Since 1979, Teru Sushi has treated diners to a menu of fresh seafood prepared with traditional Japanese recipes and served amid elegant zen-like décor. Prep palates with a dish of steamy edamame before helping chopsticks to specialty rolls such as the Dragon Ball, which disguises a classic california roll in a costume of freshwater eel and avocado. The 911 sets taste buds ablaze by bundling shrimp tempura and avocado with spicy tuna, fanning the flames with even more spicy sauce that yields only to the placating coos of crispy flakes and sweet eel sauce. Rice-free morsels such as the albacore-wrapped Geisha Lips and the cucumber-bundled Twilight roll cater to special diets, while piping hot carafes of sake or a dessert of tempura-fried ice cream balance palates better than a perfectly seasoned triple beam.
When one steps inside, Geisha House "can feel like another planet," says the Los Angeles Times. A self-described "surreal, high-class brothel," Geisha House pays homage to Japan's late-night history and adds modern twists such as backlit neon panels in sultry shades of red and pink. A curved mezzanine grants a bird's-eye view of candlelit tables crowned with specialty rolls full of burdock root, tempura flakes, torched lobster, and other adventurous ingredients. Chatter emanates from a 50-foot sake bar serving the Japanese rice liquor straight or poured into specialty cocktails, sips of which flank bites of carpaccio, mongolian lamb chops, and udon noodles in fragrant broths. A lively dance floor invites diners to remember the simple joy of motion and lets method actors cast as sprinklers fit in.
More than two dozen aquatic delicacies are showcased on 7015 Melrose's menu of sashimi, hand rolls, and maki rolls. Seats along the sushi bar afford an up-close view of chefs expertly plucking lobster out of iced bins, slicing fresh salmon and Spanish mackerel, or gossiping in Morse code with short and long grains of rice. Upstairs, parties of up to 60 people can mingle and sink into the modern couches that line the bright banquet room.
Sushi Hiroba sates appetites with a menu featuring an array of savory dishes and sushi made from fresh ingredients. Warm taste buds with a flame-kissed plate of fried calamari ($6), or take a walk on the raw side and sample fresh tuna sushi ($5 for two pieces). Specialty rolls span the gamut from the tuna-, salmon-, crab- and yellowtail-filled Panko Fiction roll ($13) to the Angry Birds Level 27 roll's daring blend of crab and roasted walnut topped with wasabi-mustard-coconut shrimp in a potato nest ($15). Sushi enthusiasts may also design their own rolls by selecting their favorite fish, toppings such as peanut-raisin slaw and caramelized onion, and condiments such as mango teriyaki and wasabi mustard. Cooked plates, such as Chilean sea bass with spicy lemon-garlic sauce ($27), are also available for those who prefer their meals, like their debates, thoroughly heated. Pair bites with Sushi Hiroba's wide selection of sakes, wines, and other beverages.
Diners might default to tapas bars when seeking out small plates, but there’s one more term that should be added to their search: izakaya. This is the name for Japanese eateries that churn out “pub-style small plates,” according to the Los Angeles Business Journal; Itacho is one such eatery. Its menu is filled with shareable options, such as steamed clams in an asari-butter broth, seaweed marinated with vegetables, and agedashi tofu, deep-fried cubes that dip into flavorful sauces or into customers’ pockets should they want leftovers. The reviewer from the Journal also lauded the restaurant’s simple-yet-tasty selection of sushi, and, after finishing her meal, said, “[my] only regret is that [I] have not sampled more of the menu.”