californian cuisine, his dishes are rooted in farm-to-table ingredients, often from the kitchen’s own garden or local farmer’s markets.
For executive chef Takao Izumida, curiosity is essential. It led him to the U.S., where he continues to play around with American ingredients to craft unique Japanese dishes. His menu features such pairings as grilled eggplant topped with crabmeat, shrimp, and scallops, as well as sliced sashimi served with truffles and chives. Those feeling adventurous may try the Omakase—up to seven small, exotic dishes of the chef's choosing that precede a dessert. To complements meals, choose from a selection of California wines or 20 types of sake.